Another spectacular example of why rainy season in Chiang Mai is such a delight.
I have visited this mountain village before, in the dry season. I was not seduced by its charms that time. Many creekside cafes trying to out-do each other in photo-op quality, but not much substance to support the outward appearance of quaint traditionalism. Not enough water in the creek to make it interesting, either.
But on Esso’s request, we now take an outing on a cloudy-threatening-rainy day, and have a completely new experience.
First, the waterfall above the village is at its prime. (Score one for the rainy season). A short but very steep hike, up a solidly-built stairway of maybe 200 steps (I didn’t count), right alongside the cascades. Every couple of flights, a warning sign. I suppose there’s always some crazy kid trying to take a selfie outside the guard rail, but not today.
In fact, there’s hardly anyone else on the trail. The few visitors we meet are almost all Thai. But there’s plenty of space for seclusion and meditation. (Second point for the rainy season!)
After the waterfall, we drive back down to the village. This is our view on the way down; Chiang Mai is dimly visible in the far distance (obscured by clouds).
The village still has too many too-cute coffee shops, but this time we can enjoy how thoughtfully each one has tried to blend with the beauty of the creek where it is situated. Plus, so many flowers in bloom! (Third point!)
We had planned to include a visit to the local temple, but it is busy with a funeral, so we give that up and go to lunch. Our venue is down the canyon a few kilometers from the village, at a gorgeous resort with amazing, whimsical and divinely-inspired landscaping. The food is delicious, too, and costs no more than it would at a modest eatery in our neighborhood.
The pet rabbits in the bottom photo are living in Bunny Paradise, obviously; fat, happy, and un-predated.
Meanwhile, at the Spirit House in front of the lodge, a similarly-pampered rooster lays claim to the perch, because he’s the Cock, of course.
After lunch, we meander back toward Chiang Mai, hitting a popular Hot Springs along the way. The surrounding resort has the feeling of a theme park; the most popular activity is to buy raw eggs and boil them in the hot water of the spring. But there’s also a lovely bathing pool, where I can soak my well-worked bones. The effort of climbing to the falls leaves no sore muscles after this! No photos in the pool, though, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
I was going to title this How to have a Perfect Day in Chiang Mai in rainy season, but that was too long. You get the point, though.