Cory and I headed out early to find an open car rental agency in Chiang Mai. We had a bit of a problem, though—I had my driver’s license but didn’t want to drive, while Cory didn’t have his driver’s license but did want to drive. I ended up renting a little Toyota in my name (for only 900 baht, or around $28 US), but Cory drove all day. We figured that if Cory got pulled over without a license, we’d be able to bribe our way out of it. We picked up Anna and headed southwest from Chiang Mai toward Doi Inthanon National Park.
After an hour or so of driving, we pulled off onto the side road that headed to the first waterfall of the day. None of us had yet eaten, so we ordered breakfast/lunch at a little restaurant not too far from the waterfall. We placed our orders at a little shack and were then escorted to a lovely little eating area down by the river.
We ordered some veggie stir fry with rice and some green papaya salad. The papaya salad was the best I’d yet had in Thailand, so I ordered another plateful.
Then we hit up a couple waterfalls, namely Mae Klang Waterfall and then Wachirathan Waterfall. The first was really nice, but the second was bigger and even more impressive.
Having taken in our fill of waterfalls, we kept driving up the mountain. Doi Inthanon, the namesake of Doi Inthanon National Park, is the tallest mountain in Thailand. You can drive the top, which is exactly what we did. (It was my second country highpoint, the first being Musala in Bulgaria.) We were up there on a Sunday, and there was some sort of road bike race going on. We passed hundreds of miserable-looking riders as we drove our way up to the top. It was surprisingly chilly up there, almost to the point that we could see our breath. Some of the cyclists weren’t properly attired for the cool weather, as illustrated by this stylish fellow…
Our final stop before heading back to Chiang Mai was The Great Holy Relics Pagoda of Naphamethanidol. It was actually a pair of pagodas perched on top of a ridge, and the views there were great. The sky was overcast, so the pictures and the view didn’t turn out quite as nicely as they could have, but it was still worth the stop.
We eventually made it back to Chiang Mai and successfully returned our rental car. Cory had managed to not get pulled over and not get us killed in some horrible traffic accident, and that’s pretty much the best way to end any day.