7 Most Popular Attractions On Doi Mae Salong In 2022

Doi Mae Salong is located in Tambon Mae Salong Nok, Mae Fah Luang District. There is also a community of Chin Haw people in the area. These people descended from the Kuomintang’s 93rd Division, who settled on Doi Mae Salong long ago. Today, the Chinese community on Doi Mae Salong is called Santikhiri Village, situated at about 1,200 meters above sea level. The village offers a great scenic view of the surrounding scenery with a cool air breeze blowing all year. The primary source of income for the community is growing oolong tea plantations.

In addition to the Doi Mae Salong sights described in the guide, you will encounter other amazing things and points of interest on your way to this lovely place. Most of them you can find in our travel guide about Chiang Rai.

Doi Mae Salong, Tea Fields, Thing To Do

History of Doi Mae Salong

It is a community founded by former Chinese soldiers of the 93rd Division, affiliated with the Kuomintang under General Chiang Kai-shek. They were active in combat in the southern China region during World War 2.

Chinese Soldiers Of The 93Rd Division

Later on, there was a drastic change in China when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by Mao Zedong successfully committed a coup, forcing the Kuomintang to retreat to Taiwan. The 93rd Division was abandoned, lost, and pressured by pursuing CCP troops. They retreated into Myanmar territory (known as Burma at the time) but were also pressured by Burmese soldiers. Multiple engagements drove the remainders of the 93rd Division to Doi Tung at Thai-Burma borders.

General Tuan Shiwen

Burma filed a complaint to the United Nations in 1953. The UN resolved to evacuate the abandoned division to Taiwan, but 30,000 soldiers under the command of General Li Wenfan and General Tuan Shiwen requested asylum in Thailand, as they were not sure about the future of Taiwan, which is just a small island. The Thai government permitted the asylum and assigned General Li Wenfan’s men to settle at Tham Ngob, Fang District, Chiang Mai.

In contrast, 15,000 men under General Tuan Shiwen’s command settled at Doi Mae Salong in 1961. This also employed General Tuan’s men to be a buffer against ethnic minorities, which resulted in Doi Mae Salong gaining infamy as a mysterious, forbidden land with drug problems and armed militants during this era. The Thai government tried to alleviate the local problems by transferring these soldiers to serve under the Supreme Command Headquarters.

Soldiers Of Chinese Community

Eventually, in 1972, the Thai Council of Ministers resolved to officially accept the National Army soldiers to live in Thailand, leading to the end of the opium trade, disarmament, and adaptation to the agricultural way of life by the soldiers. In addition, former Prime Minister of Thailand, General Kriangsak Chamanan, commissioned a project to teach the soldiers how to grow tea and three-needled pines to replenish the local trees on Doi Mae Salong.

The Chinese community there was also renamed Santikhiri Village, and the Chinese citizens were issued Thai ID cards in 1978, finally returning peace to Doi Mae Salong. The location is now a popular tourist attraction ever since.

Things To Do In Mae Salong

Phra Borommathat Chedi Srinagarindra Stit Maha Santi Khiri

It is situated on the highest peak of Doi Mae Salong above Santikhiri Village at 1,500 meters above sea level. It is located about 4 kilometers from the village, and there is a tarmac road leading up to it, though the road is quite steep and very winding.

Phra Borommathat Chedi

Phra Borommathat completed its construction in 1996 and was dedicated to Princess Mother Srinagarindra. The chedi is constructed in applied-Lanna style on a square base, approximately 30 meters tall, and each side is 15 meters wide.

The exterior walls are made of grey tiles. There are three stepped arches on each side. The interior of Phra Borommathat contains Buddha images facing all four directions. The great bell is decorated in gold with carved patterns and placed near the applied-Lanna style chedi.

Phra Borommathat is the highest location of Doi Mae Salong and thus offers a comprehensive view of the scenery, especially in the evening. In the meantime, Phra Borommathat itself is also very distinctive from a far distance. Therefore, it is considered one of the symbols of Doi Mae Salong.

Tomb of General Tuan

The tomb is located on a hill to the north side of the village, diverting from the path to Khumnaiphol Resort, about 1 kilometer from the village.

Tomb Of General Tuan

Constructed in 1980, the marble tomb of General Tuan Shiwen is placed within a large, white Chinese pavilion with the floors paved with marble. Behind the tomb is a display of old photos showing the General’s history and contributions to the local community. At the front of the tomb is a slope with the gold Chinese alphabet “Tuan” written on blue background.

The Tomb of General Tuan is situated at 1,300 meters above sea level and views Santikhiri Village down below. It is considered one of the best places to admire the view of the village. There are also two teahouses at the location, inviting visitors who would like to try some tea. 

Chinese Martyrs’ Memorial Museum, Santikiri Village

From 1970 to 1981, when Thailand was fighting the threat of Communism, Thailand employed the forces of former Chinese National Army soldiers to assist in fighting communists. As a result, many soldiers were wounded, killed, and disabled from the fight. To display gratitude for these soldiers’ sacrifices, the King granted permission for the soldiers to settle on Thailand soil.

To further show appreciation for the soldiers who helped to protect Thailand’s territories and promote and develop tourism at Doi Mae Salong, the local community agreed to construct a memorial museum. The village received funding from Chinese citizens overseas, donations from Thai citizens, associations, and believers in the cause.

Chinese Martyrs Memorial Museum Santikiri Village

The land on which the museum was to be built – with a total area of 11,536.50 square meters (2.85 acres) – was granted by the Supreme Command Headquarters of Thailand. The total construction cost is 11,532,297 Baht. Construction was completed in 2003, and the museum opening ceremony was held on February 20th, 2004.

The Chinese Martyrs’ Memorial Museum consists of 2 main areas: the museum area and the local product stores. The first area consists of 3 main buildings with Chinese architecture. The building to the left is the Museum Room 1, the middle building is the Chinese Martyrs’ Memorial of Northern Thailand, and the building to the right is Museum Room 2 and 3.

The first building tells the story of the struggles of the Chinese National Army soldiers in chronological order as follows:
– The historical background of the 1949 Chinese National Army (Lu Han, governor of Yunnan, revolted on December 8th, 1949)
– The Battle of Mong Ko, Tachilek (1950)
– The Battle of Mong Sard and the Attack on Yunnan (1951)
– The Battle at Salween River and the First Withdrawal to Taiwan (1951)
– Regroup at Chiang-La and the Second Withdrawal to Taiwan (1960-1962)
– The Battles in Northern Thailand

The exhibition displayed in chronological order each important event in which the Chinese National Army is involved, based on the date and time of each battle. Most of the exhibits display photographs of the battlefields and events and miniature models of the battlefields showing army movements and battle locations. However, there are only a few pieces of military equipment on display.

Additionally, there are no testimonial records of those who lived through these events documented or studied, which is unfortunate as there are not many people who have lived through these events still alive at present.

The central building is a memorial building. It is where the “spirit signs” of those who perished in the events are lined along the inner walls of the building, and there is a memorial ceremony dedicated to the fallen every year. Additionally, the exhibition displayed in Museum Room 2 presents the various contributions by the Chinese Association to Support Victims under the idea of “Love of Motherland and the Benevolence of Taiwan”. Such gifts are in the form of items or scholarships.

Taste Oolong Tea and Admire Tea Plantations

Tea is considered a cash crop of Santikhiri Village, and the tea plantations in the area exceed over a thousand rai (1 Rai = 1600 sq.m) with more than 2 million tea plants. Various tea plantations, tea factories, and dozens of teahouses lined the main road that cuts through the village. The most famous tea on sale is oolong tea #12 and #17, which has a delicious smell and taste and must be consumed in a unique Taiwanese method.

Doi Mae Salong Tea Plantation

Every teahouse in the village, such as Rai Cha 101, Wang Put Tan, and Nai Pon Tuan Teahouse, will invite visitors to try out their tea. The teahouse owners will also discuss how to brew tea, tea selection, and various tea brewing equipment and utensils. Visitors can also go within the tea plantations and observe the farmers harvesting tea and can take part in the tea harvest.

Rai Cha 101 (101 Tea Plantation)

101 Tea Plantation

This tea plantation on Doi Mae Salong won a gold prize in the World Green Tea Contest. Even from the entrance, you can see the beauty of the tea plantations spreading over the area in terraces with mountains in the background. The scenery will make you feel like it comes from the land of dreams.

Rai Cha Wang Put Tan (Wang Put Tan Tea Plantation)

Wang Put Tan Tea Plantation

This tea plantation features a gold lion statue and a silver lion statue, having a width of 14×16 meters, sitting at the front entrance. Moreover, it also has three of the world’s largest teapots lined on display as if to announce the pride of the tea plantation. Many tourists like to travel here to take photos of the plantation every day.

Admiring Himalaya Sakura Trees

If you are traveling to Santikhiri Village from the Kew Satai Checkpoint or Ban I-Ko Sam Yaek trisection, you will find wild Himalayan cherry trees along both sides of the road, which go as far as 4 kilometers.

Doi Mae Salong Sakura Blossom

The trees will shed their leaves and display pink cherry blossoms, which are very similar to the beautiful Himalaya Sakura trees in Japan. Those fast-growing wild Himalayan cherry trees are native trees to the northern region of Thailand. The best period to admire the cherry blossom is from December – to February.

How to Travel to Doi Mae Salong

By personal vehicle

If you want to travel in a private vehicle from Chiang Mai, you can rent a motorbike with an engine capacity of up to 300cc from us. However, if you’re going to rent a big bike with an engine over 500cc, you can look at companies like POP, Mr. Mechanic, or C&P Rental. You can also find the best offer for your dates among dozens of car rentals by following this link

We recommend renting a car for anyone who has no experience with motorcycles or traveling as a family, as it is safer than riding a bike.

By public transportation

Chiang Mai To Mae Salong

From the Chiang Phueak bus terminal, a bus to Tha Ton every 30 minutes. The ticket costs 100 baht, travel time 3 and a half hours. Once in Tha Ton, it would be best to take a taxi to Doi Mae Salong. The fare is 600 baht, travel time is about 1 hour.

As an alternative, you can get from Tha Ton to Doi Mae Salong by songthaew, it will only cost you 60 baht per person, but they only run 3 times a day, so in some cases it may be inconvenient. The travel time will be about 6 hours.

You can also hire a cab, which will cost you about 3,000 baht. The travel time is about 3 and a half hours.

How To Get To Mae Salong From Chiang Rai

From Chiang Rai Bus Terminal #1, go to Mae Chan. Travel time is about 1 hour, and the fare is 25 baht. Then, after reaching the terminus, take a bus to Doi Mae Salong. This bus runs 4 times a day. Travel time is about an hour and a half, and the fare is 60 baht. Total travel time, including waiting, is about 3-4 hours.

An alternative way is to take a cab from the reception of your hotel. However, the cost is 1000 baht, but the travel time is about an hour and a half.

Weather

In our opinion and from our observations, the weather widget from Meteoblue shows the most accurate weather forecast in Doi Mae Salong most often. Therefore, we are posting this for you.

Some Review

A Day Trip with Mark Wiens

Mark Wiens from migrationology.com visited the place a long time ago, but he still remembers it with rapture and fondness.

YouTube video

A Day Trip with Len Rutledge

Traveler and writer Len Rutledge said a few words about Mae Salong and Doi Tung. Doi Tung is not far from here, so it makes sense to visit them both. But even better is to take a trip on the Chiang Rai Loop.

YouTube video

Before visiting Doi Mae Salong, check our scooter rental rates and read our motorcycle travel tips. You can contact us to book a motorbike on this page. And please remember that Cat Motors does not provide motorcycle training services or rent motorcycles to travelers without riding experience. See you!

Cat Motors Team

 

 

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