The scenic national parks and surrounding countryside was a major reason we chose Chiang Mai as a destination. From the beginning I knew we wanted to see some of the many waterfalls in the region, and to do that we would be best served booking a private tour, especially with someone that could suggest additional sites. After some research I contacted a half-dozen tour guides by email; three responded, and two of those had additional ideas. After a few emails we decided on two one-day tours with Untouched Thailand.
Lek and Bon — our guides for two days of hiking near Chiang Mai
Our first morning started with a bit of a surprise- our guides commented on our lack of luggage. Uhh, what? Turns out they thought we were going on an overnite trip to a hillside village! After a call to their boss we figured everything out and started our drive to Doi Inthanon, a national park around the tallest mountain in Thailand. After an hour and a half of interesting conversation we reached our first destination, Wachirathan Waterfall.
There was a lot of water coming over these falls! With the accompanying mist those locations best suited for photos of the entire falls were essentially raining, making photography quite challenging.
Followed by a short rain forest trail featuring a small shrine.
After a quick lunch at the park restaurant we headed down the road where we were dropped off at a small unmarked trail with one of our guides, Bon. From the trailhead we walked down a hillside along a creek with a series of mid-size waterfalls, culminating in a beautiful waterfall pouring into a pool with a narrow bridge crossing the creek.
After this waterfall our hike continued along a small path through the forest to a small clearing with a view of a small hillside rice farm:
complete with curious, slightly suspicious, water buffalo
We hiked through the farm field into a hillside village where we met back with our other guide Lek. Before getting back into the car Leandra tried the local coffee:
We started making our way back to Chiang Mai, and along the way we stopped at one final waterfall, Mae Klang.
After a full day of touring we slept well in anticipation of a second day of waterfall hiking.