2012 Backpacking to Northern Thailand day 1,2 @ Chiangmai

Northern Thailand Adventure, Mountains, Rivers and Temples
6th to 27th November 2012
(L-R) Bernard Lee, Tay Seok Hooi, Lee Kam Boon, Chew Leng Soon, Ching Neng Bin at the Wat Mahatat, Ayutthaya Temple Park

The Journey: Kuala Lumpur > Chiangmai > Thaton > Chiangrai > Phu Chi Fa > Phayao > Chiangmai > Mae Sariang > Mae Sot > Bangkok > Kanchanaburi > Sangklaburi > Ayutthaya > Bangkok > Kuala Lumpur

The Highlights:
1. Trekked the Highest Spot in Thailand on day 2
2. The longest river boat ride of 4 hours on day 4
3. The largest peak at Phu Chi Fa on day 7
4. The largest lake at Phayao on day 8
5. The biggest temple at Wat Sri Khom Kham on day 9
6. The longest songtaew ride (a 5 and a half hour) on day 12
7. Cycled to the westernmost point of Thailand on day 13
8. The best dinner at Ban Khun Mae Restaurant on day 14
9. First two Malaysian to swim in River Kwai on day 15
10. Walked the longest wooden bridge of 1.5km on day 17

Day 01 (06.11.12) AK 1916 K.Lumpur – Chiangmai (2,300km)

We departed LCCT at 12.45pm and arrived at ChiangMai at 2.30pm local time. Took a 11 seater van (B120) to Lanna House Hotel at Tha Phe Road. The first temple visited beside our hotel was Wat Phan On founded in 1501. We later walked towards Wat Phra Singh and had coffee along the way at Wavee Coffee Cafe. Visited Wat Phra Singh just in time for the evening chanting by more than 100 monks. We then walked to Garden Restaurant for dinner; however, the food was not as good. From there we walked to the Night Bazaar and then to Pantip hotel to book the day tour to Doi Inthanon National Park (B950 pp) the next day.

Sleeping: Lanna House at B700 a/c room for 2pax
Lily Yap, Cindy Chong, Tay Seok Hooi, Ching Neng Bin, Chew Leng Soon, Bernard Lee at the Chiangmai Airport

Lee Kam Boon and I at the Tha Phae Gate, Chiangmai
Tha Phae Gate is the eastern gateway into the old city of Chiangmai. It means "raft landing", and in ancient time when people would arrive in the city on raft.

Wat Phan On was founded in 1501. The gilded chedi and two Buddha images are the main attraction. The temple is in the old city center on Ratchadamnoen Road.

Within the walls of the ancient city are several old temples of interest. Among them, Wat Phra Singh is perhaps the largest and most interesting.

Wat Phra Singh was founded in the fourteenth century to enshrine the ashes of King Kam Fu.

The large 'wiharn' (prayer hall) with an intricately carved front and the beautiful altar

Captain Bernard Lee at Garden Restaurant for a Thai dinner
This serious looking dog at Garden Restaurant

The Chiang Mai Night Market is considered one of the cheapest places for tourists to shop in Thailand, owing to its close proximity to the source of products and the lower cost of living in Chiang Mai. It is situated along a three-block stretch of Chan Klan Road in the heart of the city, and within walking distance of most hotels.

The popular open-air foot massage in the night bazaar for TB150 an hour

Had very good supper at Chiang Mai Warorot Market - the delicious 'pork leg stew'

Kam Boon with the 'pork leg' and Cindy enjoying the fruit juice

Kam Boon had his foot massaged at 11pm after a tiring walk

Sleeping: Lanna House at TB700 a/c room for 2pax

Day 02 (07.11.12) Chiangmai – day tour to Doi Inthanon National Park (60km)

After hotel breakfast, the van came to pick us up at 8.30am. It was a one and half hour drives south west up the Thanon Thong Chai mountain range to The Highest Spot in Thailand at Doi Inthanon. At the end of the road, we had to trek up to the peak at 2565.44m (8415ft) high. We then trekked downhill to a ranger station and a rest area.

The van then picked us up to visit the 2 Royal Pagodas – Naphamethanidon and Naphapholphumisiri. Visited a 80m Wachirathan Waterfall and had free lunch and the best coffee (B40) beside the waterfalls.

We visited another 40m Sirithan Waterfall, a Karen tribe village then to the Royal Agricultural Project. We arrived at the hotel at 5pm. After a short rest we then walked out for a refreshing fruit juice at the Wat Mahawan beside the hotel. Here we also enjoyed this ‘Tongsen’ leg massage (using hammer and wooden stick). We had fried rice for dinner by the road side and later walked through the night bazaar.

Sleeping: Lanna House at B700 a/c room for 2pax
Entrance to the Doi Inthanon National Park

The highest spot in Thailand at 2,565m (8,415 ft) - Kam Boon, Ching, Lily and Chew

The small memorial shrine at the top of Doi Inthanon and a board walk to explore the park

This morning temperature is at 9c - the park is situated about 60 km from Chiangmai

The Naphamethanidon Chedi is a brown-colored stupa built to celebrate King Bhumibol's 60th birthday.

The Naphamethanidon Chedi on top of a hill

The Naphapholphumisiri Chedi, dedicated to Queen Sirikit on her 60th birthday anniversary in 1992, near the summit of Doi Inthanon. Both stupas were constructed by the Royal Thai Armed Force.

The Naphamethanidon Chedi
An elevator up to the chedi
The wall engraving at The Naphamethanidon Chedi
I was shot at, while taking photos

I am paying my respect at The Naphamethanidon Chedi shrine

Kam Boon also paying his respect at The Naphamethanidon Chedi shrine

A mountain view from Naphamethanidon Chedi

The garden view from Naphamethanidon Chedi

The steps and elevator up to the Naphapholphumisiri Chedi
Naphapholphumisiri Chedi is a purple-colored stupa 
built to in conjunction with the 60th birthday of Queen Sirikit
The beautiful paintings on the wall

The garden view from Naphapholphumisiri Chedi

The view of both the stupas together with the monks

The view of Naphamethanidon Chedi from Naphapholphumisiri Chedi

The puppies from the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon

Inthanon Royal Project Research Station is an initiative by King Bhumibol to improve the living standards of hill tribes. It occupies 243 acres of Khun Klang, established in 1979 as part of His Majesty's Royal Project Foundation.

The Black Swans playing in the pond

The research station carries out work on developing marketable crops, ranging from fruit trees to flowering plants, to help the surrounding hill tribe villages, composed chiefly of Hmong and Karen tribes.

Greenhouse for flowering plants, ferns and cacti

This was our lunch beside the Wachirathan Waterfall

The Wachirathan Waterfall is the first waterfall on the way down from the twin stupas and is the most impressive and powerful falling some 80m. The falls is wide and there are plenty of walkways to experience the waterfall.

The waterfall was quite spectacular. Lily and I spent some time wandering around the edge of the falls while trying to avoid getting soaked from the spray.

The water which plummets over the edge of a high cliff into a deep pool below creating spectacular rainbows

The spectacular rainbows

Lily and I waited for our special cup of hot coffee recommended by our tour guide Peter tel:+66871893501 (chiangmaionvacation@gmail.com)

Our tour guide Peter tel:+66871893501 (chiangmaionvacation@gmail.com), Lily and Lee Kam Boon enjoying a cup of special hot coffee

Sirithan Waterfall is a medium sized waterfall (around 40 metres) that drops down two large steps. From the main road there is a short path through the jungle to access the falls. There is also a viewing deck, which is a great place to take some photos.

A typical Karen tribal house - they live in bamboo houses raised on stilts, beneath which live their domestic animals, pigs, chickens and buffalos. The mountain-dwelling Karens practice swidden agriculture, and the plains-dwellers, for the most part, cultivate irrigated paddy fields.

Hmong tribe - mother and daughter

A Karen lady smoking a pipe

Karen women are noted for their skill in weaving, which is done on a back-strap loom.

We had fried rice for dinner by the road side and later walked through the night bazaar.

Day Expenses     THB total   per pax

1 Telephone card top up 100 14
Taxi from airport to Lanna House 120 17
Drinks and coffee at Wawee Cafe 565 81
Dinner at Garden Restaurant 980 140
Lanna House hotel B700 x 4 room 2,800 400
2 Fried rice dinner @ road side hawker stall 280 40
Coconut B40 x 7 140 20
Lanna House hotel B700 x 4 rooms 2,800 400

Day 1 and 2 @ Chiangmai
Day 3 @ Chiangmai – Thaton
Day 4 @ Thaton by River Boat to Chiangrai
Day 5 @ White Temple of Chiangrai

Day 6 @ Chiangrai - Mae Salong and Mae Fah Luang
Day 7 @ Chiangrai – Phu Chi Fa
Day 8 @ Phu Chi Fa – Phayao
Day 9,10 @ Phayao – Chiangmai - Mae Sariang

Day 11,12 @ Mae Sariang – Mae Sot
Day 13,14 @ Mae Sot - Bangkok
Day 15,16 @ Bangkok – Kanchanaburi - Sangkhlaburi
Day 17,18 @ Sangkhlaburi – Ayutthaya
Day 19-22 @ Ayutthaya - Bangkok – Butterworth


  1. A nice and rewarding start for a mountainous trip up Thailand's north.
    You fellas must have done some homework before departure from
    LCCT. Will use your travelogue as a guideline for food, sight-seeing and accommodation for my future trip to Northern Thailand.

    Regards from

  2. Hi Neng Bin, thank you, you are great, always on the move! and greater, share your expedition with others! and greatest still, promoting backpacking as a way of life. Have a nice trip to the last frontier.

  3. Hi Neng Bin,
    linked... have a look at www.hainan.com.my at the HOME - Backpacking block (scroll to the bottom).

  4. minder benvat20 March, 2013

    Hi, Ching as usual enjoyed viewing your photos. You and your friends are blessed that u get to go to interesting places. warmest regards.

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