Off the beaten track

Ever gone out for the day walking a nature trail and it turns out to be one of the best experiences you’ll have? Well that happened to me last weekend during a hike up the Doi Suthep mountain. So we (my boyfriend and I) started off by doing some research online to find a fun hike and found the nature trail to Wat Palat. It’s a small, lesser known temple within the mountains of Doi Suthep so we thought we would check it out. Driving up Suthep road and parking behind the back entrance to Chiang Mai zoo, we spotted the start of a nature trail with a map in Thai. Not being able to read any of it, we headed along the route anyway.

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Started out at about 4pm so it wasn’t too hot in the famous Thai heat, it took us around 1 hour to reach the temple. The nature trail was quite well used so we knew which way to go. We were literally the only ones around which added to the experience, although hearing the slightest little noise freaked me out.

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Having just rained about an hour before, I had in my mind that the trails would be full of snakes and spiders, thankfully there wasn’t any in sight, well until later but I’ll get on to that. There were mosquitoes everywhere you looked and even with a ton of repellent on, they still swarmed around you, so be prepared! About 20 minutes in, I could hear us getting closer and closer to the sound of water and we found a small waterfall hidden amongst the trees. Unfortunately there wasn’t a way to get down to it so we didn’t get the refreshing break I was longing for.

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Continuing along the trail you have the most breath taking scenery as you walk through the middle of the jungle, it’s amazing what you can find to do here in your spare time.

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Scenery like I’ve never experienced before, and then we reach a view point overlooking the whole of Chiang Mai, it just doesn’t get any better!

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After numerous water breaks, we finally crossed a wooden bridge and reached some steep steps.

IMG_7822The view that meets you at the top is incredible! The most stunning of temples and again an amazing view over Chiang Mai, met by the peak of the waterfall we spotted earlier.

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Just as we reached the top, the inevitable rain started. Hiding under some trees for shelter, we spotted a Monk calling us over to a dry spot, where we spent the next hour learning more about the reason behind training to become a monk and his daily routine. Crazy how much people can fit into one day!IMG_7897

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted what looked like a huge leaf that had fallen from a tree, turns out it was a long grass snake getting closer and closer to us! On closer inspection, my boyfriend realised it had a lizard in its mouth, struggling to keep its hold. Kept us lightly entertained for the next 50 minutes, slowly seeing this lizard getting smaller and smaller, didn’t even know snakes ate lizards!

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After our entertainment during the rain, the guy training as a Monk decided to give us the most amazing guided tour, explaining things we hadn’t thought about before.

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Along the trail up to the temple we had seen a lot of colourful ribbon tied around trees, assuming it was to stop people cutting them down. In actual fact a lot of Buddhists believe the trees have female spirits inside them and the ribbons are there to give them some clothes for dignity. Very interesting to find out!IMG_7794

Walked around the temples for a while, stunned at the amount of effort and detail that had gone in to making them over 600 years ago, it was incredible to see!

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So much history all in one place and one of the nicest temples I have been to in Thailand.

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We eventually made our way down, chasing not only the huge rain cloud above but also the last bit of light before sunset hit! I definitely recommend checking it out one weekend, by far one of the best days I’ve had living in Chiang Mai and some of the most incredible scenery to match too!

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2 thoughts on “Off the beaten track

  1. Pingback: 17 hidden things to do around Chiang Mai! | teflteachingabroad

  2. Pingback: 17 things to do in Chiang Mai!  | teflteachingabroad

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