I’ve come to expect the finer things in life now being here in this hotel (I know it didn't take long) so I was rather taken aback when I found out there was no sushi for breakfast, how ever will I cope!
Today’s trip is to Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon and after a long, cramped and hot 1.5 hour drive we were finally there. The temperature is significantly cooler and I had to put on a jumper (Al of course did not and found it rather refreshing). So other than a sign telling you that you are at the top
and a couple of tourist shops there is nothing here so a quick trip back on the bus until we arrive at the royal monuments.
Two stupas were built on the highest mountain for the king and queen on their 60th birthday’s. Even though we aren’t much lower down the temperature is soaring once again. The view from here is beautiful and we take a walk around the gardens.
Further down the mountain we go until we reach a small market selling many dried fruits and handmade goods from the hill tribes, next stop is one of the many waterfalls which was very beautiful.
We’ve chosen a good time of year to see these as once they are mid way through the dry season they will not be as impressive. Next we stop for lunch, most of which was unfortunately too spicy for me and another girl on our table (so it wasn’t just me being a wuss). At the lunch stop was another waterfall and this was was even more impressive and enabled us to get some great pics of rainbows
and get really up close and wet which was lovely and refreshing.
Our final stop was another hill tribe village, this time it was the Karen tribe and this was more interesting than the first day as we got to see the ladies weaving the scarves by hand and learn more about how they grow the crops.
Back into town and after a quick pit stop we head straight back out to tick off a few more must see temples. We take a tuk tuk over to Wat Phra Singh and manage to catch the end of some sort of service where we can hear the monks singing.
Next we take a walk around a miniature garden full of buddhist proverbs and visit a few of the adjoining wats.
Still not sure inside one of them, as the light had faded fast, whether the monks sat meditating at the front were waxworks or real. They were blooming amazing waxworks if so but even monks can’t sit entirely still not blinking while tourists use camera flashes to take pictures can they?
We had another couple of temples we wanted to get to but we’d lost all the light now and presumed they would be closed but as it was on the way home we walked past anyway and turns out we were lucky enough that they were still open. The first Wat Pan Tao is an amazing wooden temple
and had a beautiful display of lanterns in the garden.
Finally we visit Wat Chedi Luang with lovely decorations hanging from the ceiling.
Having not had much to eat at lunch we decide to stay out rather than head back to the hotel before eating so we jump in a truck taxi and head for the river. We stop at an aptly named Riverside Restaurant which we have high expectations for given the number of people inside. We find a table on the veranda and settle in to the third mojito of the holiday (ranked in second place behind the poolside mojito currently but I’m holding out for some epic cocktails in both Ko Samui and Bangkok) and another beer. Our expectations were met and I enjoyed my first ever Pad Thai and Al’s favourite, Massaman curry.
After dinner we strolled back along the riverside and set our wishes off into the sky in a floating lantern.
Back at the night market we try our skills again bartering for a piece of artwork that had taken our fancy the previous night. Starting price was 3500 bhat and we haggle our way down to 2500 bhat, not sure we’ll have the room for it as it will be our second largest piece behind the one we got in Marrakech a few years ago, perhaps its time to get serious about building the extension.
Tomorrow we leave Chiang Mai and I’ll certainly have very fond memories of this place, from our luxury hotel (compared to the tents we were in last year anyway) to the friendliness and warmth of the people.
Highlights have definitely been the Sunday walking market and the elephant visit. Looking forward to our next stop in Ko Samui.