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.
After drying out a bit we moved on toward the top of the mountain, stopping briefly at Sirithan Waterfall, where we visited the twin chedis devoted to the king and queen of Thailand.
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.