Hiking the Tallest Mountain in Thailand – Doi Inthanon National Park ดอยอินทนนท์

Hiking the Tallest Mountain in Thailand – Doi Inthanon ดอยอินทนนท์

If the city of Chiang Mai gets too hot and congested, a good trip away is Doi Inthanon National Park. Driving, it’s about an hour south to the entrance of the park and quite a bit longer to reach the peak at 2,565 meters (8,415 ft).

Trekking up the mountain

Trekking up the mountain with students

Views from the top

Views from the top

Hiking into the clouds

Hiking into the clouds

In the clouds in Doi Inthanon

In the clouds at Doi Inthanon

Mountainous Doi Inthanon

Mountainous Doi Inthanon

Apart from hiking, Doi Inthanon has many other offerings…

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

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Enormous and unusual insects…IMG_0897IMG_0896IMG_0882IMG_0973
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A small praying mantis at our bungalow

A small praying mantis at our bungalow

The most incredible golden chrysalis I've ever seen

The most incredible golden chrysalis I’ve ever seen

Big beautiful blue butterflies

Big beautiful blue butterflies

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Different types of accommodation…

Basic bungalows

Basic bungalows

Indigenous Karen homestay

Indigenous Karen homestay

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A bit more upscale digs

A bit more upscale digs

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IMG_1249I’ve stayed in all types of rooms there – from the national park dorms with students, to Karen homestays on the ground of a bamboo hut with a tour group, to basic bungalows with friends, to slightly more upscale rooms with colleagues – each one gives a different experience of the park.

Of course there is wildlife…

Water buffalow

Water buffalo

Black Swan

Black Swan

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piglets

piglets

and the ubiquitous dogs and chickens

the ubiquitous dogs and chickens

and sometimes snakes that bit off a bit more than they could chew

sometimes a snake that bit off a bit more than it could chew











cows

cows














The topography is varied…

Mountainous

Mountainous

Mountainside with waterfalls

Mountainside with waterfalls

forests

tropical forests

more developed trails in the forest

more developed trails in the forest

wats

stupas on mountaintops

Terraced rice fields

Terraced  fields

Manicured areas

Manicured areas

Greenhouses for the Royal Project agriculture

Greenhouses for the Royal Project agriculture

Inside a greenhouse

Inside a greenhouse

Gorgeous nature…

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IMG_1264IMG_4702And the things that are quintessentially Thai…

Monks in a garden

A monk in a garden

Cute nature

Cute nature

Goofy products

Goofy items – Mr. Popcorn whiskey

Delicious coffee everywhere

Delicious coffee everywhere

Freshly roasted

Freshly roasted and served

Kanom (Thai snacks) wrapped in banana leaves

Kanom (Thai snacks) wrapped in banana leaves

Herding cows on a motorbike

Herding cows on a motorbike and with a bamboo stick

...and signs that make you wonder

Signs that make you wonder

It’s well worth a trip there. You will need a guide for hiking, and make sure to pack your coat – it’s significantly cooler than the city Chiang Mai.

Beautiful Doi Inthanon

Beautiful Doi Inthanon

Daily Bits of Joy ประจำวันปิติ

Daily Bits of Joy ประจำวันปิติ

Living in Chiang Mai gives me a dose of elation on a daily basis. In the morning, this is the beauty I see:

This tree greets me everyday as I walk into school.

This tree greets me everyday as I walk into work at Panyaden School.

Walking to the office includes bananas and Bodhi trees.

On my way to the office includes bananas and Bodhi trees.

My new classroom

My new classroom

The beginning of the rainy season viewed from my classroom. Ahh, a relief from the heat.

The beginning of the rainy season viewed from my classroom. Ahh, a relief from the heat.

Jubilant children running through puddles.

Jubilant children running through puddles.

Blooming lotus in my backyard. บัวบาน

Blooming lotus in my backyard. บัวบาน

Buddha image delighting in the lotus

Buddha image delighting in the lotus

All of nature reminding us to be mindful of each moment. Everything is temporary. Notice beauty.

ดอกบัว

ดอกบัว

108 Reasons I Love Thailand

108 Reasons I Love Thailand

In one way or another, I think all these topics have been covered on this blog, and if they haven’t been, they will be soon. Here is a list that took me about 30 minutes to put together. It’s not really in any particular order, it’s just more what immediately came to mind.

108 Reasons I Love Thailand

  1. the people
  2. friendliness
  3. food
  4. geckos
  5. freedom and acceptance
  6. som dtam
  7. local markets
  8. wats
  9. elephants
  10. yoga
  11. smiling people
  12. birds
  13. tuk tuks
  14. impossible loads on motorbikes
  15. beaches
  16. limestone karsts
  17. Thai massage for about $5 an hour available everywhere
  18. how inexpensive everything is
  19. beautiful traditional thai clothing
  20. silk
  21. rice fields
  22. amazing fruit
  23. jasmine flower garlands
  24. freedom of children
  25. respect for teachers
  26. butterflies
  27. politeness
  28. tinkling temple bells
  29. Buddhism
  30. older women dressed in beautiful sarongs
  31. beautiful pottery
  32. safety
  33. generosity
  34. orchids
  35. water buffalo
  36. Thai people following traditions
  37. a like-minded farang community
  38. art infused in everything
  39. cycling in the Thai countryside
  40. independent dogs
  41. fireflies
  42. thunderstorms
  43. Thai culture
  44. herbal wisdom
  45. monks in orange robes everywhere
  46. pad pahk boon
  47. khao niow 
  48. chirping of geckos
  49. wooden Lanna style houses
  50. spirit houses
  51. wrapped trees
  52. vegetarian food
  53. prik nam pla
  54. pahk canna
  55. meditation
  56. fish ponds
  57. gold leaf
  58. wai greeting
  59. sustainability
  60. delicious eggs
  61. Panyaden
  62. Thai language has no verb conjugations
  63. sound of the tokay gecko
  64. smell of jasmine
  65. scent of plumeria
  66. candles
  67. incense
  68. Songkran
  69. Loi Krathong
  70. komloy
  71. gentleness of spirit
  72. turquoise waters
  73. longtail boats
  74. coconut
  75. kanom
  76. non-aggression
  77. hot to warm all year
  78. Buddha images everywhere
  79. green rice fields with blue mountain silhouettes
  80. English books available nearly everywhere
  81. banana leaf wrapped local street food
  82. motorbikes with side cars
  83. smoky scented air
  84. bia Chang
  85. good coffee
  86. ease of life
  87. hilarious badly translated English signs
  88. tree roots taking over old buildings
  89. chickens running everywhere
  90. ancient architecture
  91. humility
  92. tropical fruit smoothies for 20 baht
  93. old people out and about
  94. babies, children, always with families
  95. beautiful swirly Thai letters and numbers
  96. the sound of monks chanting in the distance
  97. golden wats juxtaposed with the green hillside
  98. laughing and smiling comes easily
  99. foot massage
  100. songs of frogs and crickets
  101. Chiang Mai
  102. sidecars
  103. dok rak flowers
  104. gardenias
  105. fan palms
  106. swimming in waterfalls, lakes, and tiny waves
  107. colors
  108. patience

This list is certainly not extensive, and I’m sure there are at least 108 more reasons I love Thailand.

Why 108 you ask? It is a sacred number in Buddhism. There are 108 prayer beads on a mala. 108 is also the number of defilements to overcome before achieving enlightenment.

Local Swimming Hole and สนุก (Sanuk)

Local Swimming Hole and สนุก (Sanuk)

It’s no secret, Thailand is hot. Now we’re in the rainy season, but there is still plenty of sun to be had. My friends asked if I wanted to go swimming in a local spot 5 minutes away from where we teach. Why not?

Getting the rafts blown up

Jumping for joy into the water

Even though it was cloudy, being in the water was refreshing. We were the only ones there swimming. The only other person we spotted was a lone Thai fisherman in the distance. We figured it didn’t really advertise that you should swim here, but there didn’t seem to be any signs prohibiting it either.

Apart from this…

…the other fun was swimming across the reservoir, climbing up the wall…

…running and…

…jumping off the high wall. Nice form Tracey and Jessica!

There was a restaurant up on top so Andrew and I went to get a soda manao – soda water with lime, a favorite thirst quencher of mine.

Signs in Thailand can be hilarious at mastering the obvious.

Sometimes it’s just good to order something bizarre on the menu that sounds a little bit naughty. We had no idea what it would be.

Ruby Crystal Balls with Coconut Cream (or in phonetic Thai Tabtimkrob – I think, which doesn’t sound any better) Even after eating some, I really don’t know what the ruby crystal balls were made from. 555!

After trying mysterious snacks, showering off the quarry water, and heading to the city, it was time to relax again with a Thai massage – wonderful as always.

Next, it was time for a Mexican themed dinner at a Thai cafe, naturally. How much do I love Chiang Mai? So so so much!

Yao, our lovely chef, at Bird’s Nest Cafe

Rose and Rachel having conversations with hands

musical hats

guitars and cats

giggles with Rose

and smiles-o-plenty with Rachel and Matthew

It might look like it, but I’m not on holiday. I do work Monday through Friday from 7:30 – 4:00, I take Thai classes, yoga classes, workout, meditate regularly, sometimes volunteer, and I just started ceramics class. An important thing that I’ve learned from dhamma talks, yoga, mediation, and this incredible Buddhist country I live in is that it’s good to keep life in balance.

สนุก.

 

สนุก (Sanuk) is a significant Thai word that means fun. สนุกดี (sanuk dee) means to be fun or enjoyable, but literally translates to ‘fun good’. Fun is good. Maybe this is part of the reason Thai people smile so much – they’ve figured out work and play can both be fun and it’s essential to have a balance of both. Life cannot be in balance without a healthy dose of สนุก.

Mother’s Day Rice Planting

Mother’s Day Rice Planting

Mother’s Day in Thailand is on the Queen’s birthday – August 12. This time of year the rice fields are just being replanted. Today at school we planted rice in honor of mothers everywhere.

I see it as being symbolic of growth and nourishment – just like what a mom does for her children.

Walking to the rice field

Earthen bricks (adobe, though I don’t think they use that word here)

getting ready to plant

Rice starts

learning how to plant from Fon

What a beautiful way to say thanks mom.

This guy was much like me: we loved the mud between our toes, standing in the muddy water, and plugging in the rice. We could have planted rice for hours.

planting the paddy is almost done

Soon the field will be filled with  vibrant green. Young rice fields are so beautiful this time of year. Love to all mothers, especially mother earth.