Follow the King's Legacy for Sustainability

The transormation of degreded forestland into a piece of land with innovative agricultural approaches (Mae Tho Royal Project Developement Centre, The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon, Chiang Mai Province )

Chiang Mai

His Majesty King Bhumibol had visited the local people on mountain areas for many times.  He found that Hot District’s Mae Tho, Chiang Mai Province had infertile land with its soil eroded by flash flood.  With the King’s grace, when he visitied his people, he wanted to find solutions to the problem to help hill people living in the area understand about sustainable agriculture and maintain forests and water sources.  In the past, the hill people living in the area planted opium and practiced shifting cultivation for living.  With his hope to enroucaged them to have good living conditions and improved their living conditions, the King founded Mae Tho Royal Project in accordance with the policy on innovative agricultural approaches.  This policy stressed the change in opium cultivation to the cultivation of appropriate cash crops.  The project educated people on small-scale irrigation system in order for the hill people to rely on agricultural professions.

Apart from organic vegetable plots, there are nurseries where several types of organic vegetables are grown.  The scenery of the royal project is magnificent, with the views of a series of mountains.  If this is not enough to satisfy nature lovers, there is Mae Tho National Park.  The park offers several guest houses, and there is Mae Tho Viewpoint, located in front of all the guest houses and offering a 360-degree view of the mountains.  This is truly a paradise on Earth.  

One can refer to this place as a paradise on Earth as they can come and see the beauty of Mae Tho Royal Project, of which the Hmong and Karen peoples are natives, with their own eyes.   The King being like a god who has always been in the Thai people’s hearts, this paradise exists becuase of his determination to help his people.

 Mae Tho Royal Project Developement Centre
Ban Mae Tho, Moo1, Boo Sali Sub-District, Hot District, Chiang Mai

The forestland in Northern Thailand was degraded.  This was due to poaching, deforestation, and shifting cultivation for rice, corn, and opium.  With his wish to help the local people find a permanent place for them as a means of livelihood, His Majesty King Bhumibol established The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon.  The station has conducted research on flowers, vegetables, and fruits to maintain their quality.  As for field crops, the station has encouraged local farmers to propagate many species of rice and educated the local Hmong and Karen peoples in order for them to increase their income.  Also, the station has been encouraging the improvement of the strength of the community and has been reviving and conserving the natural resources to make them continue to exist with the hill people forever.

The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon not only has farms but also has magnificent places, such as Royal 80th Anniversary Garden, which was created to celebrate His Majesty King Bhumibol’s 80th Birthday Anniversary.  The garden has several types of flowers, perennials, and temperate flowers.  Also, there are a waterfall, Royal Garden Siribhume, which has many species of fern and Azaleam and a greenhouse collecting carnivorous plants.  There are also several other places to visit nearby.  Visiting these places gives us an opportunity to be grateful for what the King had done to improve and tranform the area.

202 Moo 7, Ban Luang Sub-District, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai
Tel: 0 5328 6777

If one has enough time, they should visit the Pha Chor Canyon.  The canyon is a natural phenomenon caused by erosion of wind and rain.  The Ping River changed its course hundreds or thousands of years ago, making the area which was once a part of the river form into a cliff in the form of a strange-shaped monolithic block of almost 30 metres in its height, which causes excitement for visitors.  

Those who want to visit the Pha Chor Canyon have to do a bit of exercise as to observe the place, they need to walk along a dry stream and uphill.  The best time to observe the canyon is the morning as you can see clear blue sky and this time is perfect to take photos.  Another suitable time to obeserve the canyon is late afternoon as the golden sunshine streams through the canyon, making the images captured shiny and different.

The Pha Chor Canyon, Mae Wang Nation Park
Santisuk Sub-District, Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai 50160
Tel: 08 2765 852

Those who are fond of coffee, which is popular among the middle-aged, should go to Doi Mon Jong (Mon Jong Mountain).  The local people in Omkoi District are the Karen people, and they have been planting coffea arabica after they gave up cultivating opium.  In terms of temperature, sea level, amount of rain, Omkoi is suitable for coffee cultivation although it took a very long time for the local people to believe that they could depend on coffee cultivating for their livelihood.  After the local people realised this, people no longer cultivated opium but started plating cabbages, tomatoes, temperate fruits, and coffee instead.  The local people have been filled with a sense of well-being to follow the King’s footsteps to enhance the strength of the community for the people to depend on themselves.  To this end, they must produce coffee beans that give distinctive and delicious taste with care. 
In the past, The issues concerning products’ quality and transportation made it hard for the local people to conduct business.  Transport infrastructure was not as good as today.  Some places could be accessed only by helicopter.  People finally followed the King’s footsteps and cultivated coffee beans instead of opium.  This not only gives them money but conserve and revive forestland.

Omkoi District, Chiang Mai
Tel: 0 5346 7060

A recommended local dish
Chiang Mai’s Nutto Paste
You can increase your appetite with Nutto Paste made from dried chili and roasted nutto sheet.  The paste is seasoned with well salt and garlic to give the original Northern taste.

A 3-day trip
The first day
Reaching Chiang Mai Province; learning how to plant vegetables in a nursery at  Mae Tho Royal Project Developement Centre; staying overnight at Mae Tho Royal Project

The second day
Visiting temperate plants experimental plots at Chiang Mai (Khun Wang) Royal Agriculture Research Centre; appreciating the beauty of nature at The Pha Chor Canyon, Mae Wang Nation Park; staying overnight at Doi Inthanon (Inthanon Mountain)

The third day
Visiting the Royal Rose Garden, Huai Phak Phai Royal Project, at Thung Roeng Royal Project Development Centre, Hang Dong District; having lunch amidst plots of roses 
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