"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....

  • Last visit to Ban Mae Salong Noi: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated Feb 5, 2004
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Reviews (18)

Comments (8)

  • globerover's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2006 at 10:21 PM

    We visited Mae Salong in 2003 on a day-trip from Chiang Rai and we decided to return again in the future and stay there for a few days, your page also gives us a couple of reasons to do so!

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2004 at 7:57 AM

    Ban Mae Salong Noi... seems like Yunnan. Interesting, Ken! ciao :-)

  • Guantanamera's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2004 at 1:52 AM

    From my experiences of Thailand, it's hard to believe this place is in the same country! I think the Chinese lost a little border skirmish at some point...!

  • Bonobo2005's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2004 at 1:12 PM

    The roosters, they remind me of all rural SE-Asia: sleeping by 10, waking up at 5! Nice off the beaten track page! Hopefully mass tourism stay away here for a while!

  • skye820's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2004 at 5:42 AM

    Starbucks? Mmmm...okay perhaps not in this place, although I would like to try the local tea!!!

  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo
    Feb 29, 2004 at 1:26 PM

    It's nice to know that some of the Franchise monsters have left some of the world's splendors well enough alone. My biggest fear was hiking to the top of Poon Hill in Nepal and finding a STARBUCKS up there!!!

  • andal13's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2004 at 11:26 AM

    That special "Morning Call" let you take those beautiful sunrise pictures... or are they sunsets? ;-)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2004 at 2:13 AM

    Great photos and information on this relatively 'pristine' location! I always wondered what a Chinese breakfast consisted of!

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