Tracing along the tea path of HM King Rama 9 at Khun Wang Royal Project Development Center
Khun Wang Royal Project Development Center, Chiang Mai where the place was initiated by HM the late King Bhumiphol or Rama IX of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Stands in the northern region of Thailand, Khun Wang Royal Project Development Center is another most beautiful tea plantation on the highland which is another pride of the Thai farmers.
A beginning of the project derived from HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej with his gracious initiation to aid the hill-tribe people to have the stability of work and living instead of opium planting. On the other hand, to recover the environment from the shifting cultivation and forest destroying of the residents, previously. All of that is the primary objective led to the establishment of the “Royal Project Foundation” as the excellent evidence to project the effort and endeavor of the late king to give the benefits and sustainable living to his people.
Becoming the Royal Project Khun Wang
Khun Wang Royal Project Development Center which we will call is short as “Khun Wan Royal Project” established in 1982 by King Rama IX. The king first visited the site and noticed that there was plenty of narcotic plants remained in the land. So that, it was necessary to promote the local farmers to grow other plants that offer then equivalent or better income. Thence, the king graciously ordered the concerned organization to make the plan to study, research, and develop the site to be a learning center as a demonstration farm for various species of temperature vegetables and fruits.
Plus, the natural tourist attractions nearby the project to appeal the tourist to visit the place such as “the famous Wild Himalayan Cherry” viewpoint at Khun Wang. Besides, the place offers the comfortable accommodation and restaurant with clean and tasty menus.
The location, in general, is surrounded with the towering mountain ranges with some plain basin between the mountains. The property under the administration of the royal project is about approximately 46 sq.km alloca ted to be the operating area of the project about 0.048 sq.km (or 30 rais) with the medium-high from the sea level at
1,300 – 1,400 m. And the river that bypasses the project is Khun Wang River. The residents mostly are Karen and Hmong from 7 villages in total, and they are under the administration of Mae Win sub-district, Mae Wang district, Chiang Mai.
The seven villages included Ban Khun Wang, Ban Pa Kluay, Ban Pong Lom Raeng, Ban Pong Noi Gao, Ban Huay Yao, and Ban Khun Mae Wak. The citizens are under the project’s support, and promotion are 380 households, and the promoted occupation for the residents are;
Promoting occupation for villagers
- Promoting vegetable plantation: Sweet Peas, Broccolini, Broccoli, Japanese Bunching Onion (Leek), Sweet Lettuce, Royal Project Tomato, Red Cherry Tomato, Fennel, Green Pepper, and Yellow Pepper.
- Promoting of flower plants: It aims to encourage chrysanthemum farming the significant flower of the royal project including to Calla Lily, Agapanthus (Lily of Nile), Carnation, etc. Nowadays, it extends to the potted plants and produces and product demonstration of Vanilla, too.
- Promoting of fruits: Mostly are the seasonal fruits and temperature fruits such as Seedless Black Grape and Kiwifruit.
- Promoting of Chinese Tea plantation and processing.
Khun Wang Royal Project has been promoting the local farmers to decrease the forest invasion in the past for planting the cabbage with more than 333 rais of capacity. When the royal project team instructed and promoted them to grow the vegetables in the greenhouse instead. As a result, it reduces the space for cultivation up to 80% and the farmers can gain more income until they can be self-reliance, indeed.
The project mainly serves as the demonstration farm of diverse species of introduced plants such as Broccolini, Baby Spinach, Seedless Grape, Peach, Persimmon, Kiwifruit, and flowers – Chrysanthemum, Carnation, Lily of Nile, Calla Lily, Potted Plant, and Vanilla.
Apart from that, Khun Wang Royal Project also offers the accommodation, camping ground, including the facilities for one who would like to engage in the agritourism, tribal way of life, and visit the natural attractions.
What to See at Khun Wang Royal Project?
Khun Wang Royal Project Development Center locates in Khun Wang district, Chiang Mai. And a highlight which lures lots of visitors to come to this place is definitely the Chinese Tea Plantation and the Tea Processing Process, one of the promoted careers for the local citizen to gain income sustainably.
1. The Chinese Tea Plantation
And the tea plantation we are introducing here is at “Khun Mae Wak” village. The place is such a lovely landscape, even though we have to take the journey via the rough road and over ten curves to pass. Once you step your feet on the land, you will sense the fragrant smell of tea leaves that diffuse all around the area. So, it is the right start for a relaxing trip, indeed. Here we will learn how to produce tea starts from collecting the tea leaf through packaging. The tea plantation at our eyesight, although it is not a vast land. But the location is quiet, relaxing, pleasant climate, and environed with the towering mountain ranges that are no word to explain how lovely of this place.
As to increase the quality of life with the ultimate purpose to be self-reliance sustainably, the royal project at Khun Wang has changed the lives of the residents that are mainly the mountaineers. Some of them express their feeling since the time that belated King Bhumibol Adulyadej visited the place. The king with his graciously endeavor to develop the remote land and turn it to be the golden land with full productivity and quality life.
Formerly, the villagers lived their life by opium plantation without any know-how of other cultivation. So, the opium was the only source of income followed to their capability. Until King Rama IX came here and init iated to help the local by transmitting the know-how of tea plantation resulted in the residents earn the revenue from growing tea with better quality of life.
Today, the residents here gain the annual revenue from selling the tea leaves at THB50 per kg. The fresh tea leaves then will be transferred to process to be “Oolong Tea”. The annual yield from harvest is approximately 200-300 kg per year (5 times per years estimate). No doubt that further than the stable source of income for the local, we can see the happiness express over the smile of the villagers here that it is hard to resist to smile with them.
2. Flower Farm
After the tea plantation, next spot that we recommend you to visit is “Flower Farm”. The beautiful flower farm which is one of the demonstration farming at Khun Wang Royal Project implement to promote the hill-tribe people to do, as well. The farms are packed with various species of flower such as Chrysanthemum, Lisianthus, Carnation, White Lily, and White Calla Lily, for instance.
We ensure that you would love this charming place and have pleasant mood all through the day. Because you would be dazzled with the colorful flowers in each greenhouse that are blooming to welcome the lovely visitors. The metaphor we were the honey bee that flies over the flowers garden and sucks the nectar out of the flowers one by one. Additionally, the royal project here also promotes the hillmen to plant these flowers as the alternative source of income that can be the tourist attraction, too.
Accommodation and Facilities
Presently, the housing at Khun Wang Royal Project may not operate; nonetheless the place opens for the public to visit in general. And the restaurant which is run by the project also services with mainly serving the ingredients from the royal project’s productivity. The recommended menus for you to try, for example, are Green Tea Fried Rice, Veggie Tempura, Tea Shoot Spicy Salad, Spicy Mushroom Dipping Sauce, Mushroom Soup, Portobello BBQ, Passion Fruit Ice-cream, etc.
However, for more information about accommodation and facilities, the tourist, please feel free to contact Khun Wang Royal Project Office at (+66) 053-318-333 and (+66) 088-413-7243.
How to go to Khun Wang Royal Project
The tourist can travel to Khun Wang Royal Project Development Center in 2 directions;
From Chiang Mai city town, drives on the highway number 108 (Chiang Mai – Hod) and before you arrive at Chom Thong district, please make the right turn to enter the road number 1009. And before the 31st km burrstone takes the right turn and heads to Khun Wang which is about 15 km to reach the destination. The total distance is approximately 106 km or 2 hours’ drive.
From Chiang Mai downtown, uses the highway number 108 (Chiang Mai – Hod) and drives pass Hang Dong district. Then, takes the right turn at the trisection to the way to San Pa Tong district on the road number 1013 about 47 km. And you make the left turn at Ban Huay Kiang and drives more 16 km. The total distance is 86 km and the duration time is 2 hours’ drive.