Mae Fah Luang Gardens, also known as the Princess Mother gardens, are considered among the most beautiful, well-kept gardens in Thailand. The gardens are located on the Doi Tung mountain range, at the Golden Triangle area, an hour away (by car) from the city of Chiang Rai. When you visit there, it’s hard to believe that not so long ago (some dozens of years earlier), the area was known for its prosperous opium industry, as now it is a lovely, blossoming site.
Mae Fah Luang Gardens are among the royal family’s projects in Chiang Rai and the entire north; they are the product of the Princess Mother’s initiative. She was the mother of Thai king Rama 9 who passed away less than a year ago. Her name was Princess Srinagarindra and she used to be a nurse, hence her genuine interest in the health and well-being of the local mountain tribes.
During the 70’s and 80’s, the Princess Mother used to visit these remote areas, and since at the time no roads were paved around, the only way to get there was by a helicopter. The local tribe people, who appreciated and cherished the queen’s care and dedication, called her with much fondness ‘Mae Fah Luang’, meaning Royal Mother from the Sky.
The gardens are located in a place that was populated by the Akah tribe in the past. Since it was a narrow valley, that could not be developed or expanded, the tribe people agreed – as part of the project – to move their village a few hundreds of meters away and a road was paved for them. They were then connected to electricity and water networks, on a land with development and expansion potential in the future.
The mountain tribe people then quit the opium fields and traded it with modern agriculture. Many of them are employed in the gardens, other local projects and various businesses such as stores, coffee shops etc.
The gardens are marvelous, with a vast amount and variety of flowers and plants. At the heart of the garden, there’s a very special statue which was built by the artist Misiem Yip-In-Soi and the Princess Mother granted its name ‘Continuity’ to symbolize the fact that continuity ensures the success of the endeavors that were put into developing the area.
In 1987, at the age of 87, the Princess Mother decided to build her home there – a humble yet very elegant building that you can visit; it is located beside the gardens and titled the Royal Villa.
Opening Hours: the gardens are open to the public every day between 7 AM to 6 PM
My Opinion: Very impressive, marvelous, well-kept gardens. I highly recommend visiting the place.
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♥ Pai Canyon is included in our tour plans in the area
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♣ Feel free to check out the clip I took on site… Enjoy!!