Nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland’, Doi Angkhang has a cool climate compared to the rest of Thailand. It’s even been known to freeze in January! However, you probably won’t get chocolates or cheese fondue during your stay here. Instead, the area is known for its delicious strawberries, apples, pears and lychees. The cool mountain air is the perfect spot for this type of agriculture. However, back in the day, the Black Lahu and Palong tribes used to grow opium here. The King of Thailand put a stop to that.
Doi Angkhang is the 15th highest peak in Thailand, but at 1,928 metres, it’s not that tall! It might feel larger if you try to trek up it though. This sleepy quiet mountain resort is squeezed next to the Myanmar border, and for years was a battleground for Kuomintang and Shan Army forces trying to control the opium trade.
Those who’ve travelled around this part of Thailand might be forgiven for missing Doi Angkhang the first time round. First-timers in Northern Thailand tend to go to Chiang Mai and explore the Chiang Rai province. However, those who seek out quieter areas like Doi Angkhang are rewarded for it. The main attraction here is the Royal Agricultural Station. It sits nicely in the centre of the basin on top of an old poppy plantation. Villagers from both sides of the border work in the station and take pride in the area, so take care while you’re exploring it.
You’ll probably meet some hill tribes while you’re there. You could visit the Pang Ma, Bang Luang and Ban Nor Lae villages during your stay. They’ll perform dances in traditional dress and teach you about their culture. Experienced travellers will see how they differ from tribes in other regions.
For something a little different, head to Ban Khum. It has a very Chinese feel to it, so try tea tasting and visit the souvenir market.
Plan your trip to Doi Angkhang today.