Thai tea. The province of Chiang Rai is one of the most beautiful Northern provinces of Thailand. Still very much unspoilt by development, the main industry being agriculture and ecotourism. The mountainous landscape with flowing rivers and valleys makes it the ideal location for premium tea growing. You can do a day trip to Chiang Rai tea plantations on your own or with a travel advisor.
Choui Fong Tea plantation boasts a half century of tea knowledge and some of the best tea products in Thailand, many of which have won accolades of awards rivalling even those from China, Japan or India. The plantation produces several different types of teas from green tea, the traditional Chinese Oolong, Pu Err and more including the famous Matcha green tea powder. Highly trained tea pickers, skilled in picking the right types of leaves and world class production methods combined with traditional blending techniques is what makes Choui Fong teas one of the best in the world with a steady and increasing list of clientele locally and internationally.
However, what really catches the eye and senses is not just the tea products. The 6km drive into the plantation site is in itself anadventure typical of Chiang Rai. Passing small villages, light forestation before the horizon opens up to a beautiful valley of undulating hills filled with lively green shrubbery of healthy tea plants. The refreshing smell of fresh tea leaves growing and carried by the cool mountain air means you should at least try driving up there with your car windows down!
We went rather late in the evening so we managed to catch the setting sun in the mountains and this means you get a beautiful view of the hill tops in all hues of red, gold, yellow and blues. At the first view point it was a splendid view of the main entrance from the road and the lower valley sections. We caught a lone cyclist making his way through the winding uphill road and wondered if he was going to ride all the way in which was a good 5 or maybe 6 more kilometres in. The first thought is that he must have great stamina to do that.
There is a second view point a little further in, also uphill and a place for you to actually take a walk down to the plantation itself where the tea shrubs are growing but please, Do Not Pick the Tea Leaves! You will find plenty of these notices posted around, keep your hands to yourself here. Some great pictures can be taken at this spot and you can have a closer look at the tea plants which are very fascinating because they are all grown to a standard height and only a certain quality of tea shoots are hand plucked.
Thai tea. Choui fong tea Chiang Rai
Further in, which we did not manage to make it in time as it was closing hour, is the tea production section which has vats for processing the tea. There are also drying rooms with shelves of tea leaves in the process of being air dried. If you like, you can try their teas at the tea shop where you can also browse for souvenirs and in-house tea products.
Taking this tour to Choui Fong Tea Plantation was a welcome change from other forms of city tourism and there is always something new to learn everyday like which is the best way to prepare teas!
Spend a holiday in Chiang Rai and discover the diversity of a natural form of tourism that is both refreshing and gives your senses a back-to-nature feel that will recitalist you before heading back to the city life!