The Highest Point In Thailand
Today we got up early and decided to drive out of the city to Doi Inthanon National Park. The highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon can be found here and stands at 2565 meters.
It's an easy drive by car out to the National Park from Chiang Mai. Driving in the city is slightly different to outside the cities, but that would be true for most countries you go to. The main difference here is the number of mopeds and bikes to watch out for which weave in and out of the traffic.
When we arrived at the National Park, we visited Sirithan waterfall first, which was beautiful and then we head for the top of Doi Inthanon. When we reached the summit, we found that it has a much different climate to that we have become accustomed to in Thailand. We were actually freezing when we got up there and when we found a temperature gauge near the coffee shop, it read 9 degrees celcius, it felt much, much colder than that to us though, having been so warm since we've been here. We sat up there and enjoyed a hot chocolate each. There wasn't any spectacular view from the top as I had expected, just a giant sign announcing that it was the highest point in Thailand, so we stopped at a view point on the way back down to get some photos of some of the surrounding mountains.
We had spent quite a bit of time at the first waterfall and again at the summit and the view point just mooching around, so when we arrived at Wachirathan waterfall it was already coming on for late afternoon. This waterfall is hands down the most beautiful waterfall I've ever seen (to date). Water thunders over the top and cascades down a rock face into a swirling pool below as it then carries on it's journey down a series of smaller waterfalls – and the water separates off as it flows over the top into numerous smaller waterfalls which stream along beside it. It was wonderful and I felt totally insignificant in it's shadows as the power and force of nature once again made me look on in awe. We took lots of photographs, which will never do it justice and clambered over various rocks to get different views of it before we found a path to the side, which disappeared into a wooded area. We were keen to see if we could get alongside the top of the waterfall, so we climbed up this path, but eventually we came to a opening which led to a road and although we could still hear the waterfall in the distance, we couldn't actually see it any longer. We made our way back down and sat on a bench in the spray of the waterfall, to cool ourselves down. We treated ourselves to some ice cream and sat in the sunshine eating it before moving on.
Our next plan was to go and visit Mae Yai Waterfalls which are said to be equally spectacular. We headed in the direction of the signpost, but we were so busy chatting about how much fun we'd had today that we must have completely missed the next sign and suddenly we found ourselves in a labyrinth of small residential streets – when this happens, as it has done many times before in other countries, we tend to just go with the flow and see where the road takes us, so that is exactly what we did today as well. Sometimes you end up seeing and experiencing things that you otherwise would not have and this is exactly why I enjoy becoming lost. At one point we kind of became trapped in a market area and it was all a bit of an adventure. As usual we ended up down some dirt track, where locals on a moped were grinning at us and pointing in the opposite direction …. and it wasn't long before we discovered why, it culminated in a tiny wooden bridge, just wide enough for a moped to pass and looking at it, I truly wondered how it had taken their weight!!! Nevertheless when we did eventually come out onto a surfaced road, we saw a huge Buddha resting up in the hillsides – so with that and a the much more detailed look at village life we'd had, it was a worthwhile detour we decided!!
Being early evening we decided to make a move back towards Chiang Mai, where we parked up and went in search of dinner. A family kitchen was our choice this evening where we just settled on another rice dish. We aren't taking the car out tomorrow, we are being picked up in the morning, so we bought a yoghurt each on the way back to the guest house, which we've stored in the fridge for our breakfast tomorrow.