Doi Inthanon to Doi Suthep in a Day

When planning my trip to Chiang Mai I knew that there were a few sites that I wanted to see outside of the city. I am not a hop on a motorbike and off we go kind of girl so I set about trying to find a tour company that would get my friends and I safely where we wanted to be. The process of picking a company can be a little daunting, how do you know they are legit? The last thing I wanted to do was get scammed. After some digging I found out that official tour companies in Thailand must be bonded and licensed. So searching with that in mind I came across Travel Hub Chiang Mai.  I loved their site!  They offer so many amazing tours and their license number is displayed right on the home page.  After reading some positive reviews on Trip Advisor, I decided this was the company for me. (Disclaimer:  I received a small discount on our tour for agreeing to mention the company in my blog but all statements are my own honest opinions).  We opted for a private customized tour and the agent helped us plan the perfect itinerary.  We planned a jam packed day because we only had a few days in the area and I wanted to see Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep.  Typically you would only see one mountain or the other in a day but our guide Rainbow kept us on track without making us feel rushed and we were able to fit everything in!  My friends and I made our way to the lobby at 7:30am where Rainbow and our driver were waiting.  We all loaded into the van and set out for Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand.

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Photo by Carmen Morales-Gillet

From here we walked the Angkha Nature Trail.  We headed into the jungle and popped back out a mere five minutes later. lol  This is a very short trail, but there is a lovely memorial at the start, and a cute little store and coffee shop at the end.  I would have loved to have done a longer trek into the jungle but we already had a full day ahead of us and would not have had time for that.

The memorial at the start of the trail.dsc_0996

Of course we had to try on the hats from the gift shop and I was able to buy some whole bean coffee for the hubby which is my go to gift for him, so win win.

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Photo by Carmen Morales-Gillet

Shopping complete we got in the van and drove a short distance down the mountain to the King and Queen’s Chedis.  The King’s chedi was built in 1987 to honor his 60th birthday and the Queen’s in 1992 for her 60th birthday.  The gardens were beautiful and the view breathtaking.

From here we continued down the mountain and stopped at a Hill Tribe Market.  There were numerous items available, fruit, coffee, honey, traditional clothes, scarves, etc.

We were only at the market for a short time and then drove to a Karen Tribe Village.  The village consisted of just a few homes.  Our guide told us there wouldn’t be much to see since it was a weekday and the children and young people were at school and work, but it was still my favorite stop of the day.  We visited with some of the elders and bought several scarves.  I really enjoyed getting a little glimpse into the lives of these tribes people.

After all of that sight seeing we had worked up an appetite.  Our next stop was lunch at Wachirathan Waterfall.  Lunch was seriously delicious.  We tried several noodle dishes and had roast chicken, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  The waterfall was so pretty and the spray refreshing.  The Thai sun is no joke!

The waterfall was our last stop on the Doi Inthanon side.  When we’d finished here we climbed back into the van and headed towards Doi Suthep which was on the other side of Chiang Mai.  The drive was the perfect length of time to take a nap and get our second wind.  We had hoped to capture Doi Suthep at sunset and arrived just in time.  The temple at Doi Suthep is absolutely gorgeous.  We could have easily spent half a day exploring the temple and market area so unless you are crunched for time I wouldn’t see it on the same day like we did.  We simply did not have another day so that was the best solution for us.

Wat Phra That the temple on Doi Suthep was built in 1383.  I was so excited to explore the temple that I forgot to take our girls trip group photo before I headed out.  My friends are so smart though, they made it work. 😉

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Photo by Carmen Morales-Gillet

A view of Chiang Mai.dsc_1278

The Temple area.

The Naga Serpent Staircase and 300 steps leading up and down from the temple.  Don’t worry you can take an elevator up for a small fee if you aren’t feeling all those steps. 🙂dsc_1347

Beware of this little girl or any other adorable children hanging out in tribal clothes around this area.  This was the only scam I was confronted with while in Chiang Mai and I totally fell for it.  I’d clicked my shutter exactly two times when she leapt up and ran over to me saying “money money”.  I always try to be very mindful not to participate in scams that take advantage of children.  So be smarter than me. dsc_1349

Phew, I wasn’t kidding about jam packed right?  Other than accidentally taking part in the aforementioned scam, we had the most fantastic day!  If you are visiting Chiang Mai I highly recommend getting out of the city and seeing some of the surrounding area!

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