Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang; an ecotourism site and nice garden
Doi Angkhang, a pleasant valley located at Fang District, Chiang Mai, approximately 1,400 meters above the sea level. It is a place that reflects a painting-like scene of blooming winter flora including Siam Sakura and also a variety of winter fruits and vegetables that lures many people to come to visit this place year by year during the winter season. The breath-taking view of the landscape illuminates its background which was one of the biggest opium plantations in Thailand for a long time.
Background of the Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang
The Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang is the project from the idea of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej in order to support agriculture instead of opium planting. The project began when His Majesty the King traveled by helicopter and passed this mountain peak. He saw a village and then made a visit.
While visiting the hill tribes, King Bhumibol accompanied by the Queen found from people in the area of Doi Angkhang had a cold climate and the majority of hill tribes grew opium poppy but were still poor, moreover they did slash and burn and shifting cultivation which would bring disaster to the country in the future. His Majesty the King planned to change the opium fields into agricultural fields. His Majesty the King instructed his private fund to purchase a piece of land at Doi Angkhang.
The Station therefore was founded in 1969 under the directorship of H.S.H. Bhisatej Rajani as the chairman of Royal Project mainly working on research about temperate fruits, flowers and vegetables to be the sample for the agriculturists to do for their living. Later H.M. naming it “Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang”.
What is interesting at The Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang?
In the Station, there is a fruit research center, winter flowers, farm plant demonstration, and oily plants. It has become a popular nature tourist attraction of Thailand. And there are many interesting things to explore in this place which are;
Suan Somdej or Royal Garden
The garden has collected various plants including opium poppy and winter plants that are planted rotationally every year for example Plains Blackfoot, Little yellow star, Bird of Paradise.
Suan 80 or Garden 80
It is an outdoor garden sited opposite to the Clubhouse. The garden is named after the age of chairman of the station on the occasion of his 80th year. This garden is decorated in English style with an array of temperate flowers and plants – Ornamental Cabbage, Daisy, Hibiscus, etc. The flowers in this garden are blooming beautifully all through the year especially in winter the Sakura which is a genuine Japanese breed is blooming and coloring within this orchard. Besides the Garden 80, the Japanese Sakura, that has propagated by the station’s laboratory, is also scattered around the area of the agricultural station as well.
Suan Buay or Plum Garden
The Plum Garden located nearby the street right before the Clubhouse, in front of the Vegetable Greenhouse. The tree sheds its leaves and flowers in November and produces fruit in January. And the row of the plum tree is a very charming view that is one of the most popular scenes for photo opportunity.
Inside the greenhouse is a display of different varieties of cutting roses from The Netherlands totaling more than 7 breeds which are both fragrant and colorful.
Temperate Flower Garden
The greenhouse where there exists various flora, featuring over 50 kinds of plants which flower and produce fruit alternately throughout the year – Begonia, Lady-slipper, and carnivore. Tourists may take a rest and enjoy tasty tea or coffee at this relaxing corner or enjoy shopping at the shop, where the Royal Project products are available.
English Rose Garden
H.S.H. Bhisatej Rajani, the chairman of Royal Project imported the English roses from England to plant in the garden. There are more than 200 breeds of English Rose here resulting in its naming as ‘English Rose garden.
It exhibits several kinds of cold weather vegetables grown in the Royal Project areas more than 1,000 square meters capacity, for example, lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, bean and carrot. Also, there are new varieties of vegetables grown in the greenhouse, like Swiss chard, rhubarb, artichoke and herbs like rosemary and lavender.
Temperate Fruit Garden
It is a nursery plantation for temperate fruits e.g. peach, Chinese plum, persimmon, Chinese pear, plum, kiwi fruit, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry for instance. The visitors can spot the fruit gardens in the Royal Project along the street of the project.
Suan Khan Doi or Rhododendron and Azalea garden
This outdoor garden is a house for the collection of Rhododendron and Azalea. Most of the flowers species in this garden are imported from abroad from places such as New Zealand, The Netherlands, and England. And the flowers exist nowhere else but here. The characteristic of Azalea here is its color that is yellow or pink, whereas the local breed is red or white. Besides, there are other temperate flower planted in this garden for example Camelia and Lavender.
Genuine Japanese Sakura Tree
The Sakura at the Royal Project is genuine Japanese breed that stand to welcome the tourists inside the project for 3 spots which are along the street of the project, Garden 80 and English Rose Garden. The perfect time to see its blooming is in January annually.
Other attractions nearby the Royal Project
1.The sunrise view point, Khob Dong
It is situated on the way to Khob Dong and Nor Lae village. This is one of the best spot to witness the sunrise particularly in winter when the sea of fog adds some more charming ambience to the scene. And many food vendors are available at this location as well.
Tea Plantation 2000
Another top tourist destination on Angkhang mount which provides a magnificent view of sunrise and misty sea and staircase-farming of tea plantation as its background. The plantation located on the left before Nor Lae village, however there’s not any signage. So, please stop by and ask from the villagers. The best time to sight the most beautiful view is around 6.30am.
Staircase-farming Strawberry Plantation, Nor Lae
The landscape of strawberry bed on a staircase style farming with foggy curtain in the morning is some kind of pleasant and lovely view that is hard not to fall for. Besides to witness the local life of agriculturist pick strawberry from the plot but also you can buy fresh and delectable strawberry with friendly price from here as well.
Doi Angkhang Highest Point
This is the highest point of Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station. At 1,928 meters above sea level, this area boasts Rhododendron, which blooms on this mountain once a year in December. This highest point is only a half-an-hour walk
Mon Son Viewpoint
It located near to the Doi Angkhang Highest Point and is one of the best viewpoints of Doi Angkhang. It provides visitors with a stunning view of both sunrise and sea of fog.
Sui Tang Viewpoint
This viewpoint is quite unknown for the tourists as it is situated on the way head to Chiang Dao district which is far from the Angkhang Intersection check point about 5 kilometers. Nonetheless, it is identified as ‘a Stream of Mist’ resulted its breath-taking view of sea of fog and mountain range towering behind as a perfect screen. And below is Sui Tang village.
Thai & Myanmar Border
This point, located in the Thai Army Base at Nor Lae village, enables tourists to see the terrain on the Thai-Myanmar border. The point offers the tourists with a pleasant scene of misty sea and mountain range in the morning. And not far from that is a location of Nor Lae village.
Angkhang Walking Street
The walking street is located in front of the Royal Project. There are many shops offering local products e.g. food, snack, fresh and preserved fruit & vegetables, handmade, etc.
Khob Dong Village
It is sited between Doi Angkhang and Fang district far from the Royal Project about 4 kilometers. Black Lahus have been living here since before the Royal Project was established. You will find a simple life of tribal people here as well as local handicrafts are available for visitors to shop.
2. Luang Village
This is a Yunnan village where the Yunnan who migrated from China since World War II. Agriculture is main occupation for people in this village which mostly are fruit for example peach, plum, Chinese pear. Moreover, there are accommodations and Yunnan restaurants where serve Khao Soi (Curried Noodle Soup) and Yunnan Pao (Steamed Meat Bun).
How to Get The Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang
To reach The Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang can be reached by many options, however to travel by car offers you better opportunity for photo shooting along the way to the destination.
there are 2 routes which are;
- From Chiang Dao district, uses bypass road and head left to Arunothai Village and head toward up to the mountain. Drive carefully since it is narrow road but not too much slope and signage are located along the way. To be more safety, drive during day time is recommended.
- Another direction is drive pass Chiang Dao district to Chai Prakarn district route Chai Prakarn – Fang on Super Highway road. Head toward just about 70 kilometers and look for the gangway where there is a temple called “Wat Had Samran”, then turn left and head toward for 25 kilometers. This route is very tough slope specifically the 14th – 18th kilometer, so please make sure to drive very carefully and checkup the vehicle before trip is highly recommended.
- To travel by bus, can get the bus Chang Peuk Station in Chiang Mai city town route Chiang Mai Fang and get off at the gangway up to Doi Angkhang in front of the temple “Wat Had Samran” at the 137th kilometer pole. Then get minibus to the destination.
- The fare price of the bus at Chang Peuk Station is THB150 (van), THB85 (Bus)
- For one who doesn’t travel by car is able to hire a minibus for the trip in Angkhang and the price is around THB1,200 up and is negotiable.
There is accommodation available at the Royal Project that provides cottage style residence. However, as it is high demand so booking in advance is recommended. To make reservation and for more information contact at www.angkhangstation.com.
Anyhow, in case you cannot get the accommodation at the Royal Project, the places nearby the station are widely serviced including camping sites.