The resort is ideally located in an area which allows us to provide guests with a wide range of experiences. It would not be exaggerating to suggest that even spending a week here would not give you enough time to enjoy all that we have to offer.
Activities at the resort
With access to the adjacent outdoor education centre, guests can enjoy a number of activities. These are led by qualified and experienced English speaking instructors using quality equipment.
Please select an activity below:
An indoor 6 metre abseil wall allows you to learn how to abseil under the watchful eyes of our instructors. This and other activities in our indoor facility also provides pleasant ‘entertainment’ in case of the rare wet day!
The centre has a 10 metre indoor “short range” which is perfect for groups of all ages and abilities. Our instructors can deliver structured sessions for 1 – 2 hours. The lessons involve the basics of how to shoot an arrow, aiming off, scoring as well as introducing many fun games to improve accuracy.
Our 14 metre climbing wall caters for beginner’s right up to experienced climbers. The bouldering wall is great for beginners, as well as a good warm up facility.
It has features including a slab, vertical and overhanging routes and offers the ability to bridge for those much needed rests. The different routes are colour coded, and offer grades from easy to hard. Our instructors are experienced and or qualified and our equipment is CE rated, all climbs are logged, and frequently replaced.
Set over a muddy pool of water is the confidence course, which is a series of obstacles designed to test each participant’s balance and skill. The chain walk, the rope swing, crossing the beam with a 360 turn and the monkey bars all present different challenges! One thing is certain – only the committed stay dry!
The indoor high ropes course has 11 different sections, with a variety of different challenges to test the skills and dexterity of the participants. Set in our adventure club and overseen by our instructors, this activity is great for evenings or to fill a few hours on one of those rare wet days.
A great activity for the children or the whole family. In the woodland adjacent to the resort, learn some basic bushcraft skills, such as how to light a fire with steel and flint, cook a simple meal without any man-made utensils and build a basic shelter with bamboo and grass.
Using inner tubes, bamboo poles and ropes, make yourself a raft and slowly paddle your way down the Maekok River. Stop on the sandbanks on the way for a short break, have a swim and then head back to resort in vehicles which will collect you and the raft further downstream.
The courses are conducted in a specially built teaching kitchen with 10 individual and fully-equipped cooking bays and one Chef’s station. Students gather around the Chef’s station for a tutorial and live demonstration of the dishes, then return to their own cooking bays to prepare the dishes themselves. The dishes can be eaten for lunch or dinner, with complimentary rice and mixed fruit for dessert.
The most popular choice is for students to enjoy a half-day (three dish) or whole day (six dish) class. However, it is possible to organise anything up to a six day course. Guests can freely choose which dishes they would like to learn.
Students are provided with a comprehensive recipe book to guide them during the course and which they can take away with them. On request, a complete range of some 60 or so recipes can be purchased – on a CD Rom – for just 100 Baht.
The cost is Baht 1,100 per station (max. two people) For an additional fee, our instructor can firstly take you to local market to look at all the various foodstuffs used in Thai cookery.
Offsite activities include a range of options suited to all ages and interests. Many are in the immediate area and others a bit further afield. Taking a few hours or a whole day, these activities will give you a great experience to remember.
Please select an activity below:
The resort is ideally located for those with a passing interest in birdlife, through to the serious ‘birders’.
The resort is surrounded by farmland (rice paddy etc), and has 100 metres of river frontage, with this bank and that opposite covered in natural vegetation of reeds, grasses and shrubs. These two environments mean that many different species can be observed just from the resort itself. Birdwatchers who have visited us in the past make sure they book the rooms nearest the river with unobstructed views. So far the species count has been impressive with several rare species identified. A recent guest who stayed for just a couple of days and was a casual spotter came up with some 30 plus species just within the immediate area of the resort. In addition, we can arrange for a boat to gently float downstream and perhaps catch sight of the rare Jerdon’s Bushchat!
What is also very special is that a drive of just 40 km up into the mountains, will find one at an altitude of 2000 metres in just over an hour. This particular area is right on the Burmese border and has only recently been opened up to visitors. The great beauty of the location is that firstly it is virtually undisturbed, and secondly a small road traverses a high ridge through the high altitude forest and which means that not only is access easy, but that the forest has been opened up, thus allowing much easier viewing. The usual frustration of forest spotting – of hearing but rarely seeing – is thus considerably reduced. A recent visit at the end of the rainy season which is by no means the best time to visit, yielded almost 50 species in the space of just 4 hours and included sunbirds, minivets, munias, treepies, orioles and a great sighting of a Peregrine Falcon.
The resort has four wheel drive vehicle which can be hired with a driver, or if unavailable, we can hire a suitable vehicle and driver locally.
For a report from a visit by one of the North’s most experienced birdwatchers, please click here.
We have high quality bikes which can be hired for half or full day. This allows you to really see rural life up close, and apart from a short journey on a main road, most of your cycling would take place on rural lanes and dirt tracks.
We also offer guided cycle trips for those who want to find out more about the area and also to make sure they do not get lost! (Also see kayaking)
Using ‘sit-on’ Feel Free kayaks, a typical session would take roughly 2 -3 hours. (For those with no experience, 30 minutes can be spent learning basic techniques and capsize drills on the resort pond.)
Guests are taken by vehicle a few kilometres up river to near the border with Myanmar and from there begin a leisurely journey down the Maekok River, taking in the sights of river bank life, the surrounding mountains and finishing the journey at the foot of “Sob Fang Hill”. Here, a vehicle will collect you and you return to the resort.
Alternatively, we can arrange lunch to be delivered to Sob Fang, and in the afternoon, our instructor can take you on a 25 km guided bike ride back to the resort, using quiet lanes and dirt roads.
Why not take a trek?
The area offers a range of treks to suit most ages and levels of fitness! The description of difficulty assumes a reasonable level of fitness.
- Half-day hikes
Code: Tr 1 / T1A (Easy)
Start at a Karen village and walk along a well made track through the hills where local hilltribe people work the land to produce rice and corn. The route passes through the Lahu village of Huay Pha Khaem, a village undergoing some modernizations, but which still reflects the Lahu way of life with its stilted houses made of wood, split bamboo and straw thatch. The route then passes through an interesting area of agriculture where you can see for yourself what hard work is needed to cultivate the land. The trek ends at the village of Pha Thai (about 2 to 2.5 hours) where either a vehicle will collect you, or instead, take a long-tailed boat for an hour’s trip up the Mae Kok River to return to the resort (T 1A).
Code Tr 2 (Easy to moderately difficult)
Take a vehicle to the Lahu village of Gaeng Tum set high above the valley. Spend some time looking around the village before walking down into a small valley which is intensively cultivated with rice, corn, garlic and fruit trees. A short ascent brings you into the temple complex of Wat Thaton. Walk up to the large Standing Buddha which has a platform allowing you to enjoy magnificent views across the Fang valley. Walk down to the valley floor, either along the road through the temple complex, visiting various Chedis and stupas on the way to the village of Thaton. This is a 2.5 hour walk.
- One-day treks
Code Tr 3 (Easy)
Take a long-tailed boat for a 1.5 hour trip to the Lahu hilltribe village of Pha Kwang. Disembark and start this picturesque hike along a good track which hugs the river and which ascends and descends over a few spurs. The Maekok River here is enclosed in a narrow very pretty, wooded valley with intermittent agricultural areas. There is plenty of interesting things to observe as the track passes through a few small riverside settlements before ending at the Lahu village of Pha Thai. Here your boat will be waiting to take you back to the resort.
Code: Tr 4 (Moderate to difficult)
This is one of, if not the best hikes in the area, taking in hill villages, a forest temple, walking through caves armed with torches, criss-crossing streams and winding up a narrow gorge, lunching next to a waterfall and passing through areas of rich tropical forest. Set in the national park of Pha Hom Phok, it thus covers a range of terrains and finishes at some hot springs where hikers can relax in a natural sauna or soak in a hot pool. Bring your swimming costume and towel! The trek takes 5 – 6 hours depending upon fitness. There are several steep sections – some requiring ropes and although of short duration, they do require a reasonable level of fitness. Narrow paths in other areas require sure footedness!!
Code: Tr 5 / Tr 5 A (Moderate)
The trek starts with a steep ascent along a dirt road (only usable in the dry season). After 45 minutes to an hour, enter the Akha hilltribe village of On Air. This is a classic Akha style village with stilted houses straddling a ridge in long linear form. Spend time looking around the village and seeing ‘village-life Akha style’. A narrow path takes you on a long descent down through land which shows all the classic signs of ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. Stop for lunch along the path and then continue to descend, passing through the Lahu village of Huay Pha Khaem on the way. A further hour and the trek ends at the village of Pha Thai where either a vehicle will collect you, or instead, take a long-tailed boat for an hour’s trip up the Mae Kok River to return to the resort (T 5A).
The M.R.V.R. is an ideal place to stay and to make tours throughout the region. The area is renowned for the cultural diversity and a local fascinating history. The area is populated by ‘northern’ Thais with a distinct culture, language and food, but also Chinese (ex-Kuomingtang and Jin Haw), Shan (from Burma) and a number of different hilltribes (mainly Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Karen).
With some notice and dependent on availability, and for those wishing to know more, the owner-managers would be happy to spend half an hour so chatting about the socio-cultural history of the area.
These tours will be subject to the availability of a guide.
- Half Day
TPa Kui and Wat Thaton: To 1
Take a vehicle for the 15 minute drive to the Lahu village of Pa Kui, set high in the hills to the west of here. This village has been established for about 40 years and even though it is now well connected to the valley below with a good road, is still relatively poor and has many traditional houses made with wooden poles, split bamboo and grass roofs. There is a small school which may or may not be open, electricity and some houses now are brick and tile. But on the whole, life has changed little in the village. The vehicle will then take you to the temple set above the valley – firstly to the Standing Buddha with its spectacular views into Myanmar to the west and the Fang /Maekok River valley to the east. After appreciating these views, visit Chedi Gaeow (The crystal/glass Chedi). The design is very interesting and there is also a very impressive collection of Buddha images from throughout Asia. The view from the level where a Buddha relic is housed is also pretty spectacular.
Mae Mok Cham and Pa Kui / Ban Nana Pao Code: To 2: To 2A
Take a long-tailed boat for about 30 minutes to the Shan riverside village of Mae Mok Cham. Walk through the village, visiting a typical Burmese temple, and a women’s weaving co-operative where the ladies produce lengths of cloth on foot-treadle looms. You can have a go yourself before buying a beautiful piece of cloth for an absolute bargain price (and so please no extra bargaining!) A vehicle will collect you and take you the Lahu village of Pa Kui for a short visit to this very typical village and then return to the resort. This poor village is slowly changing but has many typical houses and is still keeping some traditional ways of life.
Alternatively, you can go onto Ban Nana Pao (2A) before returning to the resort. Nana Pao is home to three different hilltribes , the Lahu, Akha and the famous Long-necked Karen. Some guests feel uncomfortable about visiting the village but in one stop you will get a chance to view the cultures of three groups of hilltribes.
Phu Muen Village and Waterfalls To 3
Drive south for about 15 km and then head up into the mountains which help form the border with Myanmar. Soon after leaving the main road, you will pass through an area of intense orange plantations before leaving the valley. The relatively recently opened road winds up through one of the few remaining areas of pristine forest. At an altitude of about 1300 metres is the Lahu hilltribe village of Phu Muen. It is a surprisingly well-developed village but worth wandering around and even to go into the local school. Head on back down the road and take a short diversion to the Phu Muen waterfall. The 300 metre walk passes through more original forest with spectacular clumps of bamboo, some of which are at least 30 metres high. The waterfall is very impressive and is in fact a series of falls. The path to the waterfall is well kept, but a steeper and less safe path can take you above the falls. But beware!!
- Half or Whole-Day
Ban Nana Pao and Mae Salong Code: To 4 / 4A
Ban Nana Pao, a 20 minute drive to the east, is home the three different hilltribes , the Lahu, Akha and the famous Long-necked Karen. Some guests feel uncomfortable about visiting the village but in one stop you will get a chance to view the cultures of three groups of hilltribes.
From Nana Pao, continue to climb to the small town of Mae Salong set high on a ridge at about 1100 metres asl. This is home to various generations of Chinese, the first of whom were the Nationalist Chinese (Kuomintang) who fled China in 1949 after the Communists took power. The KMT museum and mausoleum of General Tuan are worth a brief stop. There are also several hilltribes in the area and the various market stalls reveals this mix of cultures. These people are selling a whole range of products and many vegetables for example which you would never have encountered before.
The area is well known for growing tea, coffee and fruit which is usually sold in preserved form. These products were introduced as an alternative to growing opium which was widespread in the 1960s and 1970s.
Take your time wandering between the shops, sampling tea and fruit with no obligation to buy. A visit can be made to a tea plantation and to a temple located even higher than the town with magnificent views across the area. For those who want to make this a whole day excursion, you can extend your wanderings and have lunch in a Chinese restaurant and sample some typical Yunnanese food (TR2A)
*A brief history of Mae Salong is available from reception and worth reading before you go.
- Whole Day
Doi Ankhang Royal Project Code: To 5
Doi Ankhang is a mountainous area some 50 km to the south east. It is the location of one of several Royal Projects which are found across the region and which are aimed at assisting economic improvements of the minority groups. The project is located in a mountain bowl at an altitude of 1400 metres. The journey up is an experience in itself as vehicles manoeuvre around a number of steep hairpins. The views back across the valley you left behind are spectacular.
Even those with a vague and passing interest in horticulture cannot fail to be impressed by the project. Being so high, the temperate climate allows a whole range of fruit, vegetables and flowers to be grown in immaculately kept gardens. A very pleasant few hours can be spent walking around the project and in the winter it may even be necessary to have a sweater to keep out the chill. There is a very pleasant restaurant in the gardens serving food as well as very nice local coffee.
After visiting the project, drive up to the Burmese-Thai border where from an army base with bunkers and trenches, it is possible to look across to Burma – and even get a friendly wave from the Burmese soldiers who are just a few hundred yards away. Many years ago this was the scene of some serious fighting, but now the two sides co-exist peacefully, sometimes sharing meals and of course, playing the occasional game of football.
Mae Salong and Doi Tung Code: To 6
See TR 2. After Mae Salong drive for about 1 hour along a ridge top road with extensive views to valleys either side. Doi Tung is the home of a major development project which was carried out under the auspices of the mother of the King before her death in the mid 1990’s. The gardens are particularly attractive and make a delightful afternoon walk. There are various other nearby sites can be visited depending on your interest and the time.
The journey back is more straightforward, descending to Mae Chan in the Chiang Rai valley and then to the resort which will be reached after a further hour.
The Golden Triangle Code: To 7
Leave the resort early for the 1.5 hour journey to Mae Sai, the northern most point of Thailand where, if you wish, you can cross into Myanmar to the border town of Tachilek. (You will need to pay Baht 500 for your Myanmar visa.) Plenty of shopping opportunities here – but mainly for fake goods! However, there is a good duty free shop when leaving Myanmar. Be warned though…depending on your nationality/passport you may only get a 15 day visa on re-entering Thailand. Please ask at the border post before crossing as rules seem to change frequently and with little notice.
Travel onto Sob Ruak to the point where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet. Of course, this is a popular spot for tour groups, but nonetheless is interesting and atmospheric. You can take a boat trip on the Mekong River and even step into Laos for a brief visit.! An optional extra is a visit to the impressive Hall of Opium museum which explores the history of this drug and its derivatives in very well-presented and interesting way. It is well worth a visit. Entry fee is Baht 300. Travel back to the resort and an early evening arrival.
We have long-standing links with our local schools and have had many ‘gap year’ students spending two weeks to two months teaching English.
However, we can also arrange for our guests to spend half a day or a whole day doing the same. Advice and guidance is given as it is essential do some preparation, and a range of materials and teaching aids is available. Of course there is also the opportunity to play games and sports or indeed if any guest has a particular skill such as drama, music, IT, or a particular sport, it is easy for us to arrange an appropriate teaching session.
Since 2004, we have organized over 130 improvements projects in our local schools through our visiting (international) schools programme.
To find out more, click here.
It is likely that we will always have ongoing projects and if any guests would like to spend at least half a day assisting, we would be delighted organize this. Carrying out tasks such as laying concrete, brick laying, painting etc will all help toward the successful completion of the project.
Guests who have taken time out of their holiday to do this, often say this was their most memorable experience.