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When winter comes, we will think about heading to the North for the cold winds, and Chiang Mai is the first province in many people’s head due to it being the most developed in the North: the economic, trade, transportation, politics and government, and cultural hub (it has flourished since it was Lanna kingdom, before Sukhothai was established as the capital of Thailand). Nowadays, Chiang Mai is like the capital of northern Thailand and it is a second capital, following Bangkok.
Most areas in Chiang Mai are forest; Doi Inthanon is the country’s highest mountain with 2,556 m above moderate sea level. The weather is cold all year long. It received the World Best Award-Top 10 Cities Survey in Travel, and the Leisure Magazine from the USA showed that Chiang Mai is no.5 of World Best cities for travelling, considering sightseeing places, scenery, culture, foods, shopping places, and friendly locals.
I recommend Monjam which is a new sightseeing place, popular recently. From Chiang Mai to Monjam, there are many stopover points along the way. Also, you will see several strawberry gardens and you can pick some. Monjam is not far from Chiang Mai. The road is perfect and suitable for a family that has a baby or a young couple who prefers a convenient romantic trip.
Tadmok waterfall is located at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park Protection Unit. When you reach the kilometer marker 5 of highway 1096 which is 14km away from Mae Rim, there will be an entrance right beside Mae Rim Snake Farm. From this point it is only 10 km. to Tadmok waterfall. It is a medium waterfall about 20 meters high, the water that flows down from the cliff makes the water look like fog. The most beautiful period is rainy season.
Mae Sa waterfall
From highway 107, pass Amphoe Mae Rim then turn left onto highway 1096 called Mae Rim-Samoeng. After about 9 km., you will reach an intersection and the entrance is on the left hand side. Mae sa waterfall is located at Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, it is a 10 level waterfall and water flows down all year. There is a parking lot provided. This is a beautiful waterfall including nice atmosphere, and weather make this place very popular in Chiang Mai.
Mae Sa Elephant Camp
Mae Sa Elephant Camp is on the same street as Mae Sa waterfall. Drive pass Mae Sa waterfall not too far. From Chiang Mai to this camp takes only 20 minutes. Elephants are smart, adorable, and able to be trained. This camp presents talent of Thai trained elephants to visitors.
Show times are 3 times a day: 08.00, 09.00, and 13.00. Show starts with watching elephants shower in Mae Sa River then welcome parade from 20 elephants, demonstration of how to get on and off an elephant by experienced mahouts, musical performance and dancing by the talented elephants, football matches consisting of many talented elephant players, painting of many abstract and realistic pictures by the elephants. After the show finishes, you can take photos with elephants by sitting on elephants’ leg, hugging or kissing them. It is a happy time and memorable moment.
They serve tasty food and coffee. The souvenir shop here sells cute elephant models in different style. If you have time, you can ride elephants around the area.
Also, they offer basic program for learning to be mahout. You have to stay at the resort in this camp so that you can get close to elephant and learn to interact to them. Many foreign tourists are interested in this program.
*** For more information please contact Mae Sa Elephant Camp office (in Chiang Mai’s city).
Address: 119/9 Tahpae r., Muang, Chiang Mai
Work hours 07.00 – 14.00
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
From Mae Rim to Samoeng, take highway 1096, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is on the left hand side at kilometer marker 12. This garden preserves and collects several kinds of plants. Also, it is a botany knowledge center and beautiful tourist attraction at the same time. You can walk or drive around the mountain for sightseeing; there are 4 main routes as follows:
1. Waterfall Trail, 300 m.
2. Arboretum Trail, 600 m.
3. Climber Trail, 2 km.
4. Provincial Plants Trail, 800 m.
There are name tags on each plant. The highlights of this garden are glass houses on the top of a beautiful mountain where each glass house consist of the same plant species for studying.
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden opens everyday 8.30-17.00. Entrance fee is 40 baht for adult, 20 baht for student, and free for elder, monk, and child below 12 years of age. Additional charge for car is 100 baht and 200 baht for coach.
Mon jam located at Amphoe Mae Rim, 40 minutes’ drive from the city of Chiang Mai. Take highway 107 called Chiang Mai –Fang, toward Amphoe Mae Rim at kilometer marker 17 then turn left onto highway 1096 called Mae Rim- Samoeng. When you reach kilometer marker 15, turn right at Bann Pong Yaeng and continue to drive on this road about 6 km.
Monjam is a part of the Royal Project Nong Hoi. The weather is cool all year long; there is morning fog and a beautiful view of complex mountains as far as the eye can see. Another side of the mountain has the farms of the Royal Projects. There is not much space at Monjam’s peak, they have small flower gardens alternating with thatch bamboo benches. You can walk around the area, and it is suitable for relaxing and watching the view.
Monjam has become a camping resort with a beautiful view, clean air, and home-grown vegetables and winter fruits farms. There they have restaurants for food and coffee or you can eat in a bamboo hut. You can watch sunrise and sunset; look down to see the view of Amphoe Mae Tang and Amphoe Mae Rim. On a clear day, you can see far to Luang Chiang Dao and the mountains in Chiang Rai. What’s more special is the waning moon nights, which have many wonderful stars in the sky.
When looking down from the mountain, you will see beautiful lights at two villages. The road to mountain is narrow and steep, so you have to be careful if you drive. The Royal Project Nong Hoi is an interesting tourist attraction point nearby that is a research station with winter vegetable and hydroponics vegetable gardens; they also show techniques to grow plants without using soil. You can see a sea of fog from the cliff 1460 m. high at Doi Mon Jong. They provide young tour guides, who are from the hill tribes to take you to see how they live in their villages and see wild flowers.
For more information please call 0-5393-9173, 08-1950-9767
For reserve resort on Monjam please call 08-1806-3993
Or public relations of Royal Project tel. 0-5381-0765#108
Every time when I visit Chiang Mai, it is different. There are always new surprising things, places, people, and local living waiting for you to see.