For the last post on my trip to Chiang Rai, I will write about Doi Tung Royal Villa and Mae Fah Luang Garden which can be found in the same complex. This complex is located on the hillside of Doi Tung, to the north of Chiang Rai. Both attractions are part of Doi Tung Development Project of Mae Fah Luang Foundation. This foundation is under the patronage of the late Princess Mother, Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the mother of the late King Bhumibol. The villa was also her residence in Chiang Rai and now it is on display as a museum which showcases her works. Mae Fah Luang, the name fondly given by the local people in northern Thailand to the late Princess Mother, was influential in developing the people in this area especially in fighting opium trade.
The museum is open for public but visitors should wear appropriate attire as you are not allowed to wear shorts here. The checking point of the villa provides long and loose pants for those wearing shorts before entering the villa. In the villa itself, visitors will not be accompanied by guides. Instead, visitors will be provided with electronic guides which are available in Thai, Chinese or English. With the help of the device, visitors can learn the history of the residence and the Princess Mother’s work. It is forbidden to take photos inside the villa and some areas are also restricted from public access. The villa is spotlessly clean and the garden in front of the villa is also very well maintained. After visiting the villa, we can go down the hill a little bit and find the Mae Fah Luang garden. Yes, more flowers.
Mae Fah Luang garden is a vast park with beautiful gardens and flower beds. There is also an orchid greenhouse which contains a lot of orchids arranged in a well-designed natural landscape. There is also a small coffee shop in this award-winning garden and a lot of benches where visitors can sit and enjoy the view of the garden. The centerpiece of the garden is definitely the main garden which is located in a spacious slope of the hill. In the center of the main garden, there is an artistic sculpture which was named “Continuity” by the late Princess Mother. This garden filled with various kinds of flowers and trees, and on the background we can see the royal villa which we have visited earlier, overlooking the garden from the top of the hill.
Just outside of Mae Fah Luang garden, there is a nice restaurant where I had my lunch before leaving the area. In front of the restaurant, there is a souvenir shop which sells various items including fruits and plant seeds. I bought some flowers seeds which I brought back home for my mom to plant. It would be interesting to see if those plants can actually grown on different soil and weather. This post on Doi Tung would be the last of the series from my trip to Chiang Rai. For my next post, I will start with a new series of posts on neighboring Chiang Mai, another city to the north of Thailand which I visited after Chiang Rai.