Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center, the lovely sea of fog at the horizon
The pure beauty of nature surrounding with the mountain range and the rolling clouds. The place that we are talking about is “Mon Ngo Peak”, a location of “Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center” and lots of more tourist attractions that may not be familiar to the tourists in general. However, the place at the moment has become one of the dream destinations for the local tourists pin up on their vacation plan specifically in winter. So, for anyone who seeks for a so-called new landmark for nature, we think you should not miss this place.
Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center situates in Mae Taeng district on the same way to go to Pai, the magnificent countryside in Mae Hong Son province. The location of Mon Ngo is about 67 km distant from Chiang Mai town or about 2 hours’ drive. So, it could say that the project site is not too far from the city area as much, plus the way to go is quite good with pavement, though some part you would find some curves to wake you up from the daydream. LOL. The place is beautiful and pleasant climate with the average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius.
Background of Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center
Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center that from here we will call shortly as “Mon Ngo Royal Project” founded in 1985 by His Serene Highness Prince (Mom Chao) Bhisadej Rajani, the president of the Royal Project Foundation for the king. He ordered the officers to inspect the area of Mon Ngo community in Mueang Kai sub-district, Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai which most of the residents are Hmong. The hill-tribe villagers reclaimed the forest for shifting cultivation in opium and field crop planting year after year, and they were all poor.
Then, the development by the Royal Project Foundation debuted since then. The first step of the development plan started with the introduce and promote the villagers to seasonal vegetables planting. Afterward, the task expanded to social development and group activity until the mission accomplished concerning economic, social, and cultural segment, included the natural resources reservation, as well.
What the Royal Project has done
The works of Mon Ngo Royal Project serves as the research center and demonstration farming to introduce any potential plants to the local farmers, i.e., tea, winter fruits – persimmon, plum, Chinese pear, avocado, mango, and star fruit, demonstration farm of cutting flowers and foliage plants.
Also, the center works in the development and promotion in the career, in particular, the vegetables farming such as Japanese pumpkin, Arabica coffee, and other temperature fruits – persimmon, plum, and tangerine orange.
Sightseeing at Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center and Neighbors.
1. Mon Ngo Viewpoint
A viewpoint stands on Mon Ngo Peak (Doi Mon Ngo in local) in Mae Taeng district with 1,425 meters in its height from the sea level. The location is distant from the royal project office about 2 km where the place is the natural attraction with the lovely environment. The viewpoint features the visitors with the picturesque scenery of the rolling mountains. The tourist would touch the fresh, natural atmosphere with the gentle cool breeze while you are waiting for the first light of the dawn and the sea of fog in the early morning. That is a wonderful gift for the early morning person, isn’t?
And we can’t get enough from this spot since we can see Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand in the west, Doi Fah Hom Pol in the north, and Doi Luang Chiang Dao in the east. And last but not least, the place offers you a great view of the sunset. Ones say that the sea of fog at Doi Mon Ngo that rolls over the hilltops are similar to Phu Chi Fah, the most famous sunrise viewpoint in Chiang Rai resulted in the perspective at Doi Mon Ngo got a nickname as “Phu Chi Fah of Chiang Mai”. Beside the wintertime, the sea of fog is available for the visitors to experience in the rainy season, as well.
2. Uncle Dech Tea Plantation
Uncle Dech Tea Plantation is the terrace farming of tea that ordering step along the hill. The visitors would enjoy with the gold and aromatic hot Oolong No.12 tea together with the view of the greenish tea farm from the porch. In the morning the location is faded covered with the fog which makes the site is so lovely and romantic.
Uncle Dech Tea Plantation locates on the same road to Mon Ngo Royal Project with about one and a half hour of drive from the city. Although it is the curvy route along the mountain slope, you would be refreshed once you see the fantastic landscape of the large land plenty of the tea plants. The landmark of the site is a wooden cottage towering stands next to the farm with the specular view of the mountain range.
Uncle Dech Tea Plantation is a part of Doi Mon Ngo Tour Route which including to Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center and Mon Ngo Peak. The tourist can take the trip in both of one day trip to visit the tea plantation, taste the various drinks from tea, and dining, otherwise stay a night to touch the nature and wake up early to witness the lovely sea of fog in the morning is not so bad.
3. Cymbidium Orchid Farm
Visit a vast farm of colorful Cymbidium orchid or boat orchid which is a ground orchid species that is so gorgeous and rare. The orchid is available only between December – March annually.
4. The Royal Project Demonstration Farm of Seasonal Plants
Visit the demonstration farm of various vegetables and plants that have developed and introduced by the royal project such as Japanese pumpkin, avocado, Arabica coffee, etc. and different winter flowers. However, for ones who are interesting to visit the site need to travel by 4-wheel drive vehicle only because the path to go there is partially rough and slope. But we think you should not miss if you already there, shouldn’t you?
5. Other interesting attractions nearby Mon Ngo Royal Project
- Learn how to make tea and taste the tea, including the procedure of tea processing and packaging at Ban Pong Tong Tea Factory.
- Visit the Closed Loop Mushroom Production – phoenix mushroom, oyster mushroom, and Lion’s Mane, for instance.
- Hmong’s tradition (Gin Wor), the New Year Festival of Hmong (a hill-tribe people in Thailand). The event organizes between the 1st-3rd waxing moon of the 1st lunar month of Thai calendar which is in January.
- Experience the rustic lifestyle of Hmong at Ban Mon Ngo (village) – Throwing “Chuang Bal” (a ball made from textile), playing top, hill-tribe embroiders, pound the rice with a pestle in the mortar. Also, learn how to make traditional “Mieng”, tea leaves prepared for chewing that is hard to find nowadays, tea collecting, and taste the spicy tea leaf salad, the famous local food.
- Nguek Pha (the Mermaid Cliff), a stalagmite that its appearance is similar to a mermaid attached to the cliff.
- Magic Pond, seep water inside the cave that the water is plenty there all year round.
- Tham Lom (the Wind Cave), The wind blows through this cave all the time especially at the entrance that you can feel the breeze, evidently.
- Ride a raft at Ban Sop Gai to see the lovely nature and lush, verdant forest. Witness the various shape of rock ridges and the old dead wood-tree with more than thousand years of age. The raft riding provides of both bamboo and rubber raft style; however, the bamboo one will stop in the rainy season. For the rubber float, it is available throughout the year.
How to plan the trip in Mon Ngo
The must-not-miss for your trip to Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center is to watch the sunrise and the sea of fog at Mon Ngo viewpoint in the early morning which is about 7 km from the royal project base or 45 minutes’ drive. To get over there you can contact and get the pick-up truck service at the project office with the cost approximately is THB700 for round trip. The road to the viewpoint is quite steep and narrow partially the last part that is laterite way. So, it is recommended for only 4-wheel drive vehicle with a skillful drive. Also, it’s seriously advised don’t you take your car since it is dangerous.
There are 2 spots up there at the viewpoint which are the camping ground that is perfect to watch the sunrise and the sea of fog closely. Another is up to the peak that needs more 300 m by walk. This spot is not for the sunrise hunter, but it offers you the stunning panoramic view of the sea of fog rolls over the towering mountain ranges. Regularly, the visitors come to the place will wait to see the sunrise at the first spot and then they will walk to the spot at the top. So, when you arrive at the site, you should take stop at the first viewpoint to witness the aurora which is just about 100 meters from the parking.
Many would say this place is “Phu Chi Fah of Chiang Mai”. And you might agree since Mon Ngo Viewpoint has a landscape with an overhanging rock reaching out to the misty sea that spreads over the sky and moves lingeringly as same as Phu Chi Fah the original. The heart-taking scene of the sun that is dawning at the horizon reflects the fluffy white mist and the greenish mountain ranges is such a fascinating frame of the new day.
Highlights of Mon Ngo Trip
From the first viewpoint, we will move to the top view about 300 meters away. A tip is don’t you come over this spot before you stop at the first viewpoint since this area is obstructed from the sunrise scene by the mountain.
At the top peak, it is bending wood signage “Mon Ngo Peak”, and walking along the mountain edge to another side of the hill you will meet a perfect location to see the sea of fog; literally it is genuinely the most beautiful spot of Doi Mon Ngo. The area projects the magnificent panoramic sea of fog that mingles in the mountains and the range of Doi Luang Chiang Dao from a distance. Undeniably, Mon Ngo Peak is another prettiest spot to watch the sea of fog in Chiang Mai that you must not miss, indeed.
The mission to hunt the sunrise and the sea of fog in the early morning accomplished. Then, we will take you back to the royal project base that will be environed with the faded mist. The project staff notes that it is generally during the winter season and also in the rainy season.
The program to visit the royal project here will not complete without tasting the deliciousness of the productivity from the royal project’s farm. Alternatively, a nice brunch at Uncle Dech Tea Plantation is another good idea. We recommend that to come here right away after finish at the viewpoint because the tea plantation is close, plus we can continue our moment of the gentle sunlight and the sea of fog here, too. The mist at Uncle Dech Tea Plantation is available until 9 o’clock estimate. And definitely, the broad array of tea is the must-thing for you to taste here.
How to get to Mon Ngo Royal Project
Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center is about 67 km from Chiang Mai city with approximately 2 hours’ drive. Driving on the highway number 107 (Chiang Mai – Mae Taeng) until Talad Mae Malai (Mae Malai Market) and turns left. Then, you keep driving on the road 1095 (Mae Malai – Pai) about 12 km, and you will meet the intersection. The way to the royal project is the right one opposite to Wat Sop Poeng and heads more about 17 km to the destination.
For those whom no have a personal car. Unfortunately, there is no any public transportation direct to the site. However, you can visit the project by getting the van at the Old Arcade Station route Chiang Mai – Pai (the same one to go to Pai) and inform the driver to get off at Sop Poeng (pass Wat Sop Poeng not much). Then, on the right is the route to go to the royal project (you can look for the noodle shop at the junction, it’s the spot you can get off the van).
Then, you can go to the project by pick-up truck service that you need to call them to pick you up at (+66)085 621 8991 (please notice in prior). The duration time is approximately an hour from Chiang Mai town to Sop Poeng and about 30 minutes from the intersection to Mon Ngo Royal Project Development Center.