Day 8: Doi Suthep hiking
Trip Start Dec 26, 2012
34Trip End Jan 29, 2013
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What I did
The temple had a bunch of markets near the bottom and then hundreds of steps leading up to the temple. The temple itself was rather underwhelming, but it had an interesting view and neat religious practices. Once in the temple, you could buy a small bell, on which you wrote names of loved ones and 'prayers' from what we gathered. Then you hung the bell somewhere from the roof of the temple
On our way down, we hoped to find a hiking trail to a waterfall that, from the map looked like it wasn't too far from the temple. On our way down the steps to search for it, we bumped into the couple again who said they were also interested in hiking. We asked a sâwngthâew driver if he could point us in the right direction, but he told us that the path was closed and we should ride with him to the top of the mountain. We figured he was lying, and so we headed blindly in search of the 'closed' path.
We found a small dirt road which we took, which led us to a camp ground. We found a very rough map and estimated where the entrance to the trail may be. We found some sort of path which was rather rough, which we decided to take. I should mention here that both Martin and myself were wearing sandals, because of our last experience was with hiking trails at Doi Inthanon which were paved, with stairs or boardwalks. This trail was the exact opposite, it was very small rough, and required climbing over fallen logs and trees, as well a whacking through some foliage. Even though it was not a sandals path, we could not turn down the chance to hike an actual hiking trail through a Thai jungle.
The path ended up leading us to the back of the temple, which was a bit of a bummer, so we doubled back and tried to find another one. We ended up finding another path near the start of the one we took. It was even rougher then the first, but the jungle was calling so we took it. Our group met a pair of hiking Aussies along the way as well, who were also headed o the waterfall so we knew we were on the right track
The jungle was beautiful. We heard tons of birds calling and saw a lot of amazing plants, butterflies and a couple animals. After many steep hills, mud, and climbing all in sandals, we were getting pretty beat and debating whether we should continue. I'm surprised my sandals hadn't fallen apart at that point. Me and Marty had forgotten water as well ( definitely not the best planned for hike, my biology professors would have killed me if they new I was going through a tropical jungle without leather boots on to protect from snake and spider bites). We decided that we should continue, and very soon after, found the waterfall! It was picture perfect; absolutely stunning. We sat down and dangled our feet in the rushing water and enjoyed the tranquility of finally being away from the loud noise of Thai cities.
The Aussies decided to head to another waterfall farther down the path, but we decided it would be smarter to head back; we had pushed our luck enough. It was a faster hike back and luckily me and Marty made it out with our sandals intact. We headed with our friends to grab some cold water (thank god) and food. We were planning on heading up higher in the mountain to see a hill tribe village ( which was installed just a tourist trap but we still wanted to see it), however we were so beat from our hiking that we just headed back to Chiang Mai.
Once we got back to the city, we decided to treat ourselves to Thai massages (5 bucks each). They were very violent (haha) it involved the masseuse forcefully stretching your muscles, hitting your muscles and walking her knees all over your body.
We then grabbed some dinner and headed to a roof top bar near our hostel. It was very sketchy on the way in, but once you got to the top, mats were layed out everywhere over a thatched rough where you sat on the floor at low tables with a view over the city. It was great! We finally wrapped up the night and headed to bed to prepare for our early morning drive to Pai!