Day 5/72 - Hike up to Doi SuthepNovember 1 in Thailand
Fantastic day today! The plan was set to follow a monk trail up to a temple at the top of one of the mountains surrounding Chaing Mai. After a decent night's sleep, we got up, donned our walking boots and headed to a bakery to stock up on food before our hike. A couple of croissants and pastries down the hatch and some bacon and pepper bread things in the bag, we hailed a red pick up truck style taxi and headed for the start point.
We were dropped off at the bottom of the hill, on the shanty outskirts of Chaing Mai. We started our watches and headed up the hill. The first part of the hike was on steep roads past shacks and the Chaing Mai zoo, but soon lead to a single footpath that took us up the mountain. It was tough, steep walking but felt so good to be trekking through the jungle. The butterflies danced around as we ducked under vines with trails of huge ants criss crossing over us. The path itself was rocky and muddy, and Tom in particular was very pleased to have walking boots to give his glass ankles the support they deserved. The trees kept the heat in and we were soon drenched in sweat, but as well climbed the air cooled. After an hour or so we came across a small temple like area overlooking the city, here the river split into small waterfalls; it was a stunning little hideaway.
We crossed one of the winding mountain roads and plunged back into the jungle on the other side, the path becoming more and more overgrown. The more we climbed, the steeper the path became and almost an hour later we shimmied over our last fallen tree and climbed up onto the road leading to Doi Suthep. We looked terrible but it was very gratifying to have 2 people trot down the steps to the temple saying, "wow have you walked all the way from Chiang Mai?! Like, through the jungle down there?!". The temple was looked after by monks who lived in the wooden houses teetering on the hillside. We wandered around the viewpoint and platform, taking in the views with fresh water and a magnum, whilst Izzi peered over the edge and fretted about the height. It was incredibly high. The aircraft taking off from Chaing Mai Airport began their turn below the level we were at. We took in the sights for a little while longer and then headed back down the hillside.
At the bottom of the hill we spotted another red truck taxi at the end of the road we were dropped off on, and although we must have lost a good few years off our lives with the fumes that clouded the truck as it lurched through the city, it was great to know a shower was at the end of the journey. After we'd washed up, we went in search of food and almost immediately walked across a pizza place with great recommendations. Feeling a little cheeky for not solely eating rice and noodles for dinner, we had a delicious pizza with watermelon shakes (incredible.), and promised ourselves that we'd get thai food the next day. This turned out to be a very easy promise however, as we wandered through a night bazaar lined with all kinds of chefs, playing with fire and tossing an array of food and cutlery. The night bazaar was brill, and we had some quick frozen ice cream made with bananas and oreos right in front of our eyes. As we ate, entertainment filled the square and women dancing with umbrellas, scarily long finger nails and masked dancers put on a performance to the crowd. After this, a Thai band came on and sang a plethora of pop songs from the 00's. A reggae version of Adele's "Someone Like You" has never been so well received.Read more