POINTS OF INTEREST
The summer residence of the royal family is a serene mansion that shares an exquisitely landscaped park with the more modest mountain retreats of the crown prince and princess. The palace itself cannot be visited, but the gardens are open to the public. Flower enthusiasts swoon at the sight of the roses—among the blooms is a variety created by the king himself. A rough, unpaved road to the left of the palace brings you after 4 km (2½ mile) to a village called Doi Pui Meo, where many of the Hmong women are busy creating finely worked textiles (the songthaew return fare there is B300). On the mountainside above the village are two tiny museums documenting hill tribe life and the opium trade.