Its pleasant these nights to eat on the outside verandah watching fire-flies; its part of the 'magic' of Christmas. It made us think about taking a trip north to Doi Tung.
Doi Tung in Thailand's most northern mountain range is beautiful with views across to Burma & spectacularly out across 'hidden' hill-tribe villages across over the fertile plains of Chiang Rai. The drive up & those around Doi Tung are magnificent with memorable trips along the Thai-Burma border to isolated Akha hill-tribe villages in spectacular settings & to the wonderfully sited Doi Tung Wat.
The King's mother lived here after having spent much of her youth in Switzerland. Upon returning to Thailand she decided to head to the 'Thai alps' & build a Swiss chalet (fit for a King's mother) at around 1700m atop Doi Tung. With wonderful views & a magnificent garden, it leaves a lasting impression. One can visit both the gardens & the Chalet.
The area was inhabited by many tribes (particularly Akha & Lahu) who grew opium for the warlords. The Queen Mother moved the tribes away from opium to growing vegetables, fruit & flowers; to tourism whilst at the same time providing education & health care. Its quite a developed business nowadays producing its own line of coffee, macadamea nuts, clothes, pottery, etc., & employing around 1500 folk from the hill-tribes.