Quietly nestled among the cascading clouds 80km from Chiang Rai lies a Hill of Peace that has been left unaltered by the hands of time. Perched on a mountainous region 1800 metres above sea level Doi Mae Salong is a lot more than one of the country’s tea growing districts as the sheer natural beauty and charm of this stunning hamlet in the sky attracts visitors from far and wide to its breathtaking environs.
It is said that the beginning of January is the best time to visit Doi Mae Salong as the entire village begins to bloom with stunning Japanese cherry blossoms that dot the lush landscape with their brightly hued flower buds. The 4km stretch leading to the main town dubbed Sakura Route is quite literally infested with pink blossoms during early January making the entrance to Mae Salong all the more magical for visitors.
Apart from the town’s inherent natural splendour there is much to discover in the cool hamlet itself. Home to a number of Chinese temples that are located all across the region, the Chinese architectural elements in most of the town’s structures are equally engaging with their old fashioned and decidedly Chinese appearance. Jade and other Chinese specialties are also sold in most Mae Salong shops along with dried mushrooms, herbs, wines and preserved fruits.
Those with an interest in local cuisine will find that most restaurants in Mae Salong offer southern Chinese dishes and delicacies. Lined with quaint tea shops, these local cafes are the best place to discover the region’s brew of choice. Juicy lychees and sweet tasting peaches are also locally grown fruits that must be sampled for their sheer freshness and reputation. Mae Salong also houses a museum that documents the region’s rich history as well as a village market that sells locally produced items. Surrounded by several Akha, Hmong, Lisu and Mien tribal villages Mae Salong also serves as a great gateway to these indigenous communities.
When it comes to the best Chiang Rai resorts along the Thai border there’s no rest quite like the Anantara Golden Triangle, Thailand. With a stunning location that looks over the Ruak River and Mekong River as well as neighbouring Laos the accommodation is also one of the most picturesquely placed Golden Triangle hotels in the region.