Introducing Doi Ang Khang
About 20km before Fang is the turn-off for Rte 1249 to Doi Ang Khang, Thailand’s ‘Little Switzerland’. Twenty-five kilometres from the highway, this 1300m peak has a cool climate year-round and supports the cultivation of flowers, fruits and vegetables that are usually found only in more temperate climates.
A few hill-tribe villages such as Ban Luang, Ban Khum, Ban Pang Ma, Nor Lae and Kob Dong can be visited on the slopes. Many of these villages are supported by royal agricultural projects. TAT in Chiang Mai has a basic map of Doi Ang Khang outlining cycling routes and treks to villages. A good source of information on Doi Ang Khang is Mr Macku, who runs the eco-friendly Angkhang Nature Resort and can arrange cycling, mule riding and trekking to hill-tribe villages in the area.
Nineteen kilometres before the turn-off to Doi Ang Khang, you can make a 12km detour west off Rte 107 onto a dirt road to visit Ban Mai Nong Bua, a Kuomintang (KMT) village with an old-fashioned Yunnanese feel.
A more scenic route is the ‘back road’ to Doi Ang Khang via Rte 1178, which winds along a ridge to the mountain’s western slopes. Along this route, Ban Arunothai was until recently visited regularly by United Wa (Myanmar Special Region 2) State Army soldiers who were moving yaa bâa (crude amphetamine pills) from across the border in Myanmar to the Thai market. On this road up to Doi Ang Khang, the village of Ban Luang is another interesting stopover for a Yunnanese atmosphere. In the vicinity, you’ll see plenty of ponies and mules still used to transport local goods.
Near the summit of Doi Ang Khang and the Yunnanese village of Ban Khum, there are several places to stay.
Part of the Amari Hotel Group, Angkhang Nature Resort (0 5345 0110; www.amari.com/ang khang; 1/1 Mu 5, Ban Khum, Tambon Mae Ngan, Fang; r 3000-3900B; ) is an unexpectedly plush hotel featuring large, tastefully designed bungalows spread over a slope. The huge, attractive lobby boasts stone fireplaces at either end for use in the cool season. There is a good restaurant on the premises that uses organic produce from the nearby Royal Agricultural Project. Mr Macku, who runs the resort, is a great source of information on the area, and arranges trekking to hill tribe villages, mountain-bike and mule-riding trips, and bird-watching. Call to arrange for transfers to the resort.
Naha Guest House (0 5345 0008; Ban Khum, Tambon Mae Ngan, Fang; per person 350B) has large eight-person bungalows with shared hot-water shower and toilet.
At the base of the slope are a couple of open-air restaurants serving a variety of dishes with an emphasis on Thai and Yunnanese Muslim cuisine.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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