Two companies in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai have recently won Gold Prizes for their two tea products at the World Green Tea Competition 2020, held in Shizuoka prefecture in Japan.
The two winning tea products are the Assam green tea, of 1×2 Ban Phayaprai Laoma tea factory. And the Oolong Khao Hang-Ngok tea, of Chart 101 Company.
Mr. Cherdchai Lasee, owner of 1×2 Ban Phayaprai Laoma tea factory, told Thai PBS that the tea samples entered for the competition are products normally consumed by the local people in Doi Phayaprai, a spacious 6,400 hectare mountainous area, which used to be where opium poppies were grown, but which is now covered by tea plantations. It is the largest tea planting area in Thailand.
He also said that the tea grown in Doi Phayaprai has its geographic identity associated with the unique aroma and flavour.
Out of more than 24,000 hectares of tea plantations in Thailand, more than 12,100 hectares are in Chiang Rai, earning several hundred million baht a year in foreign exchange for Thailand.
Hundreds of green, oolong and black teas were entered by tea producers from around the world for the competition this year. All entries included samples for evaluation and display.
Entry categories include loose leaf, tea bag, granule, beverage and others.
The categories for evaluation and scoring include packaging (concept, naming, packaging design and cost performance) and Quality of liquor (brewed aroma and brewed flavour). The awards are Grand Gold Medal, Gold Medal, Packaged Award and also a Consolation Prize.
Tea in Chiang Rai
If you love tea, visiting tea plantations in Chiang Rai will be one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. Though Chiang Rai isn’t the origin of some tea plants grown, tea plantations in Chiang rai are known for their high-quality products. Sure, you can buy tea in Bangkok or bigger cities, but going straight to the sources is better.
You can see firsthand how the tea comes to be as well as support the locals.
Thanks to its mountainous landscape and cooler climate, Chiang Rai Thailand is the ideal place for tea plants. Other than Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son which have their own tea plantations.
Top 5 Tea Plantations in Thailand (Northern Thailand)
1. Wawee Tea Plantation in Chiang Rai
Over 30 years ago, Wawee Tea Plantation was the first Thai tea plantation to grow oolong tea. Located on picturesque Doi Wawee, the plantation produces Taiwanese tea like Ching Ching no. 12 and no. 13 and also Assam tea and local tea. Apart from tracing the origin of Thai oolong tea, you can see the local life of Chin Haw people (Chinese who migrated from Yunnan to Thailand via Myanmar and Laos). Their village is on Doi Wawee and tea planting is their way of life.
2. Choui Fong Tea Plantation in Chiang Rai
When you look for something to quench your thirst at 7-Eleven or supermarkets in Thailand, you’ll find a vast array of tea brands such as Oishi, Ichitan, Lipton, Unif and Malee. The tea leaves behind all these famous brands come from Choui Fong Tea Plantation. But if you taste Choui Fong tea at the source, it’s going to be a different story. An even more delicious story.
Going strong for over 40 years, Choui Fong Tea Plantation is the biggest and arguably the most beautiful tea plantation in Chiang Rai. There are two branches, one in Mae Fah Luang and the other in Mae Chan, the latter being over 1 square meters large. The tea plants are grown on descending hills and if you visit the Mae Chan branch, don’t miss its on-site restaurant. Sit on the terrace overlooking the tea lots, slurp green tea smoothie and savor other tea-based desserts like green tea tiramisu. Sounds like a sweet day already.
Sip your way through your Chiang Rai trip at the Choui Fong tea plantation and visit the famous White Temple with our Local Expert here.
Interested but staying in Chiang Mai? No worries. Your Local Expert will happily pick you up from your hotel.
3. Singha Park (Boon Rawd Farm) in Chiang Rai
Singha Park is a property of Boon Rawd Brewery. Yes, the manufacturer of the famed Singha Beer. But the park is all about agro-tourism and you’ll find fruit orchards, vegetable farms, flower fields, tea plantations and family attractions. It also hosts many events ranging from music festivals to cycling events as well as Singha Park International Balloon Fiesta (every February).
Don’t visit Singha Park without tasting their farmfresh produce and good food and drinks. Their oolong tea no. 12 is one of their best products. If you prefer it cool and sweet, try bubble oolong tea.
Discover the breezy and verdant world of Singha Park and the must-visit Blue Temple here. The bonus is that your Local Expert will also happily pick you up from your hotel in Chiang Mai area.
Or you can opt for a combination of a Singha Park tea plantation and the equally stunning White Temple here. What’s more is that you will get the chance to savor authentic Northern Thai food while you’re in Chiang Rai. Sounds like a chance you just can’t miss!
4. 101 Tea Plantation in Chiang Rai
Doi Mae Salong is home to some tea plantations and all of them offer top-notch tea. However, the tea that hit the world’s stage and also won the first place came from 101 Tea Plantation. Having placed first at the World Tea Festival in 2004 for their oolong tea no. 12 and no. 17, 101 Tea Plantation is rightfully famous. Fortunately, the mountain remains blissfully calm. Sipping hot tea in such a dreamy location… Heavenly. Their Four Season tea and herbal tea are also well-known.
101 Tea Plantation has an interesting history. The family of the founder is Taiwanese and they have been harvesting tea for generations. The company also involves in the royal initiative to help the hill tribes. Previously growing and trading opiums, the hill tribes in the area are now working in the tea plantation and have a better quality of life.
Khun Nattamon, our Local Expert in Chiang Rai is always more than happy to show you an exclusive tea plantations trail which include 101 Tea Plantation and the previously mentioned Choui Fong Tea Plantation. Tea lovers, this is your chance!
5. Ban Rak Thai in Mae Hong Son
This is not a Chinese movie set. Situated near the stunning reservoir Pang Oung, Ban Rak Thai is a Thai-Chinese village founded by Kuo Min Tang soldiers or Nationalists who migrated from Yunnan. In addition to Chinese-style charms, you’ll be awed by the beauty of tea plantations of the locals.
Some villagers open tea shops. Drinking Chinese tea is a must-do and there’s one more thing you mustn’t miss. Try Yunnan-style stewed pork leg, which is eaten with buns. It’s Ban Rak Thai’s specialty.
In addition to the lush and aromatic tea plantations, Chiang Rai also charms travelers with the White, Black and Blue temples, tantalizing Northern Thai cuisine and friendly locals. Discover more things to do in Chiang Rai click here.