Get that perfect picture shot you have always dreamed about! Ban Pa Pong Piang is Chiang Mai’s best kept secret. It might be a bit complicated to get there but these rice terraces are one of the most photogenic spots in Thailand.
The small hamlet of Ban Pa Pong Piang is lost in the mountains of Doi Inthanon National Park, in an area called Mae Chaem. Peaceful Karen villages are located in this area and local guides can take you to explore their villages on bikes and learn about the Karen people’s simple lifestyle, which is comprised of weaving, farming, trekking and cooking.
Rice farming has long been part of the life in Mae Chaem. People grow sticky rice for home consumption and will sell the rice if there is an oversupply in stocks. Rice plays a significant role in local traditions. After the harvest, the grains are kept dry in teak barns. Before cooking the rice of the new harvest, the Mae Chaem people organise a merit-making ceremony when part of their rice stock as well as some rice-based sweets are donated to monks.
The view of these stunning rice terraces is best enjoyed with a cup of coffee in hand, which is perfect as the villages also grow their own Arabica. The best time to visit Ban Pa Pong Piang depends on what type of scenery you prefer. The rice plants reach their full length and greenness during July-September (the peak of rainy season). After this they turn into a glorious yellow-golden colour, when they are ready to be harvested in October.
There are many rice terraces pictures spots to be visited in the area. Pa Pong Piang is the most picturesque view but you will also get great shots from Ban Pha Mon, Nong Lom and Ban Mae Klang Luang villages. Best is to spend the night over in one of the villages and really take time to visit around. Local accommodations are limited, expect a basic room in a bamboo house, with simple bedding on the floor and a mosquito net. Bathrooms are in a separate shack, with no hot showers (about 500 Baht/person/night including two meals). Ban Pa Pong Piang is located about 70 kilometres from Chiang Mai city (2 hours drive). It is best to get there with a 4 wheels truck as there are no public transportation to the village and the last few kilometers are muddy trail. This destination is fast becoming popular with Thai tourists, but still little known to foreign visitors. It will soon become one of your best souvenirs from Thailand!
BAN PA PONG PIANG VILLAGE :
Mae Chaem.Chiang Mai (110 Km).