"Mae Salong" Ban Mae Salong Noi by kenmerk
Ban Mae Salong Noi Travel Guide: 34 reviews and 60 photos
First of all, Mae Salong is not your typical north Thai town. The one thing that you will notice pretty quickly when you visit here is that there are hardly any Thai poeple here, which would be considered in the category of unusual for a Thai village...
This town has a pretty checkered history, it is right up on the Burmese border, and when the Burmese government decided to oust the remnants of the Kuomingtang (KMT) army from Northern Burma, they fled across the border (with their poppy plants in tow) into Thailand and settled around this area.
While the KMT was running the show around here, both they and the local hill tribes were heavily involved in the opium racket, and so, as you can imagine, there are still remnants of the opium trade about...(the current goverment of Thailand seems pretty intent on stomping this out, though...)
With the Chinese influences here, it looks more like a Yunnanese Chinese village, than a Thai town. I'd guess at present that the current population here is about 80% of Chinese descent, 15% hill tribers, and maybe 5% Thai.
These days, it does seem that the Thai government is trying to put more of a Thai stamp on this area, though, as there is now a new Thai language school in town, and a new Thai temple and pagoda on the west side of town.
The nicest part of visiting this town is its remote location, access to hill tribes around the area, and the relative freedom from the mass tourism, which seems to have taken over much of Thaialnd..
The drive into Mae Salong is just beautiful. Along the road you will pass through a couple of hill tribe villages which look like they haven't been overly influenced by tourism too much yet, and the town itself still has a small rural feel to it, free of any tall buildings or the Evil Golden Arches... (heaven forbid...)
Although I didn't do any trekking around here, (since I was planning to do this later in the week up in Burma), I'm sure that its great, too.. You can even walk into Burma if you so dare, as it is only a short distance to the west from here....
The road to Mae Salong is quite scenic, and now that it is paved it is also quite bearable. It winds up through very... more travel advice
The original backpacker guest house in town is the Shin Sane, which is conveniently located right near the morning... more travel advice
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