Visiting Rai Boon Rawd in Chiang Rai ...

Having made plans for the day, I took it as a none-too-favorable omen, to find first thing in the morning a flat tire on the truck.  I had little option but to get out the bicycle pump and get to work, hoping the tire would hold air long enough to get to a shop.  The first hundred or so strokes seemed to produce no results but as the number exceeded five hundred I knew I was getting close to being able to drive the twelve kilometers into Phaya Mengrai to a repair shop.  Later in the day I found myself wondering why my neck and shoulders were so sore.

Back on target for a family day out, we picked up her younger sister and found her niece had decided to join us as well.  At the tire shop they found a tiny piece of metal that could only be removed from the inside as it was not even visible from the outside.  Patch in place, we were good to go and heading to town.

Rai Boon Rawd was to be our first stop for lunch and a little sightseeing.  Boon Rawd Brewery, the maker of all things Singha, is known for purchasing large parcels of land around the country with some of its excess cash.  Since it is not on our route to town, we had not made the side trip necessary to get there, previously.  For us it makes more sense to take the main highway out of town to the White Temple, taking that road across to the old Chiang Mai Road where the entrance is easy to find. 

Though open to the public for less than a year, this property of over 8000 rai, has been around since the early 80s.  Aside from the restaurant, the surrounding tea plantation and reservoirs are the most picturesque, but there is also rubber, rice, strawberries, flowers, barley and tomatoes, depending on the season of course.

The four of us had a lovely lunch with a mix of Western and Thai food, which everyone seemed enjoy.  Before heading to our next stop, we decided to take a drive out through the hills and to inspect the tea plantation up close.  The dirt trails were better suited for a mountain bike but we all survived our bumpy ride in the truck and got some great pictures.  A screaming kid does seem to add to the trill ride effect of an off road track.
The view out front in the parking lot.

Front view.

Inside view of the restaurant.

Back view.

Back view.

The far mountain is Doi Chaang of the coffee fame and visible from the restaurant.

Finding our way to our next stop was not as easy as we had hoped.  It took several phone calls and roadside stops before we found our way to a small resort my wife’s friend is developing, on what turns out to be the fringes of Rai Boon Rawd.  We even found there was a dirt trail that led directly back out to where we had been just minutes before.

After showing us around her place, our friend took us back out into the tea plantation to a hilltop view and a reservoir we had missed.  All the while she explained that the area is also being developed for both argo-tourism and mountain biking, with plans to host and international mountain bike race in the not too distant future.  With a little tweaking of the trails I can see it being a very good venue for such an event.

An inside view of the dining area at our friend's place.

Looking back at her place from their pond.

As a special treat our friend took us to where she works, for a tour of the grounds at Pa Sak Tong, a resort which bills itself as a luxury six star villa with breathtaking views and an all inclusive package that ranges north of 40,000 baht per night for two people.  They have yet to open for the winter season so the buildings were not open but the grounds were impressive enough to keep me busy shooting pictures for some time.  For better images and more complete information on what they provide, please visit their website at

In spite of the inauspicious beginning to the day, we ended up having a lovely time and got to explore even more of this beautiful place we live in.