Ban Wat Chan Pine Forest in the northern part of Thailand. Ban Wat Chan will be a good destination for nature loving tourists and this place located in Ban Chan sub-district, Mae Chaem district. The forest in here is not only very scenic but the tourists can also experience the Museki Karen’s lifestyle because the Museki (means a source of the Mae Chaem River) Karen people have been settling in this area for hundreds of years. They have been preserving the forest very well as if the forest was one of their family members. According to Karen tradition, when a new child is born, they tie the child’s umbilical cord to a tree and consider the tree as the family tree and no one is allowed to cut it. This way the pine forest will always be abundant.
Pine trees grown here are mountain pines and Kesiya pines which grow only on the land that is 1000 m up above mean sea level. Pine resin can be used for many purposes such as increasing the string instrument’s roughness or extracting pine oil mixed with oil colors to make them dry faster. However, there is no resin production here in order to maintain the forest’s equilibrium. To generate more income, the villagers have been encouraged by the royal projects to farm Bresse chickens which are broiler breeder strains whose meat can cost up to several hundred baht a kilo. Tourists are welcome to visit and enjoy Wat Ban Chan Pine Forest’s beautiful and pleasant scenery, ride a bicycle to feel the atmosphere because the climate is cool around the year, or take a rafting trip in the lake.
Operating day: Daily
Operating time: 08.00 – 17.00
How to get there:
- Yellow pickup trucks called Song Thaeo with two benches in the back perform run daily from Chang Phueak Road in Chiang Mai Town to Ban Wat Chan from 09:00 and 11:00. The fare is 120 baht. The trip takes 4 hours via Samoeng.
- Please note that a 4WD vehicle is required for all routes. The most convenient route is Highway 1095 from Mae Malai to Pai.
There are two possible routes:
- Take Highway 1095 Mae Malai – Pai, to KM 80, and then turn left onto an unpaved road and continue for another 40 kilometres.
- Take Highway 1095 Mae Malai – Pai, take the entrance at Wat Phra That, continue for about 500 m, take the left turn to the Chom Chaeng – Ban Mueang Rae – Ban Bo Rae route. The total distance is 165 kilometres.
- Samoeng – Wat Chan – Ban Bo Kaeo – Ban Dong Sam Mue This route is about 155 kilometres, half of which is on a rough, unpaved road.
- The other two routes, which are tougher and rougher, are Amphoe Mae Chaem – Ban Wat Chan, or Amphoe Mueang Mae Hong Son – Ban Wat Chan. The later is very beautiful.