This isn't the first time I've been to this chilly place. Doi Inthanon is the home of the highest point in Thailand, and the first time we came here, it was wet and cold and we were on motorbikes... This time was much more sabaai, Emily and I headed out of the crazy heat of April, opting out of the 108 degree days in town for the 65 degrees of this national park.
In days past, the entry fee for this park has been upwards of 300 baht. That goes a long way here, so Em and I heard of a route that would take us the back way, and rumors were floating around that you didn't have to pass any ticket booths going that way. We found out why. The roads must have been–no joke, 45 degree grades, with curves that merited U-turn signs all the way up. Definitely a dangerous road, but we survived. And all the Thai families we passed on the way didn't seem to mind the treachery at all...
Emily is a pretty stellar photographer, and she had me model for her (after days of saying no I finally gave in when it included escaping the heat of Chiang Mai). We stopped at several clearings and places we found along the way... I may add a few of these photos in an update.
We visited the King and Queen chedi's at the top of the mountain, explored the botanical gardens and disturbed sleeping hill tribe women. Part of the Thai new year celebrations include visiting various wats to make merit, wash the buddha statues and appease spirits, so there were plenty of people milling about these beautiful grounds.
The brightness of the gardens is a pretty big contrast to the shadiness of the summit. There's no view or anything, just a big ol' sign that says "Highest Point in Thailand," which is almost typical of Asia. "Hey! This is cool, so we'll stick a sign here, view or not." This area of the park is quite nice, the shade covers a bamboo bridge that winds through the trees behind a beautiful white shrine, and the light underneath the canopy is beautiful. When you emerge from the trees, there's a coffee shop overlooking the road up the mountain.
This day trip should have really been made into a weekender, but it was worth it none-the-less. If you're looking for a way to escape those crazy hot season temperatures in favor of a mild snap of cool season, this is how.