Doi Ang Khang is an almost 2,000 metre high mountain peak nestled amid the verdant valleys and forests of Fang District. Although a little off the beaten track, Doi Ang Khang attracts tourists with its unspoilt vistas, easy access to hilltribe villages and a varied range of things to do. Trekking, mule rides and bird-watching are the most popular activities. An added bonus is guesthouses and resorts which offer the perfect setting to chill and forget life’s ups and downs for a few days.
The district has been likened to a mini-Switzerland because its temperature is so much cooler. Accommodation establishments often offer fireplaces and electric blankets. The climate and the chance of seeing ground frost is a major draw card in winter. For many visitors, the chance of sampling non-native fruits such as kiwis, peaches and apples grown at the Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang’s gardens is a further attraction.
WHAT TO DO
A short trek is the best way of seeing Doi Ang Khang in all its glory. Trekking trails pass through shaded forests where red rhododendrons bloom in the wild. They lead to waterfalls, mountain viewpoints and hilltribe villages. Trekkers need to ensure they have enough drinking water for their excursions. There are trekking guides available for those who wish to gain better insights into the locality.
Mountain biking provides an alternative to trekking and allows riders to travel farther afield. There are short rides to the likes of Pa-Daeng in addition to the longer Mae Ngon trip. Roads in the area are a mix of surfaced and mud. The mud ones are hard-packed and only difficult to navigate during the annual rainy season. Ang Khang Nature Resort and other resorts have bikes for rent. Some Chiang Mai mountain biking tour operators include Doi Ang Khang on their itineraries.
Residents of Baan Khum Village offer mule rides which generally follow a set route. The 90-minute ride goes from the settlement to a vantage point with views across the border into Myanmar and back again via the Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang. The mules are still used as beasts of burden by farmers and it pays to book this activity in advance to avoid disappointment.
The variety of birds in the hills and valleys of Doi Ang Khang is a delight and will satisfy even those without a serious interest in bird watching. There are an estimated 1,000 species to be found here and in the adjoining Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. Highlights include brown-breasted bulbuls, rusty-naped pittas and Hume’s pheasants. Although the peaceful Mae Phur Valley Trail comes highly recommended, local guides have the most up-to-date information aboutwhere bird watchers should head for.
WHAT TO SEE
The Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang
When it comes to choosing what to see, Doi Ang Khang is not lacking in unique attractions. The Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang is the flagship. The station is packed with gardens featuring cold climate fruits, colourful flowers, tea fields, vegetable zones and even Japanese-style bonsai trees. An onsite restaurant and shop allows visitors to sample the produce. The station was founded by the Thai royal family to provide an alternative to growing opium for the region’s hilltribe villagers.
The Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang: #1, M. 5, T. Maengon, A. Fang, Chiang Mai 50320 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: 30 B/Person, 50 B/Vehicle | Tel: +66 53 450 107-9 | Fax: +66 53 53 450 106 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
Doi Ang Khang is hilltribe country and there are a number of different ethnic groups living in the locality. The Lisu, or Musur as they are sometimes called, Thai Yai, Palong and the Jin Hor are the four main ones. Jin Hor are the descendants of Kuomintang fighters who fled China in 1949. All the groups have distinct styles of houses and clothing as well as their own languages. Some of the villagers sell clothing, souvenirs and local produce from stalls at their houses.
WHERE TO STAY
Angkhang Nature Resort
The Angkhang Nature Resort is a top choice and features a collection of nicely appointed rooms, a restaurant, mountain bike hire and easy access to the Royal Agricultural Station. The resort is spread over a tree-shaded slope where the only sound is usually birds tweeting. Rooms come with bonuses such as private balconies, satellite televisions, tea and coffee makers and electric blankets. The Camellia Restaurant serves up a good selection of Thai and international dishes created from Royal Project produce…more info & booking
Other accommodation options for Doi Ang Khang
There are several budget priced guesthouses at Ang Khang. The facilities and amenities vary at these. Fang Town is 45kms from the centre of Doi Ang Khang and has a better choice of places to rest up for a few days or to use as a base to explore the locality. Three of these which constantly garner good guest reviews are the Phumanee Lahu Home Hotel, Viengkaew Resort and the Khunyuw Hotel.
HOW TO GET THERE
The access road to Doi Ang Khang is about 140kms north of Chiang Mai on Highway 107. From the turn off, it as another 25kms on a twisty, mountain road. Driving time is about three hours all in. Highway 1249 to Doi Ang Khang is clearly marked on the 107. Visitors have the choice of renting a car or motorcycle for the trip or joining tours offered by specialist travel agencies.
It is also possible to get to Doi Ang Khang on public transport using a combination of bus or passenger van and local songthaew. Buses and vans for Fang depart from Chang Phuak Bus Station in Chiang Mai at regular intervals during the day. Shared songthaew taxis are usually waiting at the 107-1249 junction. Songthaew services finish earlier in the day than Chiang Mai-Fang buses. People wishing to reach Doi Ang Khang in one day should take morning buses.
Chang Phuak Bus Station (Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 1): #108/27, Chang Phuak Rd., T. Sri Phum, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 04:00-21:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 53 211 586, +66 53 223 900 | Map