Influenced by China’s Yunnan Province, Mae Salong (Santikhiri) in the hills of Chiang Rai Province is easily distinguished from the other towns in the area by its Chinese architecture, food, and culture.
Soldiers from China’s anti-communist forces settled in the Golden Triangle region after the 1949 Chinese Civil War. Given citizenship in the 1980s by the Thai government, many of the remaining soldiers and their families settled permanently in Mae Salong as the Thai portion of the Golden Triangle was gentrified away from poppy cultivation and towards tourism and cash crops.
Wat Doi Mae Salong is a popular stop for travelers on tours of Thailand that offers a breathtaking view of the area that’s often called the “Little Switzerland” of Thailand. The indigenous Akha hill tribes reside in the region, and their villages are popular stops on Thailand tour itineraries.
Though only a few decades have passed since it was part of the epicenter of global opium production, Mae Salong is now known for the high-grade oolong tea grown on terraced hills that once grew poppies.
Travelers on luxury tours of Thailand are drawn here by the lush tea plantations, and the white plum and cherry blossoms that burst into life after the rainy season.
Rains from June through October bring crisp air and lush greenery to this mountainous area. The best weather runs from November to January. December through February is particularly beautiful while the white plums and cherry blossoms are blooming.
The hottest weather is March through May.
Thailand’s northernmost city is in Chiang Rai Province. Mae Salong is best reached by private vehicle from the provincial capital of Chiang Rai City.
The majestic scenery and interesting blend of Chinese, Thai, and indigenous cultures make Mae Salong an increasingly popular destination for guests on luxury tours in Thailand.
Appropriate Attire :
With plenty of mountain forests and tea plantations to explore, it’s best to dress for a hike if you’re heading to Mae Salong.