Nestled on an intricate mountain range in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai is Pha Mee, inhabited by the Thai hill tribes of Akha ethnicity.
Formerly, the village was part of Thailand’s largest opium growing area. But since King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s visit to these villages in 1970, all the opium plantations have been transformed into coffee plantations. Today, the region boasts over 12 coffee shops and 15 homestays all operated by the locals.
In fact, Doi Pha Hee – Edging the Thai-Burmese border at the northernmost corner of Chiang Rai, Doi Pha Hee has become a sensation of late among cafe hoppers when the community converted their spaces into cafes, lining the viewpoint areas overlooking the green mountainous layers and the neighbours next door.
Located at an altitude of 1,200 metres above sea level, Pha Mee is ideal for the cultivation of high-quality Arabica berries. To conserve the environment, local growers plant their coffee together with other native trees. Anyone visiting the villages during the coffee harvest season, which is in December, can relish the rich Arabica aroma that fills the entire valley.
Besides the reputation and pride as coffee-growing communities, Pha Mee also offer a range of other attractions. A nature trail winding through the fertile forest is a perfect challenge to adventurers seeking a close experience with nature.
The Akha hill tribe where abundant culture, simple tribal way of life, and natural resource still exist and wait for traveler to experience. You can discover Pha Mee, immerse in the long-cherished culture by doing and learning, sip hot coffee, feel the cold spreading throughout the year, try local food & fruits, and appreciate the stunning views.