Doi Inthanon National Park

One of the great things about Thailand is that you can book a private driver for a very reasonable price to take you around the country, obviously within reason and for a very specific price.  You can also use these drivers to act as tour guides for you and it’s totally worth it.  So we wanted to go to Doi Inthanon National Park which is where the highest point in all of Thailand is located and so we hired a driver for $100USD to take us there, around the national park and then back to Chiang Mai.  He came to pick us up at 8AM and we started on our journey.  One of the things that you’ll usually notice is that the drivers usually have a companion with them, but for our driver his wife was sick and wasn’t able to come on this journey with our driver.  The most entertaining part of this was that our driver usually depends on his wife to do the English translation so it definitely made for some creative solutions for how we were going to communicate during this entire day tour.  At one point, we called the wife from the driver’s phone and translated through speaker phone which was hilarious for all parties involved.

We eventually ended up at Doi Inthanon and paid our entry fee.  Things to keep is in mind is that as a tourist you end up paying more money for entry fees than you do if you are a Thai tourist.  So don’t be surprised when you see different prices or people changing prices when they realize you are not Thai.  You will need to pay the entry fee into the park which ended up only being about $3USD and then another $4USD to get to the King and Queen pagodas which were in a different part of the park.  We parked by the highest point and we started our journey to the highest point in the entire country.  I have to admit that I thought that this would be a giant hike and it would take us forever but I guess I didn’t take into consideration the incredibly windy drive up a mountain to get to the parking lot.  We started walking and only went up about 15 steps and found the sign that said “Highest Point in Thailand.” I definitely did not feel as accomplished by this but regardless we were there.  Along with that, there’s a nice nature walk behind the sign that takes you on a good little loop around the top of the park and through to a shrine for the King. We took a nice little stroll through all the trees and past the shrine then made our way back to the car so that we could go visit the King and Queen’s Pagodas.

We paid our entry fees, parked in the parking lot at the base of the pagodas and then started wandering up the steps to the Queen’s Pagoda.  When you first show up the Pagodas tower over the entire mountain side.  There’s a purple one for the Queen and a black one for the King.  We wandered up the steps and around the Pagoda’s and the gardens.  The King’s was under some remodeling and covered in flowers due to his passing so it was definitely a sight to see while we were there.  If you get a chance to go visit these pagodas, I would definitely recommend checking these out and checking out the gardens behind the pagodas.  They are absolutely beautiful and wonderful with the backdrop of the huge buildings behind them. After taking an absurd amount of photos around there, we got back in the car and made our way out to Wachirathan Waterfall.  It’s great because doing this route, you get to see the highest point, the pagodas and a whole bunch of beautiful waterfalls all on one trip. After wandering aimlessly around and down the river, we were officially ready to go back to Chiang Mai.  As we made our way back to the car, we found some hawker stalls selling freshly made pork buns so we purchased some for the two hour drive back to Chiang Mai.

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