Mae Salong Travel Guide
Perched some 1,800 meters above sea level on the mountains, the village of Mae Salong is found in Chiang Rai Province, in the northernmost part of Thailand. The region has an alpine-like climate and landscape and is also known as ‘Little Switzerland‘.
Sometimes called Santikhiri (Hill of Peace), Mae Salong has a large Yunnan Chinese population because it was chosen as a place of refuge by a large number of Kuomintang soldiers who escaped the communist regime in 1949. Their strong cultural influence is emphasized by several Chinese temples, shops and restaurants as well as typical Chinese architecture.
Since 1994, Mae Salong has developed into a tourist draw featuring narrow winding streets flanked by noodle shops, inns and teashops. Today, the village is one of the country’s top 10 destinations among backpackers, who travel here to enjoy the cool climate and visit the close-by Akha and Lisu tribe settlements.
From early January, the area boasts the sight of gorgeous Japanese cherry blossoms, particularly along the Sakura Route, a four-kilometer road section that shines with pink flowers. It is also a major tea growing region famous for its high grade traditional Chinese high mountain Oolong.
Getting There & Away
Mae Salong is accessible by bus from Thaton and Chiang Rai, with the 76-kilometer journey from Chiang Rai taking about 2 hours. You can take the bus to Mae Sai, get off in Pasang and change to a minibus to Mae Salong, or take a bus to Chiang Saen or Mae Sai and get off at Mae Chan, from where a minibus heads to Kewsatai and then another minibus to Mae Salong. Chiang Rai Airport is a 1-hour, 30-minute flight from Bangkok.
Things to Do
Mae Salong Attractions
- Cherry Blossom Festival
Held each year from late december to early january.