AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Chiang Mai: Doi Inthanon


Posted on Jan 14, 2014

About 50 miles south of Chiang Mai is the Doi Inthanon National Park which is named after Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand. Conveniently there is a sealed road to the summit, so we decided it would be a good idea to ride there. Along the route are a number of waterfalls and a large temple near the summit, plus the adventure of riding the bike there and back. Our first stop was a bakery just outside the old town of Chiang Mai, for coffee and pain au chocolat, a favorite of ours for breakfast. We also picked up a great looking sandwich each and a cake, to take with us for lunch at the summit. The first part of the ride was a bit dull, a dead straight dual carriage with traffic lights every now and again (with a timer on showing how long they’ll be on red. Very depressing when the timer starts at over 100 seconds). After almost 2 hours we reached the smaller road which would wind its way to the summit of Doi Inthanon. After a few minutes on this smaller road we saw signs for a waterfall. We turned off and followed a very steep and windy road down to a car park. As it was midday we decided we might as well stop and eat lunch too. The base of the waterfall would make for a scenic picnic spot. The waterfall, called Wachirathan Falls, is an impressive sight. At about 80m it roars and thunders at the lower observation point and creates plenty of spray. We spent a while here taking photos. We then set off for the summit. I had only ever been on a motorbike twice before, once in Vietnam and once the day before so I had rented an automatic bike again. These are easy to ride but not very good when the road isn’t flat. The automatic clutch felt like it was knackered, we had a horrible burning smell every time we hit a significant slope and we would rapidly lose speed and end up at a waking pace if the slope was quite long. As we ascended the sun ended up behind a few big black clouds, causing a huge drop in temperature, accompanied by the altitude and wind we were soon rather cold. Putting on our fleeces helped at first, but by 2000m above sea level we were freezing cold. The bike was now really struggling with the hills and we rode at 20kph up every slope for the last 5km of the road. Finally, after what felt like an age we reached the summit...

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