Doi Saket is a district in the eastern part of Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand. It was named after the mountain of Doi Saket, a 1,816-meter (5,958 foot) high mountain that’s part of the Khun Tan Mountain Range, great for weekend bikers and trekkers. It looms on the East side of the district. Doi Saket is a quiet district that focuses mostly on farming. Their lands have big plotted rice fields and orchards, a good part of its charm. There are plenty of reservoirs here where you can go fishing and boating, and there are also plenty of hot springs, dams, zip line parks, and handicraft areas.
There are very few structural obstructions other than in the village where you can pass the typical Tesco Lotus or 7-Eleven. The biggest building is probably the main market where fresh produce is constantly brought all day. If you’re up for a fun day out of Chiang Mai, head on to this area. You’ll be sure to find a lot of surprises. You can reach this area via a 30-minute drive from the Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai.
Here are a few places to check out while you’re in Doi Saket:
1. Go organic at Da's Organic Farm Hut Thai Cooking School
Da is an enigmatic teacher. You’ll be learning about different dishes from him in his organic farm and outdoor kitchen. The farm was passed down to him from his parents, and has been with his family for generations. The cooking class will start with a local market tour with Da, where he’ll show you the ingredients of a typical Thai dish. The nearby wet market offers fruits, vegetables, meats, and other spices. You may also opt to buy ingredients there.
After which, you’ll go back to the farm for a tour of the garden, picking fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the trip including tomatoes, bananas, papayas, pineapples, green beans, mushrooms, and basil. You’ll then proceed to the outdoor kitchen where you’ll be cooking a 4-course Thai dinner from scratch. As a goodbye gesture, you’ll engage in a lantern lighting ceremony with fellow guests.
Da's Organic Farm Hut Thai Cooking School
Address: 5/1 Moo 2, Baan Sun Thon Muang Nuea, T.Samranrat A.Doi Saket, Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
2. Visit an English garden in the tropics at Tweechol Botanic Gardens
Tweechol Botanic Gardens is a botanic garden resort, which is not a term that you can use quite often, but in this case, it is perhaps the most accurate description of Tweechol. The resort was started by husband and wife, Tweesackdi and Chalang Sesaweech. Their dream was to somehow create a place that would relive the Lanna people’s culture, and the result is a well-landscaped building with wild orchids, bromeliads, ferns, anthuriums, cacti, and succulents.
Their museum also features photographs of a Lanna Princess, Princess Dara Rassameee, along with silverware and lacquerware during that time. They have a manmade waterfall with tropical plants, a lake where you can go pedal boating and about 107 species of palm trees. The most picturesque part though are the topiaries shaped into dinosaurs, giraffes, camels, rhinos, and birds. They also have their own petting zoo, an organic farm, a riding arena, and several camping areas.
Tweechol Botanic Gardens
Address: Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
Website: Tweechol Botanic Gardens
3. Check out the "Flowering Blessing of the Mountain", Wat Phra That Doi Saket
Also known as Doi Saket Temple, this wat is an ornate architectural wonder similar to Doi Suthep Temple, only smaller. There is a steep flight of stairs leading to the temple, and at the peak is a giant golden sitting Buddha, or Phra Buddha Pathimakorn. There are murals on the walls that took four years to paint. What makes them different is that they’re done in the modern renderings rather than in the traditional visual display unique to Thailand. The grounds of the temple have a monastic school. Buddha is said to have visited this temple to offer his hair, and then later disappeared.
Doi Saket Temple
Address: Choeng Doi, Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
Website: Doi Saket Temple
4. Feel ceramic love at Chiangmai Celadon
Chiangmai Celadon is a brand of glazed ceramics. If you’d like to browse through the artist collection, or even try to make it yourself, then head on to their showroom to get your fix of dinnerware, home decor, gifts, and souvenirs. The owner, Khun Tassanee, has been doing pottery for over 25 years. The employees or sometimes, Tassanee, will offer cultural tours to those interested in Chiangmai Celadon Art.
Address: 135/4 หมู่ 6 ถ. ดอยสะเก็ด-บ่อสร้าง ป่าป้อง ดอยสะเก็ด Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
Website: ChiangMai Celadon
5. Levitate (or at least feel like it) with Balloon Adventure Thailand
Going on a hot air balloon is a one-of-a-kind experience. It changes your perspective, literally. Flying over Doi Saket will give you the opportunity to see its historical and cultural sites from the air. It is especially momentous when you time it during sunrise or sunset when the Chiang Mai landscape is bathed in yellow light.
Balloon Adventure Thailand
Address: 200 ถนน โยธาธิการ เชียงใหม่ 2008 Choeng Doi, Doi Saket District, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
Website: Balloon Adventure Thailand
Doi Saket is really the microcosm of a typical Thai village. As a fun trivia, Doi Saket is the oldest coffee growing area in Thailand, although it still hasn’t seemed to have found a way to showcase that to tourists. Coffee was used as a substitute crop to opium which was banned by the king in the 70s. The government and private institutions are also trying to transform some parts of Doi Saket into high-value producers. All in all, the future is bright for the people of Doi Saket. We may be hearing about more action from this district soon. In the meantime though, enjoy the silence and solitude it brings. And let’s not forget, it’s just 30 minutes away from Chiang Mai, quite strategic if you want to have a quick getaway. See you there!
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