When we were in Pai were were chatting to people about the two day slow boat that crossed into Laos and it seemed the more we talked to people, the more it sounded awful. It would take about three days of travel and it would be rough going all the way. So, we decided to fly from Chiang Mai instead giving us back three days.
Arriving back in Chiang Mai felt like coming home. We really like the city, have got to know the restaurants and bars and were glad to be back.
Our first night we hit up the awesome New Delhi for Indian, again, then walked round the corner to the large backpacker bar courtyard. There’s about ten bars playing blaring music all blending into each other and as it gets later the place gets more packed. It’s full of youngsters pounding buckets of Sansong, dancing and a few lady boys hanging around too.
Katie made some Thai friends at Zoe, who were hilarious dancers, then when Zoe got too packed we went to Roots Rock Reggae to listen to an awesome brass band do takes on modern songs. They reminded me a lot of the Soul Rebels, a New Orleans jazz band we love.
For our final day in town we’d signed up with Journey Smile to do a one day bus tour of Doi Inthanon National Park (THB 1,300pp inc. lunch). It’s a bit pricey, but we were feeling lazy and didn’t want to risk getting lost in a hire car.
After about 1.5 hours in the van you get to the highest point in Thailand. There’s not a great deal here, trees block most of the view but it’s a box to tick. There’s a small temple for King Inthanon who’s ashes were placed on the highest point after his death.
From there it’s on to the main attraction, the twin pagodas for the king and queen. These area set amongst lovely gardens but unfortunately savage weather during the monsoon season badly damaged the queen’s statue so it’s under repair.
Inside there are modern Buddhas and stories of the Buddhas lives carved into the walls. These are a lot more contemporary and really nicely decorated.
The views here are also great and you can see for miles. The fresh air is also a nice break from the city smog.
After an hour there we bussed it to our first waterfall in the Royal Gardens of Siribhum. The gardens have a bit of a Japanese feel, and lots of ferns and small bridges everywhere.
You can see the bottom of the waterfall in the garden but we hiked it up a few hundred metres and were rewarded with some great views.
After lunch we went to our second waterfall, Wachirathan. This one is huge and doesn’t require and hiking to see. There are tour groups everywhere but you can see why.
Our final stop was as at a local hill tribe’s village. They weave beautiful scarves and grow really good coffee but the whole place felt really contrived with tour group after tour group turning up.
We had a great day out and we really enjoyed the tour. That evening we watched Liverpool destroy Arsenal 5-1 to really put the icing on the cake and wrap up a great time in Northern Thailand.