Welcome back to my Chiang Mai Trip series!
Previously, I wrote about the temples we’ve visited on our first day in Chiang Mai. On our second day, we wanted to see the famous pagodas on top of the mountain that everyone keeps talking about. All the people I talked to who have been to Chiang Mai consistently mention this place. So for this adventure, we hired the same red songtaew Manong driver from our first-day tour to drive us to Doi Inthanon.
A longer drive than expected
At first, I thought that Doi Inthanon was just close to the city but it wasn’t because the journey took almost 2.5 hours. I liked that it was colder there than in the city because geographically speaking, we were heading up to a mountain. It’s a must to wear jackets or sweaters when traveling to Inthanon.
The drive was mostly on curvy roads like going round and round which honestly gave me a little headache, plus the fact that I was getting hungry. I only had a sandwich from a convenience store that morning which was not a good idea. I didn’t even bring enough snacks with me that time so I was feeling hypoglycemic, low blood sugar. An important tip when traveling is to always make sure that you have enough food or snacks with you the entire travel time.
Wachirathan Waterfall (Nam Tok Vachirathan)
Wachirathan Waterfall is one of the waterfalls located in Doi Inthanon National Park. The falls have a cumulative height of 80 m.
In my opinion, this is the biggest falls I have ever seen so far in my travels in Thailand. It’s the prettiest and the grandest too. We found a trail up and because we were curious, we climbed up following other visitors. It actually brought us to the highest point of the falls. It was incredible and beautiful, however terrifying when you actually think where you are at that moment. I tried to be brave and have a photo taken somewhere near. And for better social media photo’s sake, I was encouraged to climb up a fallen trunk and pose but I just couldn’t do it. I was hindered by a lot of what ifs. (What if suddenly there’s an earthquake or the tree rolls over…)
Then, I was getting hungrier as time goes by.
Lucky for me that our next stop was the King Inthanon Memorial Shrine where there was a food market nearby. Upon our arrival, food was my top priority. They sell sticky rice, noodles, grilled chicken and many more. I bought hot porridge with mushroom and egg which was surprisingly delicious and perfect for the weather. I also indulged myself with sweetened corn for dessert.
We sat and enjoyed our meal like hungry people that we were at that moment.
After our satisfying meal, I could feel my energy and concentration back to normal. So we moved on and hiked up to our next destination.
King Inthanon Memorial Shrine
Historically, in March 1915, Chao Dara Rasmi went on an excursion to the peak of Doi Inthanon and ordered to erect a memorial shrine in which to deposit the ashes of her father, King Inthanon, the 7th ruling prince of Chiang Mai.
Thai visitors who come to the shrine bring flowers as an offering to their King and pray for good luck.
Highest Point in Thailand
Only a few walks from the shrine, we found the signage that we were at the highest spot in Thailand. To be at the highest point of a place, better yet a country is an amazing experience.
Ang Ka Luang Trail
Ang Ka Luang Natural Trail or also known as Angkha Natural Trail is a scenic 340 meters looped boardwalk trail located just across the Memorial Shrine.
Usually, it takes 20-30 minute walk to complete the trail. I like that it was cold during the stroll and the scenery of the forest was fascinating. You will hear the sounds of the birds and other animals in the forest.
Royal Twin Pagodas
The two pagodas were constructed by the Thai Army to commemorate the King and Queen’s 60th birthdays. The King’s 60th in 1987 and the Queen’s in 1992. The full names of these pagodas were Phra Maha Dhatu Nabha Metaneedon and Phra Maha Dhatu Nabhapol Bhumisiri.
What I loved the most about this place is its location, on top of Doi Inthanon mountain. There are flowers and trees around the pagodas which are very beautiful to look at. I was in awe of these flowers because I’ve only seen the plastic version of them in the city. Oftentimes, I caught myself asking the question, “Are these real?”, followed by checking the plants’ roots underneath the soil. Yes indeed, they are all real.
Cherry Blossoms at Khun Chang Kian Highland Agriculture Research Center
This was our last destination before heading back to the city. I could say this is my second favorite of the entire Chiang Mai trip, the weather being the first. And I tell you that I was looking forward to seeing the infamous cherry blossoms prior to this trip. I see photos of these trees, mostly from Japan, in social media and it got me curious. They look magnificent in pictures, I wondered how much more in reality.
Nothing beats the stunning landscape we saw. Trees surround the lake with the mountain in the backdrop, I could only describe it as a perfect work of art.
Being in this place made me feel blessed and grateful to be alive. =)
Entrance Fees and Tour Cost
Before entering the park, you will need to pay 200 THB/ person for foreigners including 30 THB for the vehicle (songtaew).
And another 40 THB/person entrance fee to see the pagodas.
We paid our driver 2,500 THB for the entire day trip.