Bhubing Palace or Hmong Tribal village - Which one to pick for exploration along with Doi Suthep

While in Chiang Mai city of Thailand, you have plenty of things to do but according to the time you have one needs to make choices as per interest areas and kind of things available for exploration. Doi Suthep is one of the must visit places around Chiang Mai. By assuming that you would assuming Doi Suthep, this post is to help you identify what else can be explored on this route or part of the region. 

While visiting Doi Suthep, 2 other well marketed touristy places are Bhubing Palace and Hmong Tribal village. Along with Doi Suthep, one could either opt for Bhubing Palace, which is the Winter Residence of the Thai Royal Family, or Hmong Tribe village, who is no more a village and more of a touristy place. 

If you start comparing any of these options to Doi Suthep, that would disappoint you. So now it's more about how much time you have how you want to decide about choosing one of them or probably both. 

If you have rented your own vehicle, I would say do both because there is different character in both the places. When I say this I am assuming that you would have time and with your own vehicle you certainly save time and can plan in much better way.

Most of the tourism companies sell half day tours to Doi Suthep and then you can chose one of these options. When I was there, we chose Hmong Tribal village and as per my experience if I have rate it on the scale of 5, I would rate it 3. There is also a waterfall near the village but we skipped that as our guide didn't have good review of that. 

En route, our guide gave us some context about the tribe. Apparently this was a settlement of people from China who had settled here in the mountains after the second world war. The tribe started growing opium in the 1950s. Because of the high altitude, opium was one crop that could be grown easily and could fetch good money. In 1959, cultivation of opium became illegal in Thailand, but it still continued here in the hills. In 1969, King Bhumibol Adulyadej initiated a project to encourage the tribe to grow other cash crop and phase out the cultivation of opium. This, allegedly, gave the tribals a new lease of life. 

Bhubing Palace is ultimately a palace in Thai Architecture surrounded by beautiful garden. For me, it was not exciting because you see a lot in Thailand about the architecture in form of temples that you visit in different cities, so it's no different. In fact, being old it's charisma is not even close to some of the relatively newer things built in Thailand. And certainly garden is a usual stuff. 

So if you have to chose one of them, you know what to expect at these places. So decide accordingly. 


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