Even though Doi Hua Mae Kham (ดอยหัวแม่คำ) does not sound as familiar as Doi Thung, its serene and splendid natural beauty makes this place worth a visit. It is second to none in terms of comfortable temperature, breath-taking highland sceneries and unique hill tribe lifestyle. Doi Hua Mae Kham consists of 4 main tourist attractions.
Doi Hua Mae Kham is the mountain peak that rises 1,850 meters above sea level. It is famous for wild Mexican Sunflowers (Dok Bua Tong) in their full bloom in November. Due to the chilly weather at that time of the year, visitors can find panoramic views of a range of sierra soaring in the cloud and contrasting with bright blue sky. Especially at dawn, the morning sunbeams gradually reveal her golden radiance through the sea of fog, showing a fascinating image of heaven. Meanwhile, tourists can gain a memorable experience of meeting the highlanders from several tribes, such as Lisu, Hmong and Akha – and their authentic costumes and environmentally friendly lifestyle.
The followings are main stops on Doi Hua Mae Kham.
- Hua Mae Kham Village – Predominated by hill tribe people, this village hosts the annual cultural event called Chao Doi Dok Bua Tong in mid November. Visitors can try indigenous food served on Khan Tok (a wooden tray with pedestal), enjoy Thida Mae Kham beauty contest, offer foods to Buddhist monks, admire the beauty of Mexican Sunflowers, as well as experience their exotic culture. The event is held once every year, so make sure you do not miss it. In addition, there is another annual event known as Kin Wor which takes place around Chinese New Year. It can be described as the New Year for the Lisu tribe, so they dress beautifully, perform traditional dance routines and celebrate for 7 days and 7 nights.
- Doi Hua Mae Kham Forest Park – The forest park is located only 2 kilometers away from Hua Mae Kham Village. It boasts the best and highest scenic point. Yet it can only be accessible by car.
- Hua Mae Kham Highland Agricultural Extension Center – The center aims at publication and distribution of agricultural guides for cold-climate plants
- Hua Mae Kham waterfall – The final stop is just a short distant from the village, but you are required to continue on foot after driving. This multiple-tiered waterfall is the main source of water for the village. Tourists are allowed to indulge themselves in its icy cold water. There are accommodations and camping tents available for rent in a reasonable price.
For further information, please contact Doi Hua Mae Kham Forest Park at 089 855 7475; Hua Mae Kham Highland Agricultural Extension Center at 0 5391 8101; or Khun Malee at 0 5360 9106, 08 6192 0170, 08 7192 0551.
How to get there:
- Doi Hua Mae Kham is situated in Mae Salong Nai subdistrict, Mae Fah Luang district. From Chiang Rai, use the previous route leading to Doi Mae Salong (Highway No. 1130). Turn right at the Ekaw T-junction and drive pass Ban Thoet Thai until you reach Ban Mae Kham which is 100 kilometers away from downtown Chiang Rai. Ban Hua Mae Kham is situated very close to the borderline. It takes about 3 hours on a gravel-paved road that curves along the mountain ranges. Follow the sign post which guides you to Doi Hua Mae Kham Forest Park, on your way you will find Hua Mae Kham Highland Agricultural Extension Center, Hua Mae Kham Village, and the Forest Park respectively. Staff working at the agricultural center can give you more specific direction. It is strongly recommended that visitors should have their own vehicles because getting from place to place on the hills is difficult.
- Alternatively, there is Chiang Rai – Pa Sang bus services which you can get on at downtown Chiang Rai and it costs only 18 baht. Then you need to catch 2 more bus services: the blue line from Pa Sang – Ban Thoet Thai (60 baht) and the other line from Ban Thoet Thai – Doi Hua Mae Kham.