Last May 17, I went on a day trip to the highest peak in Thailand, and along the way, I had the opportunity to check other interesting points that included the twin pagodas, a quick visit to Karen hill tribe community and two lovely waterfalls. The friendly ladies at the hotel desk in Chiang Mai assisted me to find this tour, the cost was 1140 bath (£25, COP96000 Approx.). The day started with an early hotel pick up where I joined other seven keen travellers. What a delightful day ahead!
First stop was around 50 Km South from Chiang Mai, and it took us just over an hour, this was to Amphoe Chom Thong District where we stopped at a small village where I witness the Karen tribe ladies weaving lovely clothes, including scarves, dresses among others.
This tribe began to move to Thailand around the 17th century and they are established mostly in the western part of Thailand, our guide told us that they are composed of two subgroups, the Skaw and the Pwo. It was a very quick stop and it was a very rainy and muggy day nonetheless I also managed to see some of the rice fields before heading to our next stop.
Our next stop was at the brownish Sirithan waterfalls, with a height of about 40 metres, I could hear the roar from the distance. This is one of the many waterfalls near Inthanon National Park and flows into the Mae Klang River. Quick but pretty view. Our tour guide told us that Doi Inthanon was named after the King Inthawichayanon, the last king of Chiang Mai, and who was keen to preserve the forest in the north of Thailand.
Just around midday, we reached Doi Inthanon Summit, also known as “the roof of Thailand”. The area is part of the Himalayan mountain range, with high humidity and an average temperature of 12 °C. This is the highest peak in Thailand with an altitude of 2565 metres – 8415 ft, (79 m lower than my city Bogota).
The day was very foggy and I had to use my raincoat the whole time but nevertheless, I enjoy to trail walk to the main attraction, the two chedis dedicated to the King and Queen anniversaries. The area covers also an exhibition hall which was built in honour of the Princess Maha Chakri anniversary and 2 metres – 80 inches height golden Buddha image
Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon: this name means “magnificent stupa containing Buddha relics”. This pagoda is the one dedicated to the king, and it has a height of 60 meters. This pagoda was built in 1987 by the Royal Thai Air Force, to commemorate the 60th birthday of his Majesty King Rama 9, Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Phra Mahathat Naphapholphusiri: this name means “the power of the sky and the virtue of the land”. This pagoda is the one dedicated to the Queen, and it has a height of 55 meters, signifying that the Queen is five years younger than the king.
This pagoda was built in 1992, to honour her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 60th birthday.
The visit to these two pagodas as well and its surrounding gardens were the highlights of this excursion, I found the story behind them depth, profound and even romantic as it represents the royal couple. They are located at the top of the mountain, and we easily reached them by separate stairs (although a lift is also available). Once inside the pagodas, we could view various shrines with Buddha images and stories that included the Buddha’s birth to his enlightenment. Outside the pagodas, especially the Queen Pagoda, I walked around beautiful gardens which were very well maintained, although it was very rainy and cloudy I could still enjoy the magnificent views. We were allowed to spend nearly two hours there wandering around which was lovely.
Before heading back, we enjoyed a varied lunch which obviously included rice! Noodles, eggs as well as a variety of vegetables and fruits.
We also visited the Wachirathan Waterfall, which is the second major waterfall on the way up to Doi Inthanon National Park.
These powerful waters fall over 60 metres height. I went thought an easy walkway to experience the waterfall when I took a little footage to send to my family, which caused to get completely soaked!
They path is quite slippery to I had to walk very slowly to avoid falling as I normally do.
I definitely recommend this excursion for those visiting Chiang Mai, easily bookable to the many local operators in the city centre.
Safe travel everyone – and don’t forget to smile today and spread happiness.
Love from Jenny