Follow the King's Legacy for Sustainability

The King’s considerable talent for advancing national development (Pha Tang Royal Project Developement Centre and Sa-ngo Royal Project Developement Centre, Chiang Rai Province)

Chiang Rai

The northernmost province of Thailand was where His Majesty King Bhumibol and Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother, once paid a visit without considering the distance from the capital and the difficulties while travelling.  Both the King and the Princess Mother had transformed the forestland on mountains full of opium into pieces of land with other types of plants, all of which have been a source of income for the local people, and this in turn has been helping them live a sustainable life.

In 1964, Pha Tang Royal Project Developement Centre has not yet been completely established, but it was just a small organisation under Huai Lang Royal Project.  It organisation aimed to provide professtional development for local farmers and test and propagate temperate plants.  In 2007, The people in Pha Tang Village, Rom Fa Pha Mon Village, and Sila Daeng Village, whose people were grateful for to His Majesty King Bhumibol for founding many royal projects to help the local people, sent a petition to the King through His Serene Highness Prince Bhisadej Rajani, the president of Royal Project Foundation, in order to request for professional development for the local people and to request for a facelift of the local area to make it a tourist destination.  Also, the local people requested that they were given useful knowledge about how to conserve natural resources and the environment.  The people gave the foundation 50 rai of farmland to build its centre, which has been used until now.  Visiting the centre not only gives people an insight into the work of the King and what the King had done to develop this country but also gives them an awareness of how the King tried hard for his people to have good quality of life.  Thus, the centre becomes a dream destination for many people who want to come admire the scenery.  

Go along the road leading to Doi Pha Tang for about 1 km and turn right to “Pha Tang Royal Project Developement Centre”, which is one of the destinations to follow the King’s footsteps.  He initiated the project because he wanted to help local farmers.  By doing this, he encouraged the cultivation of temperate vegetables and fruits, the tranformation of the place into a tourist destination, and the conservation of natural resources.  There are many types of crops which are produced in the centre, including purple carrots, sugar snap peas, Japanese bunching onions, leeks, sweet peas,  Chinese kale, butterhead lettuce, oak leaf lettuce, peaches, persimmons, Chinese plums, cape gooseberries.

Pha Tang Royal Project Developement Centre
Po Sub-District, Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai 57310
Tel: 08 0790 6246 or09 7991 1080

From Chiang Rai city centre, use the route Chiang Rai – Wiang Chai – Phaya Mengrai – Ban Tao (Highway route 1233, 1733, and 1152, respectively); the distance is about 50 km.  Then use the route Ban Tao – Ban Tha Charoen – Wiang Gan – Pang Hat (Highway route 1155); the distance is about 17 km.  Continue for 15 km from Pang Hat to Doi Pha Tang.  From main road, use the route leading to Doi Pha Tang.  Turn right at the junction and go straight for 500 m until you see Pha Tang Royal Project Developement Centre.  The total distance from Chiang Rai is 160 km.

Doi Pha Tang is a popular destination to see sunrise in the morning with “the Sea of Mist” as a backdrop.  Also, one can visit Doi Pha Tang to enjoy sunset in the evening.  Located at an elevation of 1,800 m above sea level, Doi Pha Tang has rather low temperature.  People visiting Doi Pha Tang can see “the Sea of Mist” all year round.  In January, Doi Pha Tang is colorful because it is the time when wild Himalayan cherry trees are in blossom.  February is when orchid trees are in blossom with the villages of Chin Haw, the Hmong people, and the Yao people as a dramatic backdrop.

Apart from Pha Tang 102 viewpoint, which allows one to see sunrise and sunset, and Pha Tang 103 viewpoint, which is the best place to enjoy “the Sea of Mist”, one should not miss Pha Bong viewpoint, which is a towering cliff.  From here, one can see a defile which resembles a gate or the hard shape.  It is said that this is the Gate of Love full of positive energy.  Couples who come and hold each other’s hand and walk through the “gate” together, their love will last forever.

Ban Pha Tang (Pha Tang Village)
Moo 14, Po Sub-District, Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai 57310
 Sub-District Administration Organisation
Tel: 05 3602 7423

From Chiang Rai city centre, use the route Chiang Rai – Wiang Chai – Phaya Mengrai – Ban Ta (Highway route 1233, 1733, and 1152, respectively); the distance is about 50 km.  Then use the route Ban Ta – Ban Tha Charoen (Highway route 1020); the distance is 45 km.  Continue using the route Ban Tha Charoen – Wiang Kaen – Pang Hat (Highway route 1155); the distance is 17 km.  It is 15 km from Pang Hat to Doi Pha Tang.

In the Golden Triangle, there is one more royal project.  This is Sa-Ngo Royal Project Developement Centre, which allowed the local people in the area to have better quality of life.  The centre is located in Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai Province.

In the past, the project was organised in the form of volunteering work, which aimed to help hill tribes.  The area could not be reached easily as the transport infrastructure was not very good.  When His Majesty King Bhumibol visited the local people in 1978, he recommended that there should be an organisation to help the local people in Doi Sa-Ngo (Sa-Ngo Mountain).   Sa-Ngo Royal Project Developement Centre was then established, being responsible for 4 villages in a series of rather steep mountains on 23,750 rai of land. 

All the developmental projects the King had started only aimed at better quality of life of the Thai people in accordance with the “self-reliance and sustainable development” concept

Since then, the local people in the area including the Akha tribe and the Tai Lue people have become farmers who produce crops which can be sold to feed themselves and their family.  Also, visitors can come to the centre to see experimental plots from plots of vegetables such as jalapeños, snap beans, sweet peas, several kinds of herbs, and chamomile to several kinds of flowers and fruits.  There are also many activities concerning Thai traditions and rituals.  For example, the visitors can see New Year celebrations of local tribes, exorcisms, needlework, and traditional handicrafts produced by the Akha people.  The visitors can buy the handicrafts as a souvenir.       

Apart from the centre, there are several natural and historical places.  Among them are many legendary mountains such as Doi Chang (Chang Mountain), Doi Ngu  (Ngu Mountain), and Doi Nang Non (Nang Non Mountain), overlooking many areas in the Golden Triangle.  Also, visitors might go to Ban Khao Sa-Ngo (Khao Sa-Ngo Village) to follow ancient legends, see the Sea of Mist in the morning, or even cruise down the Mekong river into Myanmar or Laos. 

Sa-Ngo Royal Project Developement Centre has tranformed the local areas to become better, and this is the pride of the Thai people as our King established many important projects that are beneficial to the people and the country in all places he visited.

Sa-Ngo Royal Project Developement Centre
Ban Doi Sa-Ngo, Sri Don Mun Sub-District, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai 57150

The centre is 230 km from Chiang Mai city centre.  It takes about 4 hours by car.  Use the route Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai (Highway route 118) and continue your journey to Chiang Saen District.  Turn left and go along Highway route 1290 and go pass the Golden Triangle until you reach milepost 18.  Turn left and go straight for 3 km until you see the centre.  The centre is about 45 km from Chiang Rai city centre.  It takes about 1 hour from Chiang Rai to the centre.

A recommended local dish
Chiang Rai’s rice cake with sweet and sour sauce
Rice is grinded to produce juice.  The juice is then mixed with lime.  The mixture is left for one night until it is sticky like cake.  The sweet and sauce fermented by using sugar cane, brown sugar, and tamato juice is poured over the cake.  The dish is served with vegetables. 

A 3-day trip
The first day
Travelling to Chiang Rai; visitng Pha Tang Royal Project Developement Centre at Wiang Kaen District

The second day
Travelling to Chiang Saen District; visiting Golden Triangle Park’s Hall of Opium, which has a tunnel that tells the stories about opium;  visiting Tea Oil and Plant Oils Development Centre; visiting the Hall of Inspiration, which gives you power and guidance in life; staying ovenight at Doi Tung Lodge 

The third day
Paying homage to the King’s footprints in plaster at King Rama IX’s Footprint Pavilion, located at  Mengrai Maharaj Military Camp
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