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Mae Salong

Travel Guide Asia Thailand North Thailand Chiang Rai Province Mae Salong

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Introduction

Doi Mae Salong or ‘Santikhiri’ which means ‘Hill of Peace’ is a small and peaceful picturesque mountain settlement inhabited mainly by Chinese from Yunnan province. These are descendants of Kuomintang soldiers who fled Communist rule in 1949. The village is visibly Chinese, filled with Chinese restaurants and small local shops selling Chinese specialities such as tea, jade, preserved fruit, mushrooms, herbs and wines. The terraced tea plantations which make Mae Salong so idyllic are where its trademark Oolong tea is grown. Visit a tea factory and the plantations, watch and learn about how tea is cultivated and sample different kinds of tea.

If you come in January/February, the drive up to Mae Salong is even more scenic as the Japanese cherry blossoms (or Sakura fowers) come to bloom.

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Sights and Activities

  • There is an interesting morning market (5:00-7:00am) at the intersection near Shin Sane Guesthouse.
  • Wat Santakhiri is also worth a visit. This temple is from the Mahayana but the style is Chinese, further up the top of the hill is the impressive Princess Mother Pagoda
  • 15 kilometres north of Mae Salong is the Hilltribe Development & Welfare Centre, which sells a variety of hilltribe handicrafts (mainly Akha and Mien).

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Sleep

Budget

  • Shin Sane Guest House - Tel: 053 765026, Singles/Doubles for 50-100bt Bungalows for 300bt. Simple bare rooms but spacious with shared bathrooms. Bungalows are more comfortable with private bathroom and cable TV.
  • Akha Mae Salong Guest House - Tel: 053 765103, 50-150bt. Next to Shin Sane Guesthouse, is an old building run by a friendly Akha family.
  • Saeng A Roon Hotel - Tel: 053 765029, 200-300bt

Mid-Range

  • Mae Salong Villa - Tel: 053 765114, 800-1,500bt. Stunnning views and well furnished bungalows. Has an on-site Chinese restaurant serving very good Chinese Yunnanese food.
  • Khumnaiphol Resort - Tel: 053 765001, Bungalows 1,200bt.Situated on the road to Thaton, this resort has bungalows perched on the hillside. Great views of the tea plantations.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.

Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.

For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.

Post

Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.

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This is version 9. Last edited at 10:38 on Nov 5, 13 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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