Last time, I wrote about Songkran and how I rejoined with Alejandra in Chiang Mai. This girl is beautiful, I told her that I like her back in Pai, but she told me that she is not looking for anyone. Well, I don’t give up so easily. We met sereral times in Chiang Mai and she told me that she and her friend Sebastian are going to Doi Inthanon National Park the next day. Sebastian is her childhood friend, so I still had a hope that it might end up well. I didn’t think so much about it and I said I’m in. The next day, we borrowed our scooters and we started our tour. I didn’t even know that it is about 120 km far away a that it should rain. I believed that my jacket that I bought when I was 18 will still be able to protect me, because it always did. Maybe because I wasn’t riding on a motorbike with it. Ehm, a little bit naive.
Ok, a little bit about the national park.
In 1954, the forests around Doi Inthanon were conserved, creating Doi Inthanon National Park, as one of the original 14 national parks of Thailand. This park now covers 482.4 km² and spreads from the lowlands at 800 m elevation up to the peak at 2,565 m.
On the main road to the summit of Doi Inthanon stand two adjacent chedis, one called Naphamethinidon (นภเมทินีดล), meaning “by the strength of the land and air”, and the other, Naphaphonphumisiri (นภพลภูมิสิริ), meaning “being the strength of the air and the grace of the land”. These temples were built to honour the 60th birthday anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1987, and the 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit in 1992, respectively.
Doi Inthanon (Thai: ดอยอินทนนท์ (pronunciation)) is the highest mountain in Thailand. It is in Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai Province. This mountain is an ultra prominent peak, known in the past as Doi Luang (meaning “big mountain”) or Doi Ang Ka, meaning the “crow’s pond top”. Near the mountain’s base was a pond where many crows gathered. The name Doi Inthanon was given in honour of King Inthawichayanon, one of the last kings of Chiang Mai, who was concerned about the forests in the north and tried to preserve them. He ordered that after his death his remains be interred at Doi Luang, which was then renamed in his honour.
The plan was to do 120 km there, then see as much as possible, go to the Doi Inthanon mountain and go 120 km back to Chiang Mai.
All the way to the park, it was sunny and I didn’t even care about the people standing right next to the highway and throwing buckets full of water onto people riding in cars and on motorbikes. It is a national celebration that I really like, but this goes too far. When you are riding 100 km/h and someone throws a bucket of water on you, it hurts. And when you are not completely focused, it can end up pretty bad. If you are pissed off about something you cannot change, you just make it even worse.
I was enjoying the ride so much. I already gained some skill in riding motorbike in SE Asia and I knew that Honda Wave 125cc is the best choice for me. It revved hard. 120 km/h.
When we reached the entrance, I was was a little bit disappointed about the way they charged foreigners for the entrance. 40 THB for Thai people, 300 THB for foreigners. Ok, I’ve seen it before, I didn’t know that the entrance fee is going to be like that, but I paid. If I wouldn’t already invested my time and money into the rented motorbike, I would probably rethink that, because I don’t really like this double measure. Especially when it is that unbalanced.
The park is actually an area with plenty villages and fields, cars, motorbikes and heavy machinery. No difference.
After several kilometers, we arrived to the first waterfall. A lot of people, stalls and restaurants. Yeah, it is nice to have a waterfall. It can generate a nice profit. I noticed that there is a small way up. Of course that I needed to see where it goes. After several minutes and few calories burnt, I was on the top of the waterfall. Sebastian and Alejandra followed me and then we were enjoying few minutes on the top, looking at the small people down below us.
The rain came. We were riding on our motorbikes first, but then we stopped and hid in a small house for a while and then we continued. It was raining hard again. After 30 minutes, I was shaking. Alejandra received a raincoat from some Thai guys, I was continuing in my water-soaked waterproof jacket.
We continued to Doi Inthanon mountain. My scooter was choking. No wonder – going up all the time, revving because of being in a hurry and also having open airfilter is not a good option in a rain like this. I stopped for a while so that the motorbike gets some juice again.
Riding 1 hour in this rain felt like eternity. Finally, we reached the top. We were quite confused because on the top, there was an army airfield and a parking lot. After few minutes, we found a small path leading from the corner of the parking lot to the top of the hill. I took a quick shot as and I hurried back to buy a hot soup and a raincoat. It was the best instant soup I ever had.
The rain stopped as soon as we were sitting on our scooters. The raincoat was still a good idea – it was protecting me against the wind pretty well. After 20 minutes we reached Twin Pagodas. We had to pay another entry fee and we also had to pay for our motorbikes.
When we were walking around this place, I realized that this my chance to get closer to Alejandra. I received a “No” for the second time and that is the end of one girl-chasing story.
On the way back, I felt a little bit miserable for a while, but then I looked on the bright side and everything was ok again. At least I tried. Now I was enjoying the ride. Twists and turns. No rain. Hills. Gear up, gear down.
It was already getting dark when we left the national park. We stopped to see the Silver and Gold temple, refilled our gas tanks and continued back to Chiang Mai. The road was empty. Three lanes, no turns, no cars and no motorbikes. Just some hills and street lights.
In the end, this was not about the park or about Alejandra for me. It was about riding the scooter. This blue little guy was speaking to me and we became friends. It was the best ride of my life.