Camping For Lovers
If you and your lover are the outdoorsy types, there’s no better way to spend your Valentine’s Day weekend than zipped into a cosy tent for two atop one of northern Thailand’s many picturesque peaks. Here are three lovely spots, from the basic to the luxurious, to check out!
Mon Jam, Mae Rim
Most of you have probably visited Mon Jam by now, the magnificent viewpoint at the Royal Project up Mae Sa Valley where you can sit in bamboo huts, sip a cold beer and take in the views of Chiang Mai’s valley below and Chiang Dao mountains beyond. But for the intrepid, why not spend the night? In fact, you don’t even have to be particularly intrepid since Mon Jam’s camping facilities are rather luxe compared to others. On the steep slopes of the mountain, with 180 degree panoramic views, tiny private camping grounds for couples or groups of four are carved for sheer exclusivity. Tents are set up with mattresses, pillows, blankets and even lanterns and come with outdoor picnic tables and nearby shared bathroom facilities, all perfectly clean and charming. No need to rough it here as you enjoy a fine meal of fresh Royal Project produce and a bottle of wine in the restaurant before wandering back down to your camping ground a deux for some private outdoors romance. Check in between 7am and 7pm, and book in advance if possible _ this is a popular one!
Price per couple: 1,200 baht per night
081 806 3993
Phu Chee Fah, Chiang Rai
One of the north’s most iconic camping grounds is atop Phu Chee Fah, a mountain rising out of a national park in Chiang Rai’s Thoen District with views stretching over neighbouring Laos. Each winter, thousands flock from all over Thailand and beyond to catch a glimpse of Phu Chee Fah’s spectacular sunrises. The famed “Sea of Mist” forms as morning rays slowly burn away the layers of fog that shroud the seemingly endless peaks, jostling and jutting skywards as far as the eye can see. You can spend the night in a nearby guesthouse before waking up at 4am and taking the kilometre long pre-dawn trek to see the sunrise from the peak, but those in the know simply take their tents and set up for the night, warming their hands around campfires in anticipation of the first glimmering lights of dawn.
Price per couple: 500 baht per night
081 673 1216
Pang Oung, Mae Hong Son
Waking up, unzipping your tent and gazing at the wispy tendrils of mist undulating across the lake’s still surface, you almost expect to see the Lady of the Lake, sword in hand, rise from its depths. This eerie, serene lake, located a good hour and a half drive from Mae Hong Son town, is a perfect camping ground for those wishing to really get away from it all. Black swans glide past as you sit back on bamboo rafts, silently rowed by local Shan men from a nearby village, occasionally catching glimpses of other rafts passing in the early morning mist. Take long walks around the lake, visit the Shan village and simply take it all in. If you rush there in early February you may also get to take in the wonderful display of pink sakura flowers in full bloom.
Price per couple: 250 baht per night
084 365 0776, 089 431 8408