In the 1940s after the Chinese Civil war, remnants of the losing nationalist army fled to this then remote area of Thailand and set up their own little enclave, supported by opium production. In the 1980s the Thai government integrated this enclave into Thai society and as part of the process introduced a policy of substituting opium production for growing tea.
Drive on highway 1089 between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The turn off is next to a police station. From here travel about 13km on some of the most amazingly curvy roads imaginable.
By Public Transport, take a Mai Sai heading bus from Chiang Rai Bus Station and get down at Pasang (approximately an hour, 25B), somewhere there's a junction which shows different directions for Mae Sai and Mae Salong, or simply ask the friendly bus conductor to inform where to get down.
There would be blue songtaews waiting at the T-juction for passengers going up mae salong. The songtaew charges 80B one way. After a 45 minutes ride, the songtaew will stop infront of a 7-11 shop at the mae salong town.
It is very convenient to rent a motorbike to wander around the hills and valley. Renting fee is about 200 baht per day. However, it comes with empty tank so need to re-fuel before any ride.
Sunflowers on Mae Salong
Phra Boromathat Chedi
The Martyr's Memorial Hall
Early November, yellow sun flowers blooming on the hills.
Late December/early Jan, sakura flowers will covered the hills.
Phra Boromathat Chedi is a chedi built on a hill near Mae Salong village, in honour of the late Princess Mother, Srinagarindra. To go there, someone sporty might ask for direction from a friendly villager and hike through steep stairway. One might also take a de tour around the hill on motorbike. The road, while sports breathtaking hilly views along Myanmar border, is windy and steep.
The Martyr's Memorial Hall is a tribute paid to the KMT settlers of Mae Salong, who fought and sacrified for Thailand in their struggle with communist. It exhibits history of their struggle, along with developments of Mae Salong throughout the years. One may go there with an easy, short ride on motorbike.
Tomb of General Tuan Xi-Wen locates at the end of a road beside a tea house with General Tuan's name. Some histories are available, in mandarin, though. There are some tea houses nearby, and one can enjoy spectacular view of Mae Salong there.
Excellent Tea. Local and Chinese.
Tea sets from China (the same set costs 8x as much in Hong Kong).
Chinese candies and fruits.
Yunnan noodle with bean gravy sold on Mae Salong.
Yunnan noodles (restaurant or morning market) with bean gravy;
Papa cake (baked glutinous rice with sweet or sour sesame fillings, outside morning market;
Soybean drinks with deep fried dough stick 油条 (morning market);
Bamboo worm for the braves. Deep fried and dried, it tastes like crispy cookie.
For backpackers, there are a few guesthouses available on the town.