I had basically every day planned out on my trip to Thailand, except for one lone day. I could do whatever my heart desired. Well, if you’ve read some of my Hong Kong entries then you know how much I love to hike. I live in a crazy, congested city and need major time in nature to balance it out.
While I flipped through possible day tour options for my only, truly, empty day, I kept going back to a day excursion to Doi Inthanon National Park. It is just outside Chiang Mai and not only offered beautiful, springtime flowers, but also a chance to stand at the highest point in all of Thailand. I said yes.
The day started off at a number of different waterfalls. I am typically very unlucky when it comes to waterfalls and always seem to catch them during the dry season. I was, however, very blessed on this trip and all of the falls were strong and flowing with crisp, cool water. I even almost dropped my camera in the falls trying to snap a photo with my new gorilla pod. I made a mad dash for it and grabbed it just in time. I also saw a massive spider hanging in a web between two trees. It was a moment very reminiscent to an experience I had in Australia. I’m not a fan of any eight legged critters and quickly made my escape.
Next, we headed off to a small village in the park where we learned about the rice farms. Unfortunately, unless you come during the rainy season the farms are brown as opposed to vivid green. It was an interesting time, however, learning about the way of life of the native people and their history in weaving clothing.
After that we trekked up to the highest point in all of Thailand. This part was slightly disappointing to me because I had expected that we would be doing some serious hiking, but sadly that was not the case. We drove for most of the way and only had to walk up a short path to reach the summit. The highest point is still a relatively low 2,500 meters but it’s nice to say I’ve been there. The temperature went down significantly from the 41 degree Celsius in Chiang Mai to about 19 degrees. It was a breath of fresh air to say the least. There was a small shrine at the top and a tinsy, open-air museum about the wildlife found in the area.
Our final stop was the King and Queen Pagodas and Gardens which were created for the King and Queen’s wedding anniversary. These twin pagodas were quite awe inspiring and the surrounding gardens were spectacular. I was lucky, being there in spring, so I’m sure I was privy to some of the absolute best flowers. I was able to walk around the area for a little over and hour and had plenty of time to explore. The air was foggy which took away from the view but it was easy to focus on other beauty mere feet away. This day just happened to be Easter and I must admit it was a powerful church service to be surrounded by all the beauty that God had created. I’ll let the photos do the talking because no words could possibly do this place justice.
As a whole, this was a good day to slow down and take in the beautiful nature that is abundant in northern Thailand. This day involved a lot of walking and the natural beauty and unusual foliage made the heat totally worth it. Was it the most exciting day? Maybe not, but if you love flowers and want to get out of the city’s hustle and bustle then this is a great option. The park offers some unique experiences and is very well maintained. After experiencing Yosemite I think I may always be a bit of a National Park snob, but Doi Inthanon was definitely a lovely experience and one that I will continue to think back on fondly.