Hmong Village at Doi Pui

If you head toward Doi Suthep on the main road, past the main campus of Chiang Mai University, you always find a fleet of red trucks parked in front of the zoo. They are offering transport for tours up the mountain, where other public transport doesn’t go (and private cars are well advised not to, unless they are well-built for mountain driving). There are three destinations: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Bhubing Palace, and Hmong Hilltribe Village. We’ve seen the first two before; today, we go to the third, known locally as Doi Pui.

Beyond the Palace, the road narrows to a single lane, and soon crests the ridge to the southwest side of the mountain. In some places the pavement is so bad, I wonder if they have regular tourist traffic here at all, but maybe that’s just a seasonal glitch from recent heavy rains.

The road ends in the village square. As the four of us (me, Esso, and visiting family) emerge from the back of the truck, we are met by a small boy, maybe 8 or 10 years old, dressed in traditional Hmong clothing. An official welcomer, I wonder? In shy, halting Thai, he offers to be our guide. Hmm, do we need a “guide”? We confer amongst ourselves, but decide to explore the village on our own. It occurs to me to offer him a coin to take his picture, because his costume is so beautiful, but he disappears. And then I see that across the square, there is a whole bunch of kids, all in similar clothes, playing a game with a rope. Not just the official greeter, then.

The main street into the village is lined with shops, of course, and it doesn’t take long to find a weaver offering the kind of cloth the children wear. Her own clothes are even finer (zoom in on photo for detail). I buy a few pieces for a friend who loves fabric art, spending far more than I had planned because they are too lovely to leave behind.

5 weaver

A short walk up the street, we find a side street with a sign pointing to a waterfall and garden. I don’t expect much, because I’ve heard nothing about this before, but they only ask 10 Baht admission (including free use of the toilet!) so we go down.

My expectations are greatly exceeded! Even though it is not yet the season for most blooms, the gardens are rich with color, and permeated with a sense to grace and peace.

Let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

6a garden6b garden7 waterfall

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