Doi Tung is considered one of the top tourist attractions of Chiang Rai, famous for its lovely winter flowers. The Mae Fah Luang Garden on the mountain, in particular, is widely considered the most beautiful flower garden in Northern Thailand. There is also Phra That Doi Tung, the main temple of Chiang Rai and a temple for those born in the year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac. The mountain once suffered from severe deforestation but is now turned into the most distinctive tourist attraction of Chiang Rai, and many tourists visit Doi Tung every year.
Doi Tung Palace began its construction on December 26th, 1987, when Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Boromarajajonani (Princess Srinagarindra) had reached 88 years of age. Before that, she had provided a royal remark that she would not be visiting Switzerland anymore after she had reached 90 years of age. For this reason, the Office of Her Royal Highness’s Principal Private Secretary selected Doi Tung, which has picturesque scenery, for the Princess Mother’s consideration. After overseeing the location around early 1987, the Princess Mother gave her approval and commissioned the construction of a new summer residence on the mountain. Additionally, she gave a royal order to begin the reforestation of the mountain, which led to the creation of the Doi Tung Development Project.
Development Project began with the help of every relevant government sector agency, such as the Royal Forest Department, Royal Irrigation Department, and other administrative agencies. In addition to reforestation, the project also provides vocational training to improve the quality of life of the local ethnic groups living on Doi Tung, including the Akha people, the Lahu people, the Tai Yai people, and the Chin Haw people. In the meantime, the project also strives to preserve the ethnic groups’ traditions and culture.
Let’s explore this fantastic area and find out why Doi Tung is so important to the locals of Chiang Rai province and everyone in Thailand!
Doi Tung Palace, also called Doi Tung Royal Villa, is the Princess Mother’s first residence, built in the Mae Fa Luang district with her wealth and emphasized simplicity and functionality. The Palace is the first residence of the Princess Mother, made with her funds and emphasizing simplicity and functionality.
The architectural design was built in the eclectic Lanna-Swiss chalet style, with a night sky ceiling studded with stars in the main hall. At the back of the residence is a balcony stretching outward. Standing on the terrace allows you to admire the beautiful view of Doi Tung. There are also gardening trays with colorful flowers on the balcony’s edge.
Royal Villa Doi Tung is open to tourists all year long. There must be an official guide of the palace accompanying when touring the residence. All visitors must wear appropriate clothing as allowed by the palace. No video or photography is permitted on the premises.
Every day from 07:00 AM – 05:30 PM
Facility Maintenance Fees:
90 THB entry fee, 50% discount for older people and students
Mae Fah Luang Garden, also called Suan Doi Tung, is a 25 rai (9.88 acres) garden for winter plants and flowers located opposite Doi Tung Palace.
Founded in 1991, the park is decorated with various colorful plants and flowers that take turns blooming all year long. In the middle of the garden is a statue of children playing on a human ladder, bestowed the name Continuity.
In addition to outdoor plants, there are also greenhouses for indoor plants, with the highlight being the venus slipper orchids that produce alluring flowers. There are also cafés for tired visitors, and the coffee beans used come from the Doi Tung coffee plantation.
Every day from 06:30 AM – 06:00 PM
Facility Maintenance Fees:
90 THB entry fee, 50% discount for older people and students
The Hall of Royal Biography has been renovated into the Hall of Inspiration, located at the frontmost of Doi Tung Palace. It is a hall featuring an exhibition of the Royal Biography of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother Srinagarindra and the Royal Family. There are 7 exhibits in total.
Coming from a small but loving family, the Princess Mother was as if droplets of water falling from the sky, flowing through the lands and washing away the sufferings of the people and giving them back their happiness.
Throughout the Royal Biography, we can see that all great things have small beginnings, especially within the family. This exhibit displays the history of the Princess Mother from when she was “Sangwan Talapat”, a good-hearted girl with big dreams. She later became “A Prince’s Soulmate” who had followed his passion for working for the betterment of the land. Then she became “A Loving Mother” who had displayed principles in raising her children “to be fully human”. Finally, she was honored as Mae Fah Luang “The Heavenly Royal Mother“ of the Thai people for her contributions to helping struggling people to have a chance at a better life.
With his obligations to the land and as a member of Mahidol Royal House, Bhumibol Adulyadej must leave behind a simple, free, and comforting life to return to the Motherland to take up a great task as the King of the people during a time of crisis.
The ascension to the throne had not been easy. It was but the beginning of a lifelong task to endlessly work for the betterment of the land, because “problems never take holidays” and there are problems to be found everywhere.
King Bhumibol had employed several ordinary tools in his works until they became familiar sights, such as maps, walkie-talkies, pencils, and cameras. This reflected the King’s principles and methods of working: to “understand, access, and improve” to resolve the problems of the Thai people from those living on the hills, highlands, lowlands, and coastlines. Visitors will enjoy the “shadow animation” technique used to explain the complex topics in a way that is easy to understand.
When the Princess Mother had reached 87 years of age, she commissioned the creation of Doi Tung Development Project to resolve the problems in the Golden Triangle area (an area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet) compressively. Through the “Grow forests, grow people” ideology, she studied the royal projects by King Bhumibol and adapted these development projects to be used on the mountain as well. These projects are colloquially known as Mae Raen Jak Look (a mother learns from her child) projects. Nowadays, both the forests and people of Doi Tung are restored to a sustainable and dignified life.
The inspirations that members of Mahidol Royal House all have for each other have led to the resolutions of countless issues and caused several positive changes to the land.
Every day 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Fee: 50 THB
Wat Phra That Doi Tung is a twin golden chedis standing alongside each other next to a cliff. These chedis were built hundreds of years ago. You can admire the scenery beyond while enjoying the cool breeze from the place where the chedis are situated.
The legend says that Phra That Doi Tung was built during the reign of Phaya Achutharat, King of Yonoknakphan (present-day Mae Chan District). Mahākāśyapa had traveled from India and brought some of Buddha’s relics (collarbone parts) and gifted them to Phaya Achutharat, who commissioned the construction of the temple to contain the relics atop the mountain as prophesied by the Buddha. Phaya Achutharat ordered the creation of a 1,000 wa (2,000 sq.meters) Tung (flag) to be planted on the mountain’s peak. Wherever the wind blows the Tung to, that location will serve as the foundation of the chedi.
Phaya Anutcharat had gifted gold bars to Laos as payment for the land and had tasked 500 Milakkha families to care for the temple. Later, during the reign of Phaya Mangrai of the Mangrai Dynasty, Phra Maha Wachirapothera brought 50 more Buddha relics to be gifted to Phaya Mangrai, who had commissioned the building of a second chedi next to the first one. Since then, there have been two chedis at Phra That Doi Tung.
Tung is considered a symbol of the Lanna Kingdom. It symbolizes prosperity and victory. Inside the temple is Roi Pak Tung, a crack in the ground in front of Phra That is about 1 foot in length. It is believed that planting a Tung caused the gap to worship Phra That about 1,000 years ago. Phra That Doi Tung is a sacred site of the Lanna people, with religious ceremonies to pay homage to Buddha’s relics held every year on the full moon day of the third lunar month (Māgha Pūjā). It is also considered a temple for those born in the Year of the Pig, who often visited the temple believing that it would bring fortune to themselves.
Mae Fah Luang Arboretum or Doi Chang Mub Arboretum is located on Doi Chang Mub (or Doi Chang Moob), passing Phra That Doi Tung by about 1 kilometer. It is situated near the Thailand-Myanmar border and features various rare and local plants, especially the various rhododendron species from multiple countries, wild Himalayan cherry, local orchids, and Venus slippers. These plants are grown naturally within the arboretum.
Additionally, there is a nature trail among the pine trees through the mountain slopes and a relaxation yard to admire the surrounding scenery, which includes the views of neighboring countries and the Mekong River.
The sights will be even more beautiful during January – February when the wild Himalayan cherry trees start blossoming, making the place one of the most beautiful arboretums in Thailand.
Within the arboretum grounds, there is also the Chang Mub Stupa, a small chedi situated on a large rock that looks similar to a crouched elephant. There are also pine trees and great trees over one hundred years old. As the construction of Chiang Rai – Mae Sai Road required cutting down many trees, those trees were transported and planted here to preserve the soil and the water source in the area.
Every day 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Fee: 50 THB
A bird’s eye view walk among the treetops of centuries-old trees – what could be more exciting for nature lovers? The Tree Top Walk, located in Mae Fah Luang Garden, is a bird’s-eye-viewing attraction where everyone can walk through the treetops on a more than 300 meters long hanging trail. If you travel during the rainy season, your walk will be through clouds of mist! Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?
Doi Tung Tree Top Walk is available for walks every 30 minutes, about 10 people per round. The first round starts at 8:30; the last round ends at 4:30 p.m. The walk takes 30 minutes, during which you will be taken care of by the attraction staff, who will also instruct you on how to use the equipment and the safety ropes.
The height you will ascend on this trail ranges from 10 to 40 meters. This is not just one course. Some parts of the trail are easy to climb, but some are very steep and challenging.
In addition to single admission tickets in each location, there are also ticket packages that include 3 – 4 locations, which will be cheaper than buying independent tickets.
Doi Tung Palace, Mae Fah Luang Garden, and Hall of Inspiration
Ordinary visitors – 190 THB, elderly people and students – 90 THB
Doi Tung Palace, Mae Fah Luang Garden, Hall of Inspiration, and Mae Fah Luang Arboretum (Rhododendron Garden)
Ordinary visitors – 220 THB, elderly people and students – 110 THB
The weather in these places is relatively stable and without sudden temperature changes. The average temperature, fluctuating during the day between 20-25 degrees Celsius, makes this place very comfortable for both tourists and locals. Below you can see the weather forecast for the next 5 days.
If you like to ride a motorbike and are heading to Doi Tung from Chiang Mai, you can rent a motorbike up to 300cc from us. If you are interested in big bikes, you can rent motorcycles from POP, Mr. Mechanic, or C&P Big Bike Rental.
If you prefer riding a motorcycle but are traveling to Doi Tung from Chiang Rai, in that case, we recommend St. Motorcycle Rental.
If you prefer a safer drive by car, in which case you can choose the most suitable car rental in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai on this page.
Whether you are going to Doi Tung Mountain from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, the first thing you should do is buy bus tickets to Mae Sai town on the Thai-Myanmar border. The stop you get off at is called Baan Huay Krai (บ้านห้วยไคร้, bâan-hûuay-krái).
When you get off the bus, you will need to hire a purple passenger pickup truck to take you to Doi Tung Mountain and back. The cost to hire a pickup truck with a driver is 750 baht for three hours; the vehicle seats 12 people.
If you want to spend the whole day in this place, or overnight here, it is best to rent a car or motorcycle (links above).
This review is in Thai, but it is exciting and informative. If you are a blogger and do your video review of this beautiful place, feel free to write us, and we will add your review to this page.
It is free if you want to travel to this place without visiting the main sights (Royal Villa, Hall of Inspiration, Mae Fah Luang Garden). But if you’re going to see the above attractions, the ticket price ranges from 190 to 220 baht.
You can buy coffee beans on their website at https://shop.doitung.com/en/ There you can also purchase delicious macadamia chocolate-nut spreads and clothes made by the hands of local artisans from hand-woven fabrics.
Travelers visiting Doi Tung usually combine a trip to this place with a trip to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle. Take 3-4 days to travel to these places and you will remember these amazing places with pleasure.
If you want to travel by motorbike, before visiting Doi Tung, be sure to check our 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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