Wiang Haeng

Wiang Haeng

Remote border region

Blink and you’ll miss it! The tiny market town of Wiang Haeng lies in the centre of the fertile Taeng Valley, hemmed in by the rugged mountains separating it from Mae Hong Son to the south and the Burmese border to the north.

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Certainly, one of Chiang Mai Province’s remotest outposts, the town’s domestic importance derives from its role as the administrative centre for this far-flung district. In former times this was a wild region settled by fleeing Kuomintang, Chinese nationalist, troops who competed for control of the smuggling and opium trade with warlords from neighbouring Shan State. The recent completion of Highway 1322 to Chiang Dao, however, has since confirmed Wiang Haeng’s assimilation into the rest of the kingdom. These days it’s a sleepy—albeit still very remote—settlement complete with the standard, modern Thai trappings of air-conditioned 24-hour minimarts, pineapple-topped pizzas and frappuccinos.

Wiang Heng scenes. Photo by: Mark Ord.
Wiang Heng scenes. Photo: Mark Ord

Wiang Haeng does, however, remain a tiny, insignificant dot on the tourist map and up until very recently queries as to “why” were probably best answered with that famous Mallory reply; “because it’s there”. There are nonetheless a couple of interesting sites in the area and with rural road development continuing apace the town has the potential to become, if not exactly a transport hub, then at least a significant stop-off point on some spectacular north ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,500 words.)

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