I haven’t been on the road that long, but I already love the unpredictability of it. I make very little plans, but whenever I do, something comes up and they change altogether. Like the day I had set aside to spend hours on my laptop catching up on blog posts and photo editing while I was in Chiang Mai.
But five minutes after I woke up, my friends said they were off to hire motorbikes to spend the day visiting the Doi Suthep mountain and a waterfall. Did I want to join?
Er, yes please.
The view from the ride up Doi Suthep
I’d been on a scooter/motorbike a grand total of once in my life before this trip, so it’s been great fun making the most of the Asian transportation of choice. I still haven’t had the audacity to drive one myself, but I’ve been lucky to make friends with really good riders – and I’ve been told I’m a great passenger. ‘You laugh a lot and you don’t get worried,’ said my friend Adrian after we’d almost crashed into our friends’ bike during a minute of inattention. (What else can I do? It’s not like I’m going to get off the bike and walk home…)
This mountain is situated west of Chiang Mai, and is one of the main tourist attractions in the area. All the red cars (the local ‘buses’ that you hail to negotiate a destination and price with the driver) make the trip there, but with the day-fee for a motorbike only 150BHT, it’s worth getting on two wheels. The view is superb on a sunny day; the route snakes along the mountain, with a few scenic viewpoints, and at the top is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple. It’s 300 steps to get from the entrance to the temple itself, and a few more to its grand golden chedi.
Rules to respect while visiting a temple: no shoes, proper dress, be quiet and respectful, and no PDA
After a bite of lunch in the most unsanitary place I’ve set food in Thailand so far – where our lunch was, er, running around cackling around us – we set our sight on Mae Sa waterfall. And 15 kilometres later…
The waterfall has no less than 10 levels – the hike up is about one-kilometre long, on moderately maintained trails that get pretty slippery (read: I fell again). It gets hot, it gets humid, the mosquitoes are huge but man, what a view. And the sound it makes!
Yours truly, Quechua sandals, sweat, grazed knees and all