Follow the King's Legacy for Sustainability

From shifting cultivation to the first Royal Agricultural Station (Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station and Ban Yang Community, Chiang Mai Province)

Chiang Mai


Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station is among Thailand’s top destinations during winter.  Visitors can admire the beauty of temperate plants 1,400 metres above sea level, causing the place to have a fairly low temperature all year long.

Back to when the royal station has not yet been founded, the Lahu people were the group of people living there.  They were poor, and they planted opium for living.  Later, His Majesty King Bhumibol went to visit the local people in Phak Phai Village, Fang District.  On his way, he observed the way of life of the hill people living there and saw that they cut down and destroyed trees.  This damaged the ecosystems.  The King observed that the temperature was fairly low, but there were very few trees.  He then talked to his courtiers, mentioning that these people should stop planting opium and cultivate other crops for living.  Later in 1969, on the advice of the King, Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station was founded.  On a 1,800-rai plot, the station has helped resolve an issue of illegal opium cultivation.  Cultivating other types of temperate plants and crops has stopped the issue of shifting cultivation, which is the main cause of deforestation and the destruction of local water sources.  Bald mountains have been transformed into green mountains since then.


 
Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station has become an imporatant place for conducting research on temperate plants for professional development of 3 tribes of hill people, namely the Palaung, the Lahu, and the Chinese Yunnan people.  There are many pieces of research on temperate plants which are suitable for the local temperature including fruits, fast growing plants, bamboos, vegetables, flowers, roses, herbs, chinese teas, linen.  The research has paved the way for the creation of many new species which are perfect to be grown in the local areas and the local people can depend on cultivating them for their livelihood.  Among those species are the Angkhang Amber peach 1, 2, 3, and 4, the Jade peach, the Royal strawberry 88 (a hybrid species from the Royal strawberry 80 and 60).  Also, Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station is an academic and education centre for highland agricultural technology ready to enlighten farmers, students, and people from desmestic and international institutions. 
 

 
Apart from being a development centure for agriculture, Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station is also a popular tourist destination which attracts many visitors as there are many places in the centre that visitors can see, such as  Chaloem Phra Kiat 80 th Garden, an English garden opposite Angkhang club.  There are many types of flowers all year round.  The period between December and January, there are cherry blossom trees on the top of the garden. 

Like its name, Scented Garden has many species of scented flowers, such as Sweet Osmanthus, Pink Jasmine, Lavender.  Thus, the air was filled with the scent of the flowers.  Those that are captivated by “the Queen of Flowers” should not miss the Greenhouse with cut-roses cultivation.  There are different species of roses from the Netherlands there.  Chinese plum plots have been in the station since its founding, the fruits of which are ready to harvest during the period between March and April.

There are communities of hill people nearby, which visitors can go and learn about their way of life and culture.  For example, there is Ban Norlae, or Norlae Village, of the Palaung people, whose culture is to wear distinctive styles of dresses.  the Palaung people are also famous for their New Year celebration, in which there are a tradition dance and a sword dance for visitors to see.  Khop Dong Village of the Lahu people is famous for grass weaving.  The products include colorful bracelets which visitors can buy as a souvenir. Moreover, Chinese Yunnan communities at Khum Village, Luang Village, Pang Ma Village also sell teas, herbs, dried fruits.
 

 
Tourists can go around plots of temperate plants using a bicycle which can be rented from Angkhang Club.  Most of the time, visitors are captivated by the beauty of Doi Angkhang, or Angkhang Mountain, which is as beautiful as those in other countries.  Most importantly, the Grace of the King, who came to the area and transformed Doi Angkhang into a heaven full of species of cash crops, cannot be expressed using words and will always remain in the Thai people’s hearts.

Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station
Moo 5, Mae Ngon-Angkhang Road, Mae Ngon Sub-District, Fang District, Chiang Mai 50110
Tel: 0 5396 9476-78 ext. 114
www.angkhagstation.com

Directions
Use Highway Route 107 (Chiang Mai – Fang) until you reach milepost 79 in Chiang Dao District.  Turn left in the intersection and go pass  Mueang Ngai Sub-District, Arunothai Village, and Luang Village.  The road is narrow but fairly smooth, and there is no telephone signal.  There is another option which you can continue driving along Highway Route 107 (Chiang Mai – Fang) until you reach milepost 137 and see the way to Angkhang Mountain.  There is a signpost telling you to turn left.  Follow the signpost along the road, which is a bit steep.  Driving through this road requires a lot of attention.

 

 
The next destination to follow the King’s footsteps which visitors cannot miss is Ban Yang Community, a place full of dominent culture and local delicious foods which are not easily found else where, such as Yunnan Sukiyaki, Caramel treats, claw-shaped crackers, Yunnan Pastry.  The visitors can take pride in cultural diversity they see there with the existence of a variety of ethnic groups which have the same King.

Ban Yang Community is where the Royal Factory is located.  In 2006, the community experienced a natural disaster when floodwaters flew from the top of the mountain with large rocks and trees, severely damaging Ban Yang Village.  There were many people who were killed in the disaster and more than 100 houses were destroyed.  The Royal Factory was where the local people who experienced sufferings were encouraged to work and develop their professional skills.  With the strength and determination to retrieve the situation, improve the economy, and develop the community for ecotourism, the community was then tranformed into a vibrant community.  Also, there was a construction of concrete lining to prevent the damage that might happen and natural levees to slow down flash floods.  With all the projects the King left his people, the communty becomes successful and has become greater than before.

the Royal Factory was built in accordance with His Majesty King Bhumibol’s sustainable development approaches, which are based on the King’s philosophy of “Sufficiency Economy”.  The Royal Factory has been developed continuously and has been registered as a company with the brand “Doi Kham”.  Its new building was later erected with its own museum, the Royal Factory Project 1 (Fang) Museum, showing photos illustrating the factory’s manufacturing production processes and photos showing the King’s visit to Northern Thailand.  Also, there is a store selling processed agricultural products.

Ban Yang Community and the Royal Factory Project 1 (Fang) Museum 
Opening hours:  Tue-Sun 8.30am-4.30pm
72 Moo 12, Mae Ngon Sub-District, Fang District, Chiang Mai 50320
Tel: 0 5305 1

Directions
Use Highway route 107 to get from Chiang Mai to Fang District.  It is 150 km from Chiang Mai.  Turn left at AngKhang intersection and go straight for 9 km.
 
A recommended local dish
Streamed pork, fish, shirmps with curry paste
This special dish is roasted pork, fish, and shirmp cake with curry and herb paste served in banana leaves.   
 
A 3-day trip
The first day
Reaching Chiang Mai Province; heading to Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station, having dishes with temperate vegetables for lunch; riding a mule or a bicycle to appreciate nature; seeing Japanese Cherry Blossom trees at Somdet Park and temperate plants and Azalea at Doi Kham Park; staying overnight at Doi Angkhang

The second day
Trying fresh strawberries from farms at Norlae Village of the Palaung people; having tea while appreciating the Lahu people’s way of life at Khop Dong Village; shopping at Ban Khum Market; staying overnight at Doi Angkhang

The third day
Visiting Ban Yang Village to learn about the Royal Factory Project 1 (Fang); having Yunnan Sukiyaki at Ban Din Lao Chang restaurant; buying pastry and noodles; going back to Bangkok

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