Doi Chang is a mountainous region located in Northern Thailand, known for its unique coffee production. The region was once a place of opium cultivation and trafficking, but now it’s a popular destination for coffee lovers and nature enthusiasts. The name “Doi Chang” means “Elephant Mountain” in Thai, and it’s easy to see why – the region’s lush green hills resemble the shape of an elephant’s back.
The coffee produced in Doi Chang is world-renowned for its unique flavor and aroma. The region’s high altitude, cool climate, and fertile soil provide the perfect conditions for growing high-quality coffee beans. Many coffee plantations and cafes can be found around the Lisu and Akha village of Baan Doi Chang, where visitors can enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee while taking in the stunning mountain views.
Aside from its coffee production, Doi Chang is also a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and camping. The region’s scenic roads and challenging terrain make it a favorite among road cyclists, with Doi Chang being considered one of the best road cycling climbs in Chiang Rai. Whether you’re a coffee aficionado or an outdoor enthusiast, Doi Chang is a must-visit destination in Northern Thailand.
History and Culture
The Story of Doi Chang
Doi Chang, located in the Chiang Rai province of Northern Thailand, was once a place of opium cultivation and trade. However, King Bhumibhol Adulyadej, also known as Rama 9, initiated a royal project to improve people’s livelihoods and reduce the illicit cultivation of drugs in the area. As a result, the hill tribe farmers of Doi Chang were encouraged to switch from opium cultivation to coffee farming.
Thanks to this project, Doi Chang is now known throughout Thailand for its world-class unique coffee. The Doi Chaang coffee brand, in particular, is the central success story in the commercialization of arabica coffee production in the Doi Chang district.
The Hill Tribe Farmers
The hill tribe farmers of Doi Chang are predominantly from the Akha and Lisu tribes. These tribes have their own unique cultures and traditions, which visitors can learn more about by visiting the hill tribe villages in the area.
In addition to coffee farming, the hill tribe farmers of Doi Chang also engage in other forms of agriculture such as rice cultivation and fruit tree planting. They also engage in handicrafts such as weaving and embroidery, which visitors can purchase as souvenirs.
Visitors can also visit the temple in Doi Chang, which is an important cultural and religious center for the hill tribe farmers. The temple is located in the forest and offers a peaceful and serene environment for visitors to enjoy.
Overall, the history and culture of Doi Chang is a fascinating and important part of Northern Thailand’s heritage. Visitors can learn more about this unique region by exploring the hill tribe villages, sampling the world-class coffee, and immersing themselves in the local culture.
Doi Chaang Coffee is grown in the Doi Chang Village, which sits at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,700 meters above sea level. The village has ideal soil conditions, cool dry winters, and most importantly, the conviction of the villagers to improve their livelihood. The villagers grow a variety of Arabica plants under a canopy of plum, peach, pear, and macadamia nut trees in altitudes between 1,200 and 1,600 meters above sea level.
Cultivation and Processing
Doi Chaang Coffee is Ethiopian Washed processed. Rich fertile soil, high elevations, and ample rainfall make Doi Chaang Village one of the premium coffee growing regions of the world. The coffee plants are grown using organic farming methods without pesticides or herbicides. The villagers handpick the ripe cherries, which are then washed and sun-dried on raised beds. The drying process takes approximately two weeks, and the beans are turned regularly to ensure even drying.
Doi Chaang Coffee is unique because it is grown and processed by the villagers who own the land. The villagers are shareholders in the Doi Chaang Coffee Co-op, which was established in 2003 to help them improve their livelihoods. The co-op has helped the villagers to gain knowledge and skills in coffee production, marketing, and on-site sales. The co-op also operates a coffee mill, which ensures that the coffee is of the highest quality.
The unique coffee produced by the villagers has won many awards, including the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) Coffee of the Year award in 2011. The coffee is known for its complex flavor profile, which includes notes of chocolate, caramel, and citrus. The coffee has a medium body and a bright acidity, making it a favorite among coffee connoisseurs.
In conclusion, Doi Chaang Coffee is a premium Arabica coffee grown and processed by the villagers of Doi Chang Village. The coffee is unique because it is grown and processed by the villagers who own the land. The villagers use organic farming methods and handpick the ripe cherries, which are then washed and sun-dried on raised beds. The coffee is known for its complex flavor profile, which includes notes of chocolate, caramel, and citrus. The coffee has a medium body and a bright acidity, making it a favorite among coffee connoisseurs.
Tourism and Accommodation
Doi Chang is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the beauty of the mountains and the unique culture of the Lisu and Akha villages. There are many activities and attractions in the area, including coffee tours, nut processing, value-add processing, and visits to winter plants. In this section, we will discuss some of the best tours and accommodation options in Doi Chang.
Tours and Cafes
One of the most popular activities in Doi Chang is visiting the coffee farms and cafes. Private tours are available, and visitors can learn about the process of growing and roasting coffee. Doi Chang Coffee Farm is a popular cafe perched above the main road as you approach the town. They have accommodation across the road (Doi Chang Coffee Farm House), and a farm/factory on the hillside above. Tours can be arranged, and prices are discounted for guests staying in their accommodation.
Leehu Coffee Farm is another popular coffee farm that offers tours. Visitors can learn about the process of growing and roasting coffee, and sample some of the best coffee in the region. Lee Soaw Macadamia is also a popular attraction that offers tours of their nut processing facility.
There are many accommodation options in Doi Chang, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Baan Doi Chang is a popular guesthouse that offers comfortable rooms and beautiful views of the mountains. The rooms are clean and well-maintained, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
For those who want to stay in a luxury resort, the Doi Chang Coffee Village is a great option. The resort offers beautiful rooms with stunning views of the mountains. The resort also has a restaurant that serves delicious food, and a spa that offers a range of treatments.
Overall, Doi Chang is a great destination for tourists who want to experience the beauty of Northern Thailand. Whether you want to learn about coffee production, explore the mountains, or relax in a luxury resort, there is something for everyone in Doi Chang.
Doi Chang is a must-visit destination for coffee lovers and those looking for a unique cultural experience in Northern Thailand. Located in the Chiang Rai Province, Doi Chang has a rich history as an area known for opium production and trade. However, in recent years, it has become famous for its high-quality coffee beans, which are grown in the region’s fertile soil and perfect weather conditions.
If you’re planning a trip to Doi Chang, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to visit during the coffee harvest season, which typically runs from November to February. During this time, you can see the coffee beans being harvested, processed, and roasted, and even try a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Another tip is to visit the Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang, which is located near Doi Chang. This research station was established by King Rama 9 and is dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. Here, you can learn about the different crops grown in the area, including coffee, and even take a guided tour of the facility.
Overall, Doi Chang is a unique destination that offers a fascinating blend of history, culture, and coffee. Whether you’re a coffee lover or just looking for a new travel experience, Doi Chang is definitely worth a visit.