While viewers of Thai Cave Rescue (ถ้ำหลวง: ภารกิจแห่งความหวัง), a limited series by Netflix, typically find themselves gripped by the rescue mission to save the thirteen lives of the “Wild Boars,” a small football team from Chiang Rai Province, many were so enthralled by the natural wonders of the area where the rescue took place that they feel compelled to visit Chiang Rai once in their lives, especially to experience the almost untouched nature of this charmingly rustic province.
For tea drinkers who want to see the natural beauty of Chiang Rai, “Cha Phan Pi Forest Park” is a must-visit. This part of the forest is still very well preserved, including thousand-year-old tea trees.
“Cha Phan Pi Forest Park” or “Doi Cha Phan Pi” covers an area of about 4,500 rai (approximately 1,780 acres) and sits at 1,500 meters above sea level. It is located in the village of Ban Mai Pattana, Wawee Subdistrict, Mae Suai District, Chiang Rai Province. Far off most tourists’ radar, this place still maintains its pure, peaceful, and beautiful nature, making it ideal for anyone who wants to get away from busy city life and recharge their batteries as they gaze upon the sea of stars at night and the sea of fog in the morning.
For those who want to visit this remote wilderness, you need to be prepared physically and bring your own camping gear. Apart from the visitors’ camping area and toilets, there is no accommodation and no modern comforts here.
The highlight of this forest park is the thousand-year-old tea trees or “Cha Phan Pi”, the oldest wild Assam tea trees in the country. Having been officially named “The Trees of Siam: Treasures of the Land” by the Ministry of Culture, several of these remarkable trees can be found in the area, with some even bigger than the same species in Simao District, Yunnan Province, China. As home to these ancient trees, the forest park has become an important nature and ecotourism attraction. It’s also perfect for trekking over Doi Wawee.
After seeing these ancient wild Assam tea trees, don’t forget to stop by Wawee Village to shop at local tea shops staffed by super friendly local people, whose ancestors came from Yunnan, China. The tea shops around here have become important stops for visitors to Doi Wawee as they shop for gifts and souvenirs or simply sip the teas and absorb the surrounding beauty. The tea plantation in Doi Wawee is also the first in Thailand, making it even more special and adding extra flavor to the stories visitors leave with.
Coming from Mae Suai District, use Mae Suai-Doi Chang Road, then turn left to Doi Chang Village before reaching Wawee Highland Agricultural Development Center. Then take a local road while keeping an eye out for a sign to Ban Mai Pattana village. The forest park is located to the west of the village. For more information, please contact Wawee Subdistrict Administrative Organization. Tel. 0 5360 2816 or email [email protected].