The Mae Fah Luang Arboretum
The Mae Fah Luang Arboretum was founded by the Princess Mother after whom the gardens and arboretum were named. She used to fly in via helicopter to administer help to the inaccessible regions in the area, thus the name roughly translates to “Royal Mother from the Sky”.
Due to its isolation, climate and nearness to Myanmar and Laos, this exact place used to be the largest opium farm and drug trafficking route in the region. The Princess Mother completely turned this around.
Her, and the rest of the Royal Family’s, impact on the country is often spoken about, but you really need to experience it for yourself.
The Mae Fah Luang Gardens
These perfectly manicured gardens were also part of the same repurposed region as the Arboretum and are managed by the local community as part of a sustainable program implemented to give life back to the community. We have heard that the gardens change shapes and colours with the seasons – we’ll just have to go back and check that for ourselves!
The Princess Mother wanted to bless the Thai people with an opportunity to experience a beautiful flower garden like the ones she had seen overseas while providing the local villagers with job opportunities and the knowledge to keep and maintain the gardens. Not to mention teaching locals how to bring in revenue through tourism.
What To Expect
The Mae Fah Luang Gardens and Arboretum are located in the northern part of Chiang Rai and they are a definite ‘must’ while visiting.
It is important to mention that the Mae Fah Luang Gardens and Arboretum are separate places, but not far from each other. It’s about a 30-minute journey through the mountains, which you’ll love, it’s awesome.
Chiang Rai is also the place The Princess Mother decided to call home and you can also go and visit her actual house, The Doi Tung Royal Villa next to the Mae Fah Luang Gardens. Another important attraction is The Hall Of Inspiration.
Vital Visitors Information
How Much Does It Cost?
Mae Fah Luang Gardens: 90 THB p.p.
Mae Fah Luang Arboretum: 90 THB p.p.
However, we strongly suggest getting the combined ticket at 220 baht. As long as you visit at least three of the four attractions, it’ll be worth the price! A combined ticket will get you into the Mae Fah Luang Arboretum and Gardens, The Hall Of Inspiration and The Doi Tung Royal Villa.
You can purchase the combined ticket at any of the attractions mentioned and can visit them in any order you like.
When Is It Open?
Mae Fah Luang Gardens: 6:30 am to 6:00 pm
Mae Fah Luang Arboretum: 7:00 am to 5:30 pm
What Else Can I Do There?
The Doi Tung Tree Top Walk
At the Mae Fah Luang Gardens, you can also find the Doi Tung Tree Top Walk, a 295-meter walkway among the trees of the gardens. A fun activity for the more adventurous types.
Cost: 150 THB p.p.
The Hall Of Inspiration
Next to the Mae Fah Luang Gardens is the Hall of Inspiration; an interactive exhibit built to honour the Royal Mahidol Family.
The exhibit shows off the great merits of the Mahidol Family and how they changed a nation.
The exhibition gives you goosebumps because it so perfectly highlights the amazing acts of love, service, and kindness from the Royal Family to their people.
The Doi Tung Royal Villa
This is the residence of the late Princess Mother. You can go and tour the grounds of where she lived and worked.
The Doi Tung Royal Villa is leased land that the Princess Mother lived on during her philanthropy in the area. She was offered the land, but refused ownership with the sentiment that she was not any more privileged than anyone else, as you cannot own land in a forest preserve.
How Do I Get There?
If you are in Chiang Rai for a day or more we suggest either renting a scooter or a car (as we did) from your hotel. We paid 1200 THB to rent a car for the day!
Make sure to have your International Driver’s License, it isn’t necessary to hire out transport but may come in handy if pulled over by law enforcement.
X Marks The Spot
Mae Fah Luang Arboretum
Mae Fah Luang Gardens
More Transport Options
If you are planning on travelling further than Chiang Rai, another super cheap and reliable way to get around Thailand (and most of Southeast Asia) is to use a company called 12Go Asia. We have booked through them many times and have always arrived safely at our destinations.
What Else Can I Do In Chiang Rai?
We have a blog post up showing exactly what we decided to do on our trip to Chiang Rai. We had just over a day here and this is what we got up to.
Chiang Rai has so much more to offer, we really suggest spending some more time here if you are able to!
A Video Of Chiang Rai
This is a short video we made of our travels through Chiang Rai!
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Have you visited any of these attractions? Which was your favourite? Or are you still planning your trip? What’s got you most excited? Let’s chat!
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