Chiang Mai and its province hide authentic treasures, special corners where you can get lost, admire the natural beauty of the environment and its people
One of these treasures is Fang just over the border with Myanmar in northern Thailand. Nestled between mountains and crossed by the Fang and Kok rivers, the town of Fang offers us the opportunity to enjoy its landscape and the tranquility of these mountainous areas. Founded in the year 614 by King Lanna Lawa Changkarat took its name from a tree, the Fang, characteristic of this whole area of the country and which also names the main river. After the heyday of Chiang Mai as the capital of the kingdom, Fang became a small quiet town. In its more modern times it was an important centre for the illegal planting of opium. Hidden among the rugged landscape, these plantations were controlled by the remnants of the Chinese Nationalist Army or Kuomintang troops exiled after the Chinese revolution in Thai territory. With the fall of the business and the action of the government, these plantations were practically eradicated focusing the development of the zone towards the tourism.
The population of the area, apart from being Thai, is also composed of ethnic groups from the mountains such as the Lahu, Hmong and Karen.
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FANG AND NORTHERN THAILAND, FEW TOURIST SPOTS
The main activities and places of interest you can visit are the following:
WHAT TO DO IN FANG
Visit the Wat Tham Tap Tao: On the way to Chai Pakran only 3 km from Fang is located this temple excavated in a cave (Tap Tao). To access the cave you have to climb some steps until you reach the temple. Inside the cave / temple we can find different Buddha images, especially that of a reclining Buddha, decorating the cavity. Another important detail is the amount of bats that are and make the experience unique.
Visit the Fang Hot Spring: Located at the foot of the Pha Hom Pok Natural Park and only 8 km from the city we can relax in these hot springs enjoying a hot water bath.
Visit the Pha Hom Pok National Park: Located 5 km above the Fang Hot Springs the Pha Hom Pok National Park stands out for its Doi Pha Hom Pok peak of 2225 m above sea level the second highest in the region. The park borders the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Inside the park the most interesting thing is to make small trekkings of 1 day to finish relaxing in the zones of the thermal waters.
Visit the Huai Luk Royal Project: Designed to promote another way of life for the people of the Lahu and Karen Mountains and to reconvert their opium crops, this project promotes ecological agriculture trying to maintain the traditional ways of life and subsistence of these people. The project is based on the transfer of arable land and providing ecological seeds to the inhabitants of small villages in Fang district.
HOW TO GO TO FANG
The best way is to rent a motorcycle and do it from Chiang Mai or from Chiang Dao itself if I have been visiting this town because it is on the same road. You can also go by public bus from Chiang Mai from Chang Puak bus station. The journey takes only 3 hours. The price is 150 bth and they leave every hour from 8 am to 5 pm.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN FANG
The small population offers little variety of accommodation. Near the bus stop you can find very cheap rooms.
We hope this post will help you to get to know Fang and Northern Thailand in a more alternative way.
As in all this area if you can get lost with the bike visiting small Karen, Lahu and Hmong villages. Now don’t go looking for the typical postcard with the Padung or Karen women.
After 1 day of visiting the area relax with a good bath in the hot springs. Try to go at the last minute and avoid the weekends.
Fang, as well as Chiang Dao , are ideal alternative destinations to do when visiting Chiang Mai.