Friday, January 30, 2015

The Countryside of Thailand

Getting Outside the City

I grew up for part of my life in South Texas where the spaces were so wide open it would almost make you nervous. You could drive for miles and miles on straight roads and only see the occasional cow. 

While living in Japan, there wasn't quite the same space available to explore, bu there were still areas with very few people and long stretches of road winding around the coast.
And now in Thailand I've often found myself driving roads that loop out into the countryside, taking me to many interesting places and mountain views.

The other week I drove up to the top of Suthep mountain, where there was a few cherry trees with pink blossoms. It was a nice area, and reminded me of Nago mountain in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Trees on Doi Suthep
Last weekend I did the Samoeng loop, which takes you around Suthep mountain, past Samoeng village. It is a very popular drive that takes a couple hours. There are some neat rural areas with little villages populating a hillside. And there are some great views of the mountains as well.
A viewpoint along the Samoeng loop

Although I do enjoy landscapes, I'm going to be trying to share more photos of the people who live in these ares in the coming months.

Sunlight coming through the clouds over the hills of Northern Thailand.

I hope you enjoyed the photos from Northern Thailand, leave a comment if you have questions or thoughts.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mountain Climbing

In the last few weeks I've been to the top of the first and third tallest mountains in Thailand.

But the experiences were very different.

Doi Inthanon

In late December I started off in the morning driving south. It was a 100 km drive each way, which on a moped feels a lot longer.

I use the term, 'mountain climbing' loosely with Doi Inthanon. In this case, by climb, I mean drive. (by the way, 'Doi' means mount or mountain in Thai)
The view from a little ways below the summit of Doi Inthanon.

There is a road that winds all the way up to the very top of the tallest mountain in Thailand. And at the top you are greeted with a rather unspectacular view of an old military base turned weather station, and a small glimpse of the horizon.
A little further back down the mountain there are some interesting temples with a great view, and there is a hike you can do that probably offers more opportunities for nice views (and mountain climbing).

It was a fun trip, but I was glad to get off the moped by the end of it.

Doi Chiang Dao

Doi Chiang Dao at Sunrise
Now this was some mountain climbing, at least much more so than Doi Inthanon.

I joined in with a father son group that does this trip every year. We left early on a Friday, traveling about an hour north of Chiang Mai to the ranger station near the base of the mountain.

This wasn't going to be an easy drive to the top, in fact, there are no roads to the summit. If you wanted to reach the peak of the third tallest mountain in Thailand, you had to hike there, over slippery trails carrying all your food, water and camping supplies.

But after a few hours of hiking, we made it to our camping spot for the night just a few hundred meters from the summit.

Camping so close to the top of the mountain gave me plenty of opportunities to enjoy the views, and I did, climbing up for the sunset and sunrise, and it was well worth the climb.

The following day everyone packed up and made the (much easier) hike back down the mountain. It was a great time of enjoying the outdoors, and building some new friendships.

Both mountains were a lot of fun, and offered different sights and experiences.

Sunset from the Summit of Doi Chiang Dao

I also enjoyed the chance to snap a few pictures, which I hope you enjoy!

Thanks for visiting!