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Doi Tung

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Chiang Rai’s spectacular Doi Tung Range stretches from Mae Fah Luang in the south up to Mae Sai district in the north, with the Burmese border demarcating the mountains’ western slopes.

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These rugged peaks rise to over 1,500 metres and as with Chiang Mai province’s Doi Ang Khang, it was until relatively recently a wild and inaccessible spot. These days it’s frequented by minibus convoys of tourists (being too steep and narrow for coaches) and day-trippers from Chiang Rai where 30 years ago you’d have seen opium mule trains, KMT soldiers, Khun Sa’s Shan United Army and Akha women harvesting the chest high pink and white poppy flowers.

Did we mention the scenery. Photo taken in or around Doi Tung, Chiang Rai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Did we mention the scenery. Photo: Mark Ord

The hill-tribe peoples are still there but the Shan fighters now continue their struggle over the border; Khun Sa’s long gone, (though you can visit his old base in Hin Taek) while the families of retired KMT soldiers now run tea tasting shops in Mae Salong.

Both regions have dealt with their bad boy images in similar ways and where Doi Ang Khang has its excellent Royal Agricultural Project, Doi Tung has the fabulous Royal Botanical Gardens created as an initiative to provide alternative income sources and work to papaver somniferum cultivation.

Pack a jacket. Photo taken in or around Doi Tung, Chiang Rai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Pack a jacket. Photo: Mark Ord

Mae Fah Luang Botanical Gardens are located on the summit of Doi Tung, on the old site of the particularly troublesome Akha village of Pa Kluay. The village was in earlier times a major opium production and transportation hub, though government agencies also point out that, wedged into a narrow gorge, the village was insalubrious and cramped, so relocation to a site some 500 metres distant with a sealed road and electricity, was judged the best solution. Akha and other local hill-tribes now find employment in the gardens and sell their wares at the numerous souvenir stalls. The superb gardens and adjacent Royal Palace were created in the ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Popular hotels in Chiang Rai on Agoda

Doi Tung
Doi Tung, Mae Fah Luang District
Mo–Su: 06:30–18:00
T: (053) 767 0157
Admission: Gardens; adults 90 baht, students and children 45 baht Gardens, Royal Villa and Arboretum; combined ticket for 220 baht and 110 baht children

Location map for Doi Tung

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Popular attractions in Chiang Rai

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A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Chiang Rai.

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