This was my second visit to the romantic city of Chiang Mai. First time, back in 2005, I wasted a trip to Doi Inthanon, because the taxi driver misled me and my ex-girlfriend up the wrong mountain, namely Doi Suthep. But truth to be told, I was more into romance than my country high point collection back then.
But time changes. Being in Bangkok, I was now willing to spend a few extra baht and 2x10 hours by bus to get me to/from Chiang Mai. But to spend an additional 3000 baht for a taxi between Chiang Mai and Doi Inthanon, was totally unacceptable to me. While public transportation is super cheap, it's too impractical and cumbersome in this area. So I ultimately chose another option, to join a sightseeing trip to Doi Inthanon for 1000 baht, which included transportation, park fees, lunch and a few other sights along the road.
The tourist van picked me up at the hotel in the morning, and along with eleven other tourists we headed for Doi Inthanon National Park. It was however a curious mix of tourists (not uncommon in Thailand):
- An old man from Germany (65 years), having some difficulties keeping his hands off his 18-year-old Thai girlfriend, the latter accompanied by her 40-year-old mother, who looked very uncomfortable in the role of being a mother in such circumstances
- A ladyboy with his best friend, a regular girl, both from Thailand
- Two girls from Bangkok, who wanted me to participate in all their photos (okay then!) and who apparently saw me as a potential husband and ATM (no thanks!)
- An American student with his Thai girlfriend, the former not very typical American because he was dead silent all day long
- A middle-aged couple from India, both looking very sad at first glance, but eventually they surprised me a lot. I have never met Indians who are interested in mountains and nature before, but these two had during their last 30 years explored the entire Indian Himalayas. I have never met anyone with such detailed knowledge about expeditions, mountains and points of interest in this part of the Himalayas.
Ooops, these words turned out to be more of a people portrayal than a trip report. The reason for this is that there is not so much to tell about this trip. We stopped at a few waterfalls, visited a Karen village, took some pictures of the King & Queen stupa before we at the end of the road, walked about 50 meters by our own effort to the top of Doi Inthanon. My easiest country high point so far, and yet it might even become easier when I'm heading for Singapore ....