Wat Chan Royal Project Development Center, the location of the Ancient Pine Forest
Wat Chan Royal Project or Ban Wat Chan Pine Forest situates at Amphoe Galayani Vadhana, Chiang Mai. The place is beautiful and remarkable sightseeing in Galayani Vadhana district. It features the visitors with the enormous natural pine tree with more than 160 square kilometers of capacity which considered as the largest pine forest in Southeast Asia. The forest renowned in general as “Wat Chan Pine Forest” or “Ban Wat Chan Pine Forest”. Undoubtedly, the area is covered by the sea of fog and cold breeze during the winter season that is very romantic scenery we should not miss.
Wat Chan Royal Project Development Center or in short “Wat Chan Royal Project” established after the late King Bhumiphol or Rama IX acknowledged about the distress of the hill-tribe people in the area. Therefore, the king graciously initiated the development project for Ban Wat Chan and the other villages nearby. The project aims to promote the quality of living for the villagers. Besides, it is a development center to promote and enhance the agriculture in term of vegetables and fruits cultivation, the place also another interesting tourist attraction, too.
The task in Agricultural Experiment and Demonstration
Cultivation which has promoted at Wat Chan Royal Project including to the demonstration farming of new breed of plants that can resist to disease and quality of the product. The center needs to ensure the plants that will be suitable for the local geography and season, then transmit the result of the test as of knowledge to the farmers and encourage them to grow those plants. There are about 19 species of plant that are promoting to grow within 6,400 sq.wah of land namely;
Vegetables: there are 11 breeds of vegetables are Sweet Cabbage, Green Peas, Lettuce, Pointed Cabbage, Red Oak, Red Coral, Radicchio, Red Salad, Red Cabbage, Sweet Chard, and Artichoke.
Fruits: there are 8 types of fruits to be planted orange, Kumquat Orage, Avocado, Persimmon, Plum, Chinese Plum, Nuan Kham Mango, and Chinese Pear.
Hundreds of Years Pine Forest
A highlight of Wat Chan Royal Project is the pine forest with more than hundred years of age. As the largest pine forest in the country, the forest consists of both Pinus merkusii and Pinus kesiya species. And the location also offers the nature trails for those who love an adventure. The nature trails divided into 2 routes which are first is the way to watch Pinus merkusii which is the natural pine forest with wild orchids and diverse local birds. The trail is about 3 km from the project station. Another route is Pine kesiya forest with the large variety of wild plants and various rare species of birds which is a pavement that distant from the royal project about 1 km.
During winter, the land that locates among the mountains here is covering by the curtain of fog and cold breeze. Yet, the tourists who come to visit the place are irresistible to the charm of the magnificent view before eyes. The sea of mist is rolling over the lines of pine trees and a reservoir, including to the colorful leaves of the maple tree that conjoin to change the color in the winter during in December to February.
Plus, the ideal beauty of rustic way of life or the local that are all imprinting in the memory of the visitors from time to time. Nonetheless, Wat Chan Pine Forest is not lovely for visiting only in winter, the site in rainy season also distinctive charming with the abundant lush forest that is such a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere for tourism. So, that is to say, Wat Chan Pine Forest in the Green Season is not less in its charm at all.
What to See in the Wat Chan Royal Project
- Experience the beauty of Southeast Asia’s largest Pine Forest with more than a hundred years old and enjoy the adventure with the nature trails.
- The demonstration framing of the winter vegetables and fruits, i.e., Chinese apricot, persimmon, plum, and Chinese Pear, for example.
- Visit the Development and Research Center of Highland Ranch – rabbit, deer, various breed of chicken, goat, etc.
- Sea of Fog viewpoint that situates in between Ban Den village in Galayani Vadhana District and Ban Huay Tong, Muaeng district, Mae Hong Son province.
- Witness “Sundew” plant, a carnivore that is beautiful and rare to find in general.
Touring in Wat Chan Royal Project
Strolling around the area of Wat Chan Royal Project and we will spot a Productivity Building that is a center to gather and select the productivity from the villagers that deliver from their farm to the Royal Project center, then they will distribute to the markets. Wat Chan Project is so-called the excellent learning center for winter vegetable since the location is excellent climate all through the year. We will see the staff of the royal project are on duty with a lovely smile on their face which makes the feel of the trip is even more enjoyable. And the opposite of the productivity building is a demonstration farm of avocado.
Not far from the Royal Project about 3 km is another attractive spot. We can see some kids walk here with some defected vegetables from the productivity house previously and plan to feed the fish. So, we keep walking follow the laterite path to a reservoir which is quite a rough way. Although it is accessible for the car, nevertheless it is recommended to be four-wheel drive. Anyway, the locals are ok with the motorcycle, as well.
Fish Conservation Center, Huay Hung:
A reservoir is fully titled as “Fish Conservation Center, Huay Hung” and not too far from the lake is a monastery for the meditation retreat with only a monk resides permanently at the Buddhist pilgrimage house. The monk arranges to plant and takes care of various of flowers all around the space of the reservoir which enhances the environment of the place to be lovely and refreshing. The visitors who come to visit and feed the fish would enjoy and leisure with the simple, beautiful setting of the reservoir with the towering pine trees as a background and colorful flowers.
Once we check in to sightsee the vegetable farm in Wat Chan Royal Project that will replace the plants seasonally. For example, in the rainy season such as Chinese Kale, Japanese Pumpkin, Asparagus, etc. And surrounding the project also the vast land of the greenish rice farm especially during the rainy season which is the planting season with the pack of the young rice. Expecting they would be grown entirely in September that is an ideal time for one who would like to visit and see the verdant rice field at the site.
After taking the tour around the area of the royal project when the sun is going down. Then, it is time for dinner. The visitor who stays the night at the royal project would enjoy the simple homemade style cooking meal which cooked with the products fresh from the farm to the table. For example, the trip in the rainy season that the Japanese Pumpkin is the main product here. The dinner consists of Thai style spicy canned fish dipping, a particular recipe here served with fresh and steamed variety of vegetables. And Chicken curry with pumpkin, boiled bamboo sprout, and stir-fried Chayote leaf. All of the dishes are simple but tasty from fresh ingredients, specific the taste of the Japanese pumpkin that is so sweet and smooth.
Neighboring Tourist Attractions
- The Forest Industry Organization where you can watch the sea of mist that floating beyond the water in the morning.
- The changing color of Acer’s leaves during March-February.
- Cycling to indulge in the pure and pleasant natural environment.
- Nature trails.
The Viewpoint at Phra That Chedi, Galayani Vadhana
A must-not-place to check in when you visit Galayani Vadhana district is a viewpoint that features the top view of this district in the distance at Phra That Viewpoint. The place locates close to the royal project which accessible by four-wheel drive pick-up vehicle only because of the rough and slope road.
Driving along a kilometer distance, we will spot the white pagoda elegant stands distinctively named “Ko Pho Lu” which means “the Little Pagoda”. With the top view, we would witness the picture of houses of the villagers hidden within the large lush trees and greenish rice field. Resulting in the lovely and delighted scenery.
Ban Huay Hom
This is a tourist network by Ler So the community that is the collaboration of three villages are Huay Hom Village, Doi Tung village, and Huay Krok Village at Ban Chan Sub-district. The villagers mostly are Karen that settled and resided at the place until they set up the community and live harmonically to nature.
Moreover, they still maintain their rustic way of life, culture, traditional costume, food, custom, and belief since the old days like Animism. The location opens to the public who would like to learn and touch the local life with homestay style accommodation and activities with the villagers. The recommended season to take the trip is from September to October which is the best period to see the rice terrace, too.
Accommodation at Wat Chan Royal Project
The royal project here offers the visitors with the housing and lots of activities that the tourist can enjoy such as cycling, nature trail, farm tour, etc. for those who interesting to stay at the site can get more information and make the reservation at (+66) 084 365 5405.
Cottage 4 Units provides both room for 2 guests and 6 guests.
2-guest room: High season is THB600, the Low season is THB400.
6-guest room: High season is THB1,800, the Low season is THB1,200.
Also, the camping ground and tent for rent are available at the site, as well. And if you do bring your own food, the center can prepare the meal service for you with cost per meal (or set menu).
The accommodation operated by The Forest Industry Organization
The numbers of guest houses that are clean and comfortable with hot water and bedding. However, there is no any air-conditioner nor fan since the weather is nice and cool all through the year. And there is a camping ground for the tourists with about THB50/night per person. But the tent is not available for rent, so you have to bring in the tent facilities by yourself. The place provides food service, but prior notice is required. The tourist who interesting and get more information, please visit the website https://www.fio.co.th.
How to go to Wat Chan Royal Project
First route: on the highway number 107 at Mae Malai Market, makes the left turn or uses the road number 1095 (Mae Malai Market-Pai) and before arrive at Pai in about 13 km at the Forest Checkpoint, then make the left turn to enter the highway number 1265 at the signage to Ban Wat Chan. Then, drives more 40 km on the paved road and slows down once you meet the bridge since there is a deep hole. The route is friendly enough for the car. Along the way, you will spot the lovely and beautiful view of pine forest which is about 160 km in total or 3-4 hours’ drive.
The Second route: On the highway number 107 (Mae Rim – Samoeng – Bo Kaew – Wat Chan) and enter to Mae Rim district then head to the road number 1096. Then, drive pass Samoeng district to Ban Mae Sarb, Ban Bo Kaew, Cham Noi, and enter to Wat Chan Village. From the village about 3 km on the route to Wat Chan, the royal project is on the left with about 154 km in total or 4-5 hours’ drive. The road is gravel with asphalt road.
By Public Transport:
The tourist can get on the Yellow pick-up truck route Chiang Mai – Samoeng – Wat Chan at Chang Puek Bus Station. The fee is THB150 per person. And if you would like to get off at The Forestry Organization office, the THB40 is supplement with the duration of time of about 6 hours.