Day 5: Doi Suthep
It was my Birthday today! I had a nice day... Drove the scooter to Doi Suthep. It was beautiful. The weather was lovely, a little chilly. The drive was so good- great weather and very scenic. Doi Suthep is a national park in a hilly area, with the main attraction being the Doi Suthep temple. The park itself has other things to see, including more temples, waterfalls, and trails.
My first stop was the Wat Pa Lat monatery… It was a simple monastery in a thick jungle. There were beautiful streams flowing all around, and from one spot, you could see the whole of Chiang Mai from the hill. After that, I drove to the main Doi Suthep temple. It was really spectacular! As crowded and touristy as it was, it was still my favourite temple from this trip.
Everything was so bright and shiny. After spending an oddly peaceful half hour or so at the crowded temple, I got back on my bike for the next stop at Bhubing Palace. This was a total let down. There was nothing to see here apart from a bunch of rose gardens. After a quick coffee, I drove off to the start of the Doi Pui peak nature trail.
By this point, it had started raining. I decided to get started on the trail anyway, I had my raincoat with me in any case. It was actually pretty scary being alone on the trail in the rain and fog. The trail was about half hour long, and eventually I made it to the summit. By the time I got to the top, the weather cleared up completely, and I got an amazing view of all the surrounding areas! Felt awesome. High point of the trip, I would say.
Unfortunately, by later in the day I was feeling pretty low. I had not managed to find a single place that sold a chocolate pastry for my birthday, and had to make do with some fruit muesli instead.
After more mango sticky rice for dinner, I was back to my hostel.
Day 7: Doi Inthanon
By this point, I had worked up the courage to drive to Doi Inthanon. It was almost a 100km away! I did 200km of driving total that day. Wow! I managed the long drive just fine, the main highway was pretty good. Once within the national park, there was another 40km of driving inside! It was cold and windy and foggy near the top. Sadly, the Kew Mae Pan trail I wanted to do was closed for 5 months for the monsoons. That was a let down.
Still, it was a beautiful drive. The summit, “the highest point in Thailand”, didn’t have much to see. There was a trail at the top in a dense wooded mossy “cloud forest”.
I also stopped on the way to see the twin pagodas, which I barely caught a glimpse of through all the fog.
On the way back, the weather improved and I stopped at every single waterfall on the way.
After a quick coffee at the park exit, and a long drive later, I got back to my hostel super tired and sleepy.