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Tea plantation in Chiangmai

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View Cha orchard on orachos's travel map.

The semester ended in early October. I didn't finish grading before this trip, but decided to join the senior students in the agribusiness program to learn about tea business. We took a train from Bangkok to Chiangmai for almost twelve hours. Sleeping on it wasn't bad, but the bathroom....hmmmm.

We toured the city a little bit after the arrival. Chiangmai is one of the largest cities in the North. It has a different culture than other parts of the country, but very interesting. Much of the influences are from China and Myanmar. I learned much about tea production. There are mainly three types by processing: green tea, Chinese (Oolong) tea, and Western black tea (e.g. Earl Grey, English breakfast). Major differences are due to the fermentation after picking. Green tea requires no fermentation so they normally pick the very top of the shoots (no more than three leaves). The other two types require fermentation which will turn the color from green to brown (normally the top five leaves are used). The longer the fermentation, the darker the color of the tea. Chinese tea is normally dried whole leaves so when boiled in water, the leaves will spread out. Western black tea will be shredded so it became tiny particles and then specially blended into different kinds.

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We spent the nights at Doi Chiang Dow which is one of the mountains where hill tribes are living. These area used to grow opium, but after the development by the royal projects, most hill tribes are now growing tea, coffee, vegetables, and flowers suitable for the upland area.

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We visited a hill tribe school in Mae Tang district, just right in the mountain. It starts from kinder garden to grade eight. Only one class in each grade. All students are "Lahu" tribal kids. They normally wear the tribal costume on Friday, but that day was a special reception for us. All of them dressed up in local costumes. Surprisingly the education (from what I observed) are equally as good as in the city. This school won the competition in the province although it was located in such a remote area. I saw one of their art exam for grade seventh, I don't think I can answer most of the questions.

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Hope you come to enjoy the nature and the culture of Northern Thailand sometimes.

Ora

Posted by orachos 09:58 Archived in Thailand Tagged ecotourism

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