This is a good time to take short trips. Not only is it healthy for us to get out of our homes and into some fresh air and new scenery, it’s also a good time to help kickstart the economy.
Our readers David and Kim Cartwright drove up north to Doi Tung to visit the wonderful gardens of Mae Fah Luang Royal Palace and here is what David had to say about it:
“Kim and I have visited it many times and I always take visiting friends and relatives there. it is so stunningly beautiful I never, ever get bored with it as there are always acres if fresh flowers and plants to wonder at, which change with the seasons, at various levels, each enjoying splendid open vistas, often with mountain backdrops.
I noticed this time round that there are additional facilities for children to play with but nicely blended into the background so as not to intrude on the main floral vistas.
There are good coffee shops within the grounds and a restaurant near the entrance. Toilet facilities are modern and clean, in keeping with grounds under Royal patronage.
Additionally there are large greenhouses containing orchids, tropical plants and seedlings.
You buy tickets at the booth near the entrance to the gardens and if, like me, you take your passport to show you are over 60 you can enter the gardens for 45 baht! Everyone else is charged 90 baht – Thai or farang.
Multi entry tickets are available at additional cost to visit the Royal Palace and Royal History museum. We have been to both of these previously so we stuck to the gardens this time round, but the palace, built in a Swiss Chalet style for the previous Queen Mother is well worth a visit. Apparently Her Majesty spent several formative years of her life in Switzerland, which influenced the design of the palace.
I would say you need to spend at least two hours to thoroughly explore and enjoy the gardens, maybe longer with relaxing coffee breaks accompanied by delicious, locally made pastries and cakes!
The route north from Chiang Rai commences on Route 1 towards Mae Sa, but you turn left off this superhighway after about 40 Kms to take the twisty, but well engineered road up Doi Tung to the gardens, for about another 15 to 20 Kms.
At this time of year, approaching the rainy season, the air is fresh and cool and visitors few. A wonderful time to go, but at any time it never fails to thrill!
For more information: www.maefahluang.org