The Samoeng Loop is in Chiang Mai Province in northern Thailand. It is a 100km circuit that starts and ends in the city of Chiang Mai. Its winding road into the mountains northwest of Chiang Mai is highly popular with both bicyclists and motorcyclists. With a population of 24,000 with hill tribes such as the Karen, Lisu and Lu working on the agricultural fields.
Located in a valley west of Chiang Mai, the only access to this district is via narrow, winding roads lined on both sides by farms. The route is fairly straightforward and roughly an hour away from the main city.
Driving through the Samoeng loop is a breath of fresh air and it’s scenic landscape with rolling hills. You will find many agricultural fields growing a variety of crops. Strawberries, gooseberries, passion fruit. A typical farm in these parts can produce more than 3,000kg of strawberries per rai per year, for which quantity wholesalers will pay around 120,000B. This is a high value yield crop, compared to the revenue earned by other crops.
The fruits raised in closed patches to protect them from insects and disease, farmers began catering to tourists once they realised the potential for money, many signs are erected in the Samoeng area where tourists can pick fruit for a modest fee. Retail prices for strawberries in Samoeng vary, ranging from 50B per kilogram all the way up to 250B/kg.
On the entrance of the strawberry farm are wooden go carts where you can have a race downhill for a small fee. These wooden go carts are a fun pastime for the young of the hill tribes. There are markets that sell a variety of clothing, fabrics and local handicrafts. The path is lined with plenty of fruit sellers walking through the strawberry patches there are a variety of different plants and garden. Further up the mountains towards the peak is a camping site, we enquired to see if there were any camping spaces available but they were fully booked. The camping site overlooks the mountain range with a footpath.
A small restaurant is located up the hill, serving Thai food and seasonal dishes. There is a cafe with excellent coffee from the royal project. Highly recommend are the portobello mushrooms, the carrot cake is excellent and the best I’ve had in Thailand. We continued further up the mountains to see more farm areas. There are a large selection of guesthouses and hotels to choose, Nov – Feb are peak times so it is best to book in advance as rooms go quickly. The guesthouses and hotels blend in with the environment, developers having been considerate to the landscape while using using sustainable building materials.
Spending the weekend in Samoeng is a breath of fresh air and anyone who wants to get out of the city. The list of strawberry farms:
- Suan Doi Kaew Strawberry Farm
- Nop Phu Fha Strawberry Farm
- Maejo 72 Strawberry Farm