Discovering Doi Mae Salong: A Unique Experience in Thailand

Doi Mae Salong is a mountain located in the northern part of Thailand, near the border with Myanmar. It is a popular tourist destination that offers a unique blend of Thai and Chinese cultures.

The mountain is known for its stunning natural beauty, with lush green forests, tea plantations, and scenic views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can enjoy hiking, trekking, and exploring the many temples and villages located in the area.

One of the most notable features of Doi Mae Salong is its rich history. The mountain was originally settled by Chinese soldiers who fled to Thailand after the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s. These soldiers brought with them their culture, traditions, and of course, their love of tea. Today, Doi Mae Salong is known as one of the best places in Thailand to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea.


Doi Mae Salong is a mountainous village located in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. It is situated about 70 kilometers northwest of Chiang Rai city. The village is perched on a high mountain with complex mountain ranges and a plain between the foothills. In the middle, there is a hill and channel. The height of this hill is about 950-1200 meters from the mean sea level.

Doi Mae Salong is a remote village that is not easily accessible. The road leading to the village is narrow, winding, and steep. The journey to the village can be challenging, but the scenic views along the way are breathtaking. The village is surrounded by lush green forests, tea plantations, and terraced rice fields.

The village was originally settled by Chinese soldiers who fled to Thailand after the Chinese Civil War. The village still retains its Chinese heritage and culture, which is evident in its architecture, food, and festivals. The village is also known for its tea plantations, which produce some of the best oolong tea in Thailand.

Visitors to Doi Mae Salong can enjoy the cool mountain air, scenic views, and cultural experiences. The village is a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, visitors should be prepared for the challenging journey to the village and the limited amenities available in the village.


Doi Mae Salong, located in the Chiang Rai province of Thailand, has a fascinating history that dates back to the 1960s. It was originally settled by Chinese Nationalist soldiers who fled there after the Chinese Civil War. These soldiers were known as the Kuomintang and they were led by General Tuan Shi-wen. They sought refuge in the mountains of northern Thailand and established a community in Doi Mae Salong.

For many years, the Kuomintang soldiers grew opium as their main source of income. However, in the 1980s, the Thai government launched an anti-drug campaign and the soldiers were forced to switch to growing tea instead. Today, Doi Mae Salong is known for its picturesque tea plantations, Chinese-style architecture, and vibrant local culture.

One of the most interesting aspects of Doi Mae Salong’s history is that it was once a hotbed of opium production. The Thai government’s anti-drug campaign was successful in eradicating opium cultivation in the area, and the switch to tea production has helped to revitalize the local economy.

Culture and Lifestyle

Mae Salong is a unique destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the cultural diversity of Yunnan Chinese and the local hill tribes who call the mountains home. The town’s history is closely tied to the Chinese military, who fled here after losing the Chinese civil war. Today, the town is home to a large Chinese community that lives in harmony with the local hill tribes.

The local culture is a blend of Chinese and hill tribe traditions. Visitors can observe the customs of both communities, including their festivals, dress, and cuisine. The hill tribes in the area include the Akha, Lahu, and Lisu, each with their own unique customs and traditions.

One of the most popular festivals in Mae Salong is the Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place between January and February. During this time, the town is transformed into a sea of pink as the cherry blossoms bloom. Visitors can enjoy traditional music and dance performances, sample local food, and participate in cultural activities.

The lifestyle in Mae Salong is relaxed and laid-back, with a focus on community and family. The town is surrounded by tea plantations, which are a major source of income for the locals. Visitors can take a tour of the plantations, learn about tea production, and sample some of the high-quality Oolong tea that the region is known for. Other popular activities in the area include hiking, cycling, and exploring the local markets.

Tea Plantations

One of the main attractions in Doi Mae Salong is the tea plantations. The area is known for producing some of the best tea in the world, and visitors can take tours of the plantations to learn more about the tea production process.

The most famous tea plantation in Doi Mae Salong is the 101 Tea Plantation, which has received numerous awards for its fine teas. Visitors can taste and purchase teas at the plantation, but there is no formal tour available.

Other tea plantations in the area include the Royal Project Foundation Tea Plantation and the Mae Salong Nok Tea Plantation. Both offer tours and tastings, as well as opportunities to purchase tea and other local products.

During the tea harvest season, which typically runs from November to February, visitors can witness the tea-picking process and even try their hand at picking some tea leaves themselves.

Overall, a visit to the tea plantations in Doi Mae Salong is a must for tea lovers and anyone interested in learning about the local culture and economy.

Tourism Authority of Thailand

Things to Do in Doi Mae Salong

Doi Mae Salong offers a variety of activities to suit all types of travelers. From exploring the local culture to trekking through the stunning natural scenery, there is something for everyone in this charming town.

Visit the Phrathat Chedi Srinagarindra Sathit Maha Santikhiri

A must-visit attraction in Doi Mae Salong is the Phrathat Chedi Srinagarindra Sathit Maha Santikhiri. This stunning phrathat, or Buddhist stupa, features Lanna-style architecture and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also explore the nearby temple and learn about the history and culture of the area.

Explore the Museum of the Hill Tribes

The Museum of the Hill Tribes is another fascinating attraction in Doi Mae Salong. This museum displays a wide range of artifacts and exhibits related to the local hill tribe communities, including the Akha, Lahu, and Yao. Visitors can learn about the unique customs, traditions, and ways of life of these fascinating cultures.

Trek through the Scenic Countryside

For those who love the great outdoors, Doi Mae Salong offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and trekking. The surrounding countryside is home to lush forests, rolling hills, and stunning waterfalls. Visitors can take a guided trek through the countryside to experience the natural beauty of the area.

Sample Local Tea and Cuisine

Doi Mae Salong is known for its delicious tea and cuisine. Visitors can sample local tea at one of the many tea shops in town, or try traditional Yunnanese dishes at one of the local restaurants. Be sure to try the famous Yunnanese-style hot pot, which is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Shop for Local Crafts and Souvenirs

Finally, no trip to Doi Mae Salong is complete without a visit to the local markets. Visitors can shop for a wide range of local crafts and souvenirs, including hand-woven textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. Be sure to haggle for the best prices and take home a unique memento of your trip.

Overall, Doi Mae Salong is a charming and picturesque town that offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors. Whether you’re interested in culture, nature, or food, there is something for everyone in this beautiful part of Thailand.

Source: Cat Motors, Tourism Thailand, and Migrationology

How to Get There

Doi Mae Salong is a beautiful mountain town located in the northernmost province of Thailand, Chiang Rai. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys, and is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Here are some ways to get to Doi Mae Salong:

By Bus

You can take a bus from Chiang Rai to Mae Sai and ask to be dropped off at Pasang/Mae Salong. The journey takes around one hour and costs THB 25. From the drop-off point, you can hire a motorbike or a songthaew to reach Doi Mae Salong.

By Car

If you prefer to drive, you can rent a car or a motorbike in Chiang Rai and take Highway 1089 to Mae Chan. From there, follow the signs to Doi Mae Salong. The journey takes around 1.5 hours and offers stunning views of the countryside.

By Private Transfer

If you want a hassle-free journey, you can book a private transfer from Chiang Rai to Doi Mae Salong. Several tour operators offer this service, and the cost varies depending on the number of passengers and the type of vehicle. It is recommended to book in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, make sure to pack warm clothes as the temperature can drop significantly in the evenings. Also, be prepared for winding roads and steep inclines, especially if you are driving or riding a motorbike.

Overall, Doi Mae Salong is a must-visit destination for those who want to experience the beauty and tranquility of northern Thailand. With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

For more information on how to get to Doi Mae Salong, check out Travelfish.


If you’re planning a trip to Doi Mae Salong, you’ll need to find a place to stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to fit a variety of budgets and preferences.

One popular choice is the Hongfu Boutique Resort, which offers a range of comfortable rooms and suites. This hotel is located near Doi Mae Salong and includes amenities such as a restaurant and free Wi-Fi. Another option is the Vintage Home, a 3-star hotel with a shared lounge and convenient location.

For those looking for a more luxurious experience, the Katiliya Mountain Resort & Spa offers stunning views and top-notch amenities. This resort features a spa, fitness center, and outdoor pool, as well as multiple dining options.

If you’re traveling on a budget, there are also several hostels and guesthouses available in the area. The Mae Salong Flower Hills Resort is a great choice for backpackers, with affordable rates and a peaceful location. The Maesalong Mountain Home offers cozy rooms and a friendly atmosphere, as well as a garden for guests to enjoy.

No matter what your budget or preferences may be, there are plenty of accommodation options available in Doi Mae Salong to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.


Doi Mae Salong is a unique and beautiful destination in Northern Thailand that offers visitors a glimpse into the fascinating history and culture of the region. From its tea plantations and stunning mountain scenery to its rich cultural heritage and friendly local communities, Doi Mae Salong has something to offer everyone.

While the area has undergone significant changes in recent years, with a growing focus on conservation and sustainable land use, it remains a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers. Whether you are interested in exploring the local markets, learning about the region’s history, or simply relaxing in the beautiful natural surroundings, Doi Mae Salong is sure to leave a lasting impression.

One of the highlights of a visit to Doi Mae Salong is the opportunity to try some of the local cuisine. The area is known for its delicious Yunnanese-style dishes, which are influenced by the region’s Chinese heritage. Visitors can enjoy a range of dishes, from spicy noodle soups to flavorful stir-fries, and sample some of the local teas that are grown in the surrounding hills.

Overall, Doi Mae Salong is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Northern Thailand. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience that is sure to leave you wanting more.