So, another weekend down and just a couple of days left in the beautiful city of Rangsit and my sweet little home at Thammasat University. With the weekend trips we’ve been planning thus far, seems like the common theme is to just expect the unexpected. Even with some decent planning, our trips have been very far from what we thought would play out, but hey, that’s part of the adventure right?
We headed up to Chiang Mai a couple of weekends ago in hopes of finding some nice waterfall hikes. Instead of just doing what normal tourists would have done and stopping by an elephant sanctuary and taking some cooking lessons, we thought it would be fun to venture out to Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in all of Thailand.
A little bit about how that actually ended up going…well, we rented motorbikes because we figured it would be the cheapest option since our hostel was a 2 hour drive from Doi Inthanon. Riding on a mo-ped for 2 hours straight is definitely more tiring than you’d expect. Once we got near the entrance of the national park, it started pouring and that ended up with us just being pelted constantly in the face by the rain.
Also, should I mention that once we got to the entrance we also needed to drive up the cliff for at least another hour before getting to the top? So basically after thinking we were done with the long mo-ped ride, we had just a couple more hours ahead of us and we were soaked at this point. Then, we ran out of gas and ended up stopping by some villager’s backyard and bought overpriced gasoline from some old whiskey bottles. Thankfully, we made it to a restaurant near the visitor’s center one hour later and stopped by for some amazing tom kha gai soup. Possibly the best I’ve ever had (me trying to justify the fact that I spent way too long driving on a mo-ped to get to this place and still had not seen anything close to what we had expected).
Drove for another one hour in our weeny little mo-peds (why was this a good idea?) that struggled to get up the winding mountain roads. As we got higher up, it just got colder and colder to the point that my skin literally started to sting because I was wet from the fog/clouds/chill. It was actually an extremely miserable feeling and I was just telling Jess to cuddle me the entire time because I was basically numb and my teeth were chattering and I didn’t think I would survive for the rest of the drive up. Thankfully, Marisa and Michael were quite the troopers and cheered us on for the last couple of kilometers….
AND WE MADE IT!!!! LOOK AT THIS VIEW! (Sarcasm probably doesn’t transfer well over text so I should note that I was quite bitter after all that struggle and we couldn’t see anything because it was completely cloudy). It was a grand total of 13 °C and we were in our bikinis (thinking we would be swimming in waterfalls) under our tank tops and shorts. The best part of reaching the peak was when I saw sweaters on sale-I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so excited over seeing a sweater. Even bought 2 sweaters because that’s how freezing I was. Definitely not what we had in mind, but thankful for great company. And also because adversity strengthens bonds, right?
Happy to be all warmed up with our fancy sweaters!
Honestly, probably just laughing at our luck and how hilarious this journey turned out to be, hahaha.
But sometimes misadventures lead to hidden beauty. On the way down from the peak, we stopped by Baan Mae Klang Luang, home to many Karen people and filled with luscious green rice terraces.
We ventured out on a small hike through the mountains and stumbled upon some of the most beautiful and green views.
Found this small hidden waterfall that was so simply beautiful.
Aside from all the mosquitoes that we managed to get attacked by, this ended up becoming one of my favorite parts of Chiang Mai because I wanted to stray away from the more mainstream tourist attractions and experience the beautiful scenery and nature of the countryside. Mission accomplished.
We ended the night off by going to the Saturday Night Bazaar to do some shopping and eating, which was really crowded (as expected) but a great end to the night being able to meet up with the rest of our group in Chiang Mai and hanging out.
The next morning, me and Jess headed out to a cute cafe not too far from our hostel, called Clay Studio Coffee in the Garden, which features a terracotta arts garden and cafe.
Beautiful terracotta arts makes this garden feel like a secret getaway into an ancient world.
Jess, my summer roomie, looking cute as always with what she calls her “party glasses”.
Drinks were on the more expensive side (~50 baht) but well worth it for the views.
Lessons learned: when the journey gets rough and cold and you think you won’t make it, keep going anyways. But in all honesty, I’m so grateful for such a beautiful weekend and being able to explore the best of Chiang Mai’s hidden beauty.