Starting from the city of Chiang Mai, take Highway No. 107 northwards to Fang District. The stretch remains a country road, with charming Lanna lifestyle on both sides. About 35 kilometers before reaching the District of Mae Taeng, turn into Highway No.1095 at the entrance to Mae Malai Market where necessities can be stocked up before embarking on the mountain roads.
From Mae Malai Market, the first stretch is not difficult. A stop is recommended at Mok Fa Waterfall, a fine cascade in the Doi Suthep National Park, at kilometer 19 to the left. Thereafter, the road starts to gradually climb. At kilometer 40, take the right turn into Huai Nam Dang National Park, the site of the most beautiful foggy morning scene, especially in winter. From here, the lofty top of Doi Chiang Dao can be clearly seen in the sea of fog. Continue further to visit Doi Chang and Doi Sam Muen Doi Chiang Dao rises high on the right-hand side. A visit can be made to the peach plantations run by the Hmongs at Doi Chang village. In winter, the entire valley turns pink with peach blossoms and flowers of Nang Phya Sua Khrong, a native shrub of Rosaceae family, known as the cherry blossoms of Thailand.
About 4 kilometers from the temple is the Bhubing Palace, the first provincial royal residence built in the present reign. The palace is open to visitors on Fridays, weekends and public holidays, when the royal family is not in residence. During December to January, the palace ground is covered with stunning flowerbeds, especially roses of about 100 species.
The route around Doi Suthep starts in Mae Rim District, where Wat Pa Darabhirom, a forest monastery with an exquisite temple hall, is located. Take Highway 107 and turn left on Highway 1096. The stretch is lined with stylish tourist resorts, including such Unseen Paradise accommodations as Jirung Health Spa and Resort, and Sukantara Cascade Resort, a boutique resort maximizing from its natural surroundings, with water streaming down descending steps of rock.
The route leads to Hot District of Chiang Mai, a distance of 102 kilometers the serpentine road that is legendary for drivers. There are pleasant stops such as Bo Kaeo Pine Forest at kilometer 36 from Hot District, Ob Luang National Park, with wondrous stone cliffs overlooking Mae Chaem River.
The final stretch of the route is on flatland from Hot District to Chiang Mai, a distance of 88 kilometers. Anyone who makes the trip of thousand bends gets a certificate of merit from the Province of Mae Hong Son.
Category: Chiang Mai