Mon Cham is Chiang Mai’s version of the cool hill station retreats so popular in colonial times. Mon Cham, or ‘Mon Jam’ as it is often spelt, is only a one-hour drive from downtown Chiang Mai yet is worlds away with its cooler climate and chilled out atmosphere. Mon translates as hill from the local Northern Thai Kam Mueang dialect and this particular hill is a verdant spot nestled high in the clouds.
Nong Hoi Royal Project is the focal point of Mon Cham. The project’s nicely maintained gardens and restaurant together with beautiful views and an escape from the hotter weather in the city are the key draws of a daytrip to Mon Cham. Visitors wishing to stay overnight have a choice of camping or staying at the mountain resorts in the locality.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
Nong Hoi Royal Project
Nong Hoi Royal Project is Mon Cham’s premier draw. Gardens, vegetable patches and greenhouses are spread over hillsides and loaded up with colourful flowers, strawberries, Thai herbs, purple cabbages and all the other produce typically on display at markets in Chiang Mai. Different items depend on the particular season of the year, but all are organically grown. The onsite restaurant serves up a collection of dishes created from products grown at Nong Hoi and other Royal Project stations.
Nong Hoi Royal Project: #22/8 M. 7, Ban Nong Hoi, T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 07:00-17:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 53 879 418, +66 81 950 9767 | Map
Pongyang Zipline and Jungle Coaster
This exhilarating adventure centre is only three kilometres from Baan Mon Muan and the Royal Project. Many tourists combine the thrills of Pongyang with their outings to Mon Cham. Abseiling, an 800-metre sling-ride through the treetops, and a death-defying plunge are among the Pongyang highlights guaranteed to excite those who like activities with a difference. Read more about Zipline Adventures in Chiang Mai.
Pongyang Zipline & Jungle Coaster: #99/2, M. 2, T. Pong Yang, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 09:00-17:00 (Mon-Fri), 08:30-17:30 (Sat-Sun) | Packages: Zipline (36 platforms) = 2,500 B / Jungle Coaster 300 B (round) | Tel: +66 53 106 327 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
WHERE TO STAY
Hmong Hilltribe Lodge
Around eight kilometres along Highway 4051 from Mon Cham, the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge is another great accommodation choice. Rooms and bungalows at this resort come with mountain-view balconies, fans, heating, free toiletries and sitting areas. A swimming pool and sundeck is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the exotic vistas. The open-sided, pavilion-style restaurant is the venue for Hmong culture shows in the evening and has a menu featuring hotpots, barbecue specials, stuffed omelettes and numerous other Thai signature dishes … more info & booking
Baan Mon Muan Resort
Baan Mon Muan is Mon Cham’s premium accommodation choice and features a boutique assortment of well equipped hillside villas built out of timber and other natural products. Each villa comes with bonuses including private verandas, plush beds, rain-showers, air-conditioning, facilities to make tea and coffee, and complimentary toiletries. The verandas offer great views over the landscaped gardens, Nong Hoi and the surrounding hills. This resort has an onsite fitness centre and a restaurant at which diners are able to taste Thai speciality dishes made with Royal Project produce.
Baan Mon Muan Resort: #175, M. 2, T. Pong Yang, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:00-19:00 (Daily) | Courses: Weekly 2,500 B / Monthly 9,000 B | Tel: +66 94 626 2239, +66 95 229 8249 | Website | Facebook | E-mail | Map
Mon Cham Camping Resort
Adjacent to the Royal Project, Mon Cham Camping Resort offers tents for up to four occupants. These are equipped with mattresses, bedding, torches and even bottles of water. The site has its own restaurant which provides a good selection of reasonably priced dishes made from organic items.
Mon Cham Camping Resort: #22, M. 7, T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim, Chiang Mai 50180 | Open: 08:00-19:00 (Daily) | Tel: +66 81 8063993, +66 84 372 0466 | Map
HOW TO GET THERE
Mon Cham is reached via a side road heading north out of the Mae Sa Valley. Tour organisers offer daytrips to Mon Cham and the Mae Sa Valley. It is also possible to hire a taxi or songthaew for the trip. Mon Cham is easy enough to get to and visitors can rent a car or motorcycle for the excursion. Taking highway 107 north, drivers need to go through Mae Rim and then take the signposted left turn for Highway 1096 and the Mae Sa Valley. The road to Mon Cham, Highway 4051, is 15kms along the valley road. This latter road is picturesque, but a little steep and twisty in places.