Exploring Mae Salong – Thailand

The cool weather, the silence, nature, the people; all bringing a very sweet feeling of peace.
Mae Salong is indeed a place for relaxation, an escape from busy cities and minds.
One day in the village and my wish was to rent a hut for a month. There’s just something about it, a purity, a sense of calmness, I can’t really put it into words.

Mae Salong, Thailand

How To Get There + Village History

To see our first post about Mae Salong and understand a little more of their unique history click here.

Here all addresses and extra info from everything you saw on the video:

Shin Sane Guesthouse & Bungalow
Address: 119 Moo 1, Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.165881,99.625559 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 119หมู่1 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Website: https://www.shinsaneguesthouse.com/

Mae Salong, Thailand

The first guesthouse in Mae Salong established in 1970.
Great value for money, centrally sited, impeccably clean.

 

Morning Market
Address: Behind Shin Sane Guesthouse, Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.166035,99.625925 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Open from 5 am to 9 am, there are some fixed shops that will remain open until the afternoon.

Mae Salong, Thailand

An authentic market where real culture immersion happens.
The Akha people bring all sorts of exotic produce from their villages and even from neighbor Burma.
There’s a special energy about the little street market, a real sense of presence and happiness coming from everyone around.

Mae Salong, Thailand

 

Mae Toe Village – Akha Hill Tribe Village
Address: Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.175405,99.611967 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง

Following up the road behind the morning market, you’ll arrive at one of the Akha villages of the area.
It is a nice stroll around to learn more about their traditions and come in contact with it first hand.
When we stopped in a little convenience store-like place for a coffee, the big star of the village, we were surprised by it all being gifted for us in the end together with a bag of their family grown and roasted coffee.
It was fantastic to chat with them and be able to connect. If you wish to do the same, be aware that we spoke in Mandarin though, they couldn’t speak English.

 

Yang Ming
Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 37/2 Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.164458,99.624246 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 37/2 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Open from 8 am to 9 pm.

Mae Salong, Thailand

The mushroom with ginger and spices was heaven and the complimentary tea was the perfect balance for the chilling weather.
The restaurant is sited in a very simple yet somehow charming greenish wooden house where the family also runs a motorbike renting shop.

 

Xing Yang Tea Factory – ซิงหยาง
Address: Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.165725,99.629174 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Phone: 053-765037

When driving along the streets of Mae Salong you will see many tea factories, some which will be hands-on in the very time you are passing by and don’t mind curious tourists peeping around.
This was the case with Xing Yang, every time we passed by they were working and we just couldn’t go by one more time without having a closer look.
Even though they were busy and didn’t spoke English, they welcomed us really well and were happy to show us everything.
They also count with a shop just a few meters from their factory.

Mae Salong, Thailand

 

Wang Pu Tan – วังพุดตาล
Tea House and Plantation
Address: 1130 Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.165127,99.632916 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 1130 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Website: http://www.wangputtan.com/tea

Mae Salong, Thailand

The tea house offers great quality and variety, it’s an enjoyable tea tasting and shopping experience.
The plantations count with giant decorations and are a pleasure to stroll around.

 

101 Tea Plantation, Factory and Tea House – ไร่ชา 101
Address: 83 Moo 6, Tambon Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.160544,99.660866 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 83 หมู่ที่ 6 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Website: http://www.101teaplantation.com/101teasmaesalong.html
Open from 7 am to 6 pm.

Mae Salong, Thailand

You can’t leave this place without visiting a tea house and plantation, it is a must to truly experience Mae Salong.
The 101 Tea is one of the places which gives you the complete process, an absolute joy to visit.
One of the most famous factories in town, named after the homophone 101 = Yi Ling Yi which sounds like “The Best” in the owner’s Taiwanese dialect.

 

Manomai Garden – สวนมโนมัย
Address: Mae Salong Nai, Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.164931,99.708615 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ตำบล แม่สลองใน อำเภอ แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Always open.

Mae Salong, Thailand

An unusual space by the road standing alone about 12 km from Mae Salong center.
The name means “Spiritual Garden”, it features Akha traditional swings used for special celebrations and rites of passage.
The swings are available for anyone passing by without any charge.

 

Pa Tueng Hot Spring – น้ำพุร้อนบ้านป่าตึง
Address: Pa Tueng, Mae Chan
GPS: 20.117514,99.797318 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ตำบล ป่าตึง อำเภอ แม่จัน
Open from 6 am to 8 pm.

We knew that due Mae Salong’s location the weather would be colder, still, we had only long sleeves no actual warm jackets.
Imagine how delicious after a few days feeling cold to just deep into a hot spring water filled bath.
We couldn’t wait for it and it turned out to be comfy and relaxing as anticipated.😉

 

Oasis
Vegan Restaurant
Address: 612/93 Sirikorn Market Paholyothin Road, T Wiang, Chiang Rai
GPS: 19.905563,99.835135 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Open from 7 am to 7 pm.

Traditional J restaurant serving mostly pre-made affordable Thai food.
It’s slightly bigger than the average J, thus offering more dish options.
The traditional northern sausage was delicious, it’s a great chance to try northern Thai food that would otherwise contain animal products.

 

Akha River House
Budget Hotel
Address: 423/25 Moo 21, Wiang, Chiang Rai
GPS: 19.916257,99.832216 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 423/25 หมู่ที่ 21 ถนน เกาะลอย 1 ตำบล เวียง อำเภอ เมืองเชียงราย
Website: http://www.akhahotel.com/

A budget riverside hotel run by the Akha people, prices go from 200 to 600 baht depending on the room.
The Akha are an indigenous hill tribe originally from China, they migrated to Southeast Asia in the early 20th century.
They are one of the largest hill tribe groups in Thailand.

 

 

What an amazing time we had in the northernmost province of Thailand.
What about you, ready to place it on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below! ❤️

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Mae Salong – Hidden Paradise In Northern Thailand

History

At the northernmost province of Thailand, 80 km from Chiang Rai and only 6 km from Burma, a mountaintop village with intriguing history can be found.
All starts back in China, after the fall of the Kuomintang government in 1949, when most of the Chinese Nationalist Army escaped to Taiwan.
The 3rd and 5th Regiments of the 93rd Division from Yunnan refused to surrender and 12000 of them fled to Burma to continue an insurgency plan against the Communist People’s Republic.
In the beginning, they had American and Taiwanese support but were heavily attacked by Burma when their government got to know foreign forces were hiding on their forests.
With time politics shift, they no longer had the backup of Americans and Burma started to improve its relations with the communist party, leading to part of the group moving to Thailand in 1961.
They used Mae Salong as a base for an eventual counter-attack against communist China and funded their arms purchase with opium.
Located inside the once dangerous Golden Triangle (famous opium trade area), the only way they saw to keep their army and plans was being financed by the opium.
That brought a constant friction with neighbor Burmese warlord Khun Sa, who initially trained with the Kuomintang and later formed his own army.
In exchange for their stay and legitimation, the Thai government made a deal in which they had to help fight against Thailand’s own communist rebels. With their help, with years-long battles and after many lives were lost, Thailand defeated the then rising communist threat. Only in 1982, the soldiers were released and finally seated down peacefully in Mae Salong.
Since then the opium was exchanged for other crops with a special focus in oolong tea, which nowadays is a famous high-quality product that is national and internationally appreciated.

Chinese City?

I read comments online about how the city nowadays looks Thai, that there are no more Chinese influences, and what has left is very commercial; I disagree.
We speak Chinese ourselves and we could hear the language all around and used it to communicate while in town.
We lived for long periods in China and in Thailand, this is a Chinese city no doubt, from the food to the people.
Around the village many hill tribe communities can be found as well, what may bring confusion about the ethnicity of the people for the tourists, what is actually funny because most of the hill tribes also decent back to China (with obvious different migration time).
Of course, they are Thai nationals and there’s thai influence but they carry their traditions strongly and make their village a beautiful Yuannese paradise inside Thailand.
Mae Salong (แม่สลอง), officially Santikhiri (สันติคีรี), is now home to peace and quiet with stunning views and is perfect for those looking for secluded relaxation.

Mae Salong, Thailand

How To Get From Chiang Rai To Mae Salong

By Car/Motorbike: We rented a motorbike to better explore the area, which we recommend (for those with driving experience).
The motorbike costs 200 baht per day, even better deals can be made if renting for extended periods of time.
If you can rent a car, it is probably the best option because of the increased safety.
The first part of the journey is amidst the city and traffic but the second half is the complete opposite, with beautiful countryside views and almost no-one else on the streets.

By Bus: From Chang Rai Old Bus Station, take a bus to Mae Sai and get off at Pasang (make sure you mention you are going to Mae Salong because there’s more than 1 Pasang in this province), it cost 39 baht and takes about 1 hour.
From Pasang take a songthaew to Mae Salong, which departs 4 times per day, they will leave when full.
To get back to Chiang Rai songthaews leave from Shin Sane guesthouse 4 times per day.
We haven’t done this route ourselves and thus can’t give a feedback on it.

By Taxi: You can download the GrabTaxi app (similar to Uber) and book a ride departing from Chiang Rai.
Another option is asking your hotel reception for a taxi, most of the hotels will arrange that easily.
It will cost around 1000-2000 baht.

Here all addresses and extra info from everything you saw on the video:

Tamachat
Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: Sanambin Road, T Wiang, Chiang Rai
GPS: 19.906253,99.828596 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ถนนสนามบิน อำเภอเมืองเชียงราย
Open from 7 am to 3 pm, closed on Sundays.

Traditional J style veggie restaurant serving simple Thai food with several booths in one location.

 

Mountain View Kitchen
Address: 444 Moo 12, Pung Taeng, Chiang Rai
Address in Thai: 444หมู่12ต.ป่าตึง.แม่จันจ.เชียงราย
Facebook Page: ครัว เดอะ เมาท์เท่นวิวmountain view kitchen
Open from 8 am to 12 am.

On our way to Mae Salong, we spotted this beautiful cafe, it is the perfect scenic stop.

 

Doi Mae Salong – ดอยแม่สลอง
GPS: 20.166397,99.617223 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)

The Mae Salong Mountain is home to the Santikhiri village, known as Mae Salong.
It’s located in Mae Fa Luang District, just 6 km of Burma, with the highest point of 1,367 m.

 

Shin Sane Guesthouse & Bungalow
Address: 119 Moo 1, Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.165881,99.625559 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 119หมู่1 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Website: https://www.shinsaneguesthouse.com/

The first guesthouse in Mae Salong established in 1970.
Great value for money, centrally sited, impeccably clean.

Mae Salong, Thailand

 

101 Tea Plantation, Factory and Tea House – ไร่ชา 101
Address: 83 Moo 6, Tambon Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.160544,99.660866 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 83 หมู่ที่ 6 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Website: http://www.101teaplantation.com/101teasmaesalong.html
Open from 7 am to 6 pm.

You can’t leave this place without visiting a tea house and plantation, it is a must to truly experience Mae Salong.
The 101 Tea is one of the places which gives you the complete process, an absolute joy to visit.

 

Wang Pu Tan – วังพุดตาล
Tea House and Plantation
Address: 1130 Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.165127,99.632916 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 1130 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Website: http://www.wangputtan.com/tea

The tea house offers great quality and variety, it’s an enjoyable tea tasting and shopping experience.
The plantations count with giant decorations and are a pleasure to stroll around.

Mae Salong, Thailand

 

Central Tea Market
Address: Santi Khiri, Tambon Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.159263,99.622726 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: สันติคีรี ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Open from 8 am to 8 pm (time vary from shop to shop).

By the ground zero of the city, you can find a street market dedicated to the wonderful tea of the region.
Dried fruits and nuts, as well as utensils for tea, can also be found.

 

Phumaketawan Coffe – ภูเมฆตะวัน กาแฟ
Address: Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.160875,99.650947 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง

With a stunning view, perfect to take in the beauty that surrounds it while sipping the star of the city.

 

Sinakarintra Stit Mhasantikhiri Pagoda – พระบรมธาตุศรีนครินทราสถิตย์มหาสันติคีรี
Address: Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.169434,99.623022 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง

Placed in the top of a mountain offering a pretty view of the village.
Great to watch the sunset while inserted in good vibes.

 

Yang Ming
Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 37/2 Mae Salong Nok, Amphoe Mae Fa Luang
GPS: 20.164458,99.624246 (copy and paste in map’s search bar for exact location)
Address in Thai: 37/2 ต.แม่สลองนอก อ.แม่ฟ้าหลวง
Open from 8 am to 9 pm.

On our first day, the only vegetarian restaurant in the village was closed but we got to try it on our second day and it’s approved.
It is sited on a very simple yet somehow charming greenish wooden house where the family also runs a motorbike renting shop.

 

More about Mae Salong is coming soon, stay tuned!🇹🇭

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