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Our Day in Mae Salong

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Colorado
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Our Day in Mae Salong

I have been trying to finish my trip reports from my January 2013 trip, but all those every day events, like work, keep delaying me.

Here is one more post regarding our time in Mae Salong after we visited the Lisu hilltribe kindergarten (which was in a prior post).

After doing a lot of bargaining at the local day market, and having more bags than we could carry (good thing we had Jermsak to carry them to the van), we sat in one of the little tea shops and sampled tea and snacks for about an hour.

We then spent an amazing night at Little Home Guesthouse, which started with us sitting on the big wooden chairs on the front porch of our bungalows, while the staff ran cold beer up to us. After enjoying the beautiful flowers surrounding the bungalows, as well as our beer, we set out to the Mae Salong Villa where we ate at the Chinese restaurant that overlooks the city. Fabulous food and very attentive staff and owner...but no white wine.

We dropped off or laundry at the local family laundry where we all had our laundry done for about $2USD per person.

The next day we awoke in the quiet darkness of a morning in the mountain of Mae Salong, where we rolled out of bed and made our way down to the morning market to sit on tiny plastic stools on the narrow alley street while we drank coffee and ate freshly made donut-like pastries as we watched the locals stroll by the vendors to purchase their vegetables and meat for the day. When the monks came by with their alms bowls collecting their daily food, we each offered sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf and received a blessing. When the monks had finished blessing us in Thai, one of them, in perfect English, said, “I wish you all many blessings in the new year.” We were all quite touched by the event.

I have been coming to Mae Salong for quite some time now, and it seems that the 718 steps to the top of the mountain where the King Mother’s Shrine sits used to be a quicker walk for me, but fortunately, several of my travel companions preferred to take the walk up the forested steps at a more leisurely pace. Once at the top, we enjoyed the breathtaking panoramic view, which was the same view the King’s Mother sought when she built the home in which she desired to spend her final days and where portions of her ashes now rest.

Back to Little Home where we had a lovely local breakfast and prepared to say good-bye to our attentive and kind hosts.

We also had found a wonderful new wine/coffee/tea shop in town called “Poosalong’s” where we enjoyed free wireless, great dessert, wine and where we bought bags of coffee and tea to take home.

I hope to plan to spend more than one overnight at Mae Salong on my next trip, as I find this part of Thailand to be stunningly beautiful and I love the charm of this little town. I think I could spend a month here, as I find it such a peaceful and tranquil place.

Broder

Edited: 12:56 am, February 12, 2013
Fort Collins...
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1. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Thank you for this lovely review! It's so great to read the detail!

Loveland
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2. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

So glad to hear about the new coffee/wine/tea shop in Mae Salong! Thanks for the great review.

Florida
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3. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Thanks Broder

We also loved Mae Salong and your visit brought back wonderful memories of our stay not so long ago.

We visited some of the little shops and bargained with the locals and then went to Mae Salong Villa for a delicious dinner. The morning market was an adventure (we also had some coffee, "donuts" along with a warm "sugar pancake")

The 719 steps left some of our group breathless with sore calf's but the Kings Mothers Shrine was beautiful. We did visit the local tea plantation (Mae Salong 101) and had a nice tasting.

Lovely spot in Thailand and a quaint town worth visiting.

Iowa City, Iowa
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4. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Mae Salong is one of my favorites. We stay at Little Home Guest House near the morning market. The small coffee and tea houses are a delight. The monks from the local monastery will bless you as you sit in the morning market . I will return to Mae Salong many times.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Like many travelers, Mae Salong is one of my favorite places to go. I prefer the laid back, quiet pace of the town and enjoy the wonderful scenery and spots to visit in the area. It wouldn't be right if you don't spend some time at the tea shop sampling many of the marvelous teas she had. It is a most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. I wanted to get to My Sweet MaeSalong coffee shop but we didn't make it. Has anyone been there? Can you tell me what it is like?

Hamzy

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6. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Thank you Broder. I am very interested in Mae Salong as we are planning on driving there and staying overnight. What time in the morning did you head to the morning market? That sounds so great and we'd love to do that. Are planning an overnight stay but now wondering if that's long enough??

What do you think?

Thanks MCG

Colorado
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7. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

MCG:

I always enjoy finding you on the Chaing Rai forum.

Whenever we have been in Mae Salong we all meet up in front of the Little Home Guest House at 6 a.m. to go to the morning market (which starts about 10 meters away.) It seems to be a perfect time. We can still get stools at the coffee stand, the activity is starting to bustle and it is early enough that after the market we can go have breakfast prior to walking the 718 steps to the King's Mother's shrine (which you need to do before it gets too hot).

I think you could go to the morning market as late as 7 a.m. and still catch all of the action, but by 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. they are starting to shut down, as this is truly a local morning market, as opposed to a tourist market.

Every time I have spent just one night in Mae Salong (which has been my last few trips) everyone in the group says they wish we had another day. I plan to spend two nights next trip. But, if you have a lot of other places you want to visit, one night in Mae Salong will do.

Do remember that this is a small town without a lot of night life. But it is a little peace of heaven on earth.

Safe Travels,

Broder

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Thank you, Broder, for a lovely report. It makes planning for our couple of days in Mae Salong so enjoyable and I know we're going to love it. We will make our way to MS, have an afternoon, then a full day in MS, then the following day Jermsak will pick us up and take us on a tour for the morning, then drive us to Chiang Khong for the slow boat. As we don't have Jermsak with us for our one full day, is there anything that you would recommend as a 'must do' for that day? Also, we won't have our own car or bikes, so I'm wondering how easy it is to get around. Are there tuk-tuks or other taxi type drivers around, or should we try to organise another guide for that day?

Thanks for your advice!

Sally (spopey)

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9. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Hi Sally:

It is easy to get around in Mae Salong, as you can walk many places. You would likely need a driver to get out to the hilltribes or the tea plantation, but you could probably have the guesthouse where you are staying arrange one for you. The owner of Little Home gave us a walking map and it has a trail one can take to visit hilltribes and other sites that are outside of town, but it was an all day adventure and a long trek.

I would suggest on the day you are by yourself that you wake up early and to to the local morning market which is in the center of town, then have breakfast and then do the climb to the top of the King Mother's Shrine before it gets too hot. The start of the steps to the shrine is only about 1/3 of a mile from the morning market. After taking a rest, perhaps walk over to the day market, which is about 3/4 of a mile from Little Home (which is at the center of town). You could also go to the Chinese War museum on the same day as it is all self explanatory and in English.

I tend to like time to just wander the streets and stop at the different tea and coffee shops. The owners of these various shops will spend an hour serving you different tea samples and showing you around their stores.

I've only eaten dinners at Mae Salong Villa and Little Home, so if you try somewhere new, be sure to let us know.

Safe Travels,

Broder

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Our Day in Mae Salong

Thanks Broder,

That sounds very good, and much as I thought. We'll be staying at the Little Home too, which sounds great (the big wooden chairs outside the bungalows and the cold beer do it for me!), and well located. I think we'll do as you suggest - wander around visiting tea shops after the morning market and climb.

S