North Thailand Road Trip (Part 9): Flower Overload at Doi Tung Royal Villa

I jokingly said, prior to my departure to Thailand, that I plan to meet the King. Well, my jest remained a jest because I didn’t meet the King nor any member of the royal family. Even my visit to the Grand Palace is a disappointment because I didn’t get a glimpse of the royal rooms. I just entered some rooms filled with guns and ancient weapons and that’s it. No big deal.

I didn't expect to enter any royal residence until we climbed up Mount Doi Tung for the last leg of our North Thailand Road Trip.

Doi Tung Royal Villa, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Doi Tung Royal Villa was built as the residence of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother Srinagarinda. Mount Doi Tung was chosen because of its cool climate, which resembles that of Switzerland.

The Royal Villa is the centerpiece of the big project that the King’s Mother initiated in Doi Tung and surrounding area. The King’s Mother noticed that the hill tribe people in Northern Thailand are in grave poverty. She personally helped these people by bringing food, medicine, and other basic needs. She reached remote areas of North Thailand by riding a helicopter that’s why people call her Mae Fah Luang, which means Royal Mother from the Sky.1

Srinagarinda came from a poor family. Both of her parents died when she was 9 years old. This is the reason why the Princess Mother is concerned especially to the poor people in Thailand.1

Doi Tung Royal Villa, Chiang Rai, Thailand

The Royal Villa is deserted now because the Princess Mother died in 1995 years ago.2

The King opened the Royal Villa to the public to allow Thais (and tourists) get a glimpse of the life of their beloved Somdet Ya (Royal Grandmother).1 Photography was prohibited so I can’t post any photos of the Royal Villa’s interior here.

All I can say about the interior of the Royal Villa is that it’s simple but elegant, which I think perfectly fits the character of Srinagarinda.

I read that the villa had a good view of three countries: Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

A view from the Doi Tung Royal Villa

The Royal Villa is interesting but what I liked better was the Mae Fah Luang Garden.

Road sign to spots around Doi Tung Royal Villa

It felt so refreshing to be surrounded by greens. It was the same feeling when I visited the Phukhieo Wildilife Park. It was a good respite from the concrete forest of Bangkok.

Path to Mae Fah Luang Garden of Doi Tung Royal Villa

Mae Fah Luang Garden has scenic spots like this small lake…

Lake near the Doi Tung Royal Villa

…inhabited by ducks.

Ducks at the Doi Tung Royal Villa

Srinagarinda personally planted some of the flowers in the garden. Gardening was one of her hobbies, which she used to do at their house in Switzerland when they are in exile during the Second World War. This hobby of hers cultivated her concern for the environment.

Doi Tung Royal Villa as viewed from Mae Fah Luang Garden

Mount Doi Tung suffered deforestation due to the slash-and-burn activities of the people living in the area. Sangwan wants to restore the forest and uplift the life of the hill tribe people. The flowers in Mae Fa Luang Garden are harvested and sold, thus a source of income to the people.

Mae Fah Luang Garden of Doi Tung Royal Villa

My Beloved Wife will surely like this place because of the flowers. It feels so good to be surrounded by God’s beautiful creations.

Statue of Continuity in Doi Tung Royal Villa

Located at the center of Mae Fah Luang is a sculpture of kids as a human pyramid. Srinagarinda called it “Continuity” because she believe that continuity is the key in the success of all endeavors.

The sculpture was presented by Thai Airways and sculpted by Misiem Yipintsoi.

Hill Tribe banners at Doi Tung Royal Villa

Another interesting spot in Doi Tung would be the Hall of Inspiration.

Hall of Inspiration at Doi Tung Royal Villa

This is where we learned how Doi Tung rose from being a deforested and poor area to a premier tourist spot in Chiang Rai.

Some displays in the Hall of Inspiration, Doi Tung Royal Villa

Srinagarinda’s labor bear much fruit and is now enjoyed by the people living in Doi Tung. Tourism gave people jobs like these vendors on the road to the Royal Villa.

Street vendors along the road to Doi Tung Royal Villa

There is also a shop where tourists can buy flowering plants. I didn’t buy any since I will not stay long in Thailand.

Beautiful flowers for sale at Doi Tung Royal Villa

I only bought one ref magnet as my souvenir from this place.

I truly enjoyed our visit in Doi Tung. It was a refreshing end to a long road trip in North Thailand. Srinagarinda is a true inspiration and I believe that she is one the reason why the Thais revere the Royal Family.

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Footnotes

1. “Srinagarinda” in Wikipedia
2. Milestone of Doi Tung in Doi Tung.Org
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8 comments:

  1. Wow! Thanks for the information and the pictures!Lovely post!

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    1. You're welcome. :-) Thank you for visiting my blog.

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  2. what a nice and scenic place Ish... this is probably the Baguio's version of Thailand

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're correct if your talking about the Baguio of many decades ago. Baguio is now urbanized and the forest are gone. :-(

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  3. great place with great sceneries. Thanks for sharing yr adventures. Oh, I love buying ref magnet when i travel. It's all on my ref door. :)

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    1. We're the same Jean. I like to buy ref magnets because I want to display my travels on our refrigerator.

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  4. Ngayon ko lang tlaga naapreciate ang thai archi Ish! Salamat! Gusto ko yung pic with the ducks. :) Katuwa sila. :)

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    1. Salamat sa pagsama mo sa akin sa iyong exchange links. Tingnan ko yan later.

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