This trip can be considered another tough trip with more than 6,000 curves.
And with more than 3,000 km. (round trip), but the heart is really calling, so I can't help it, haha.
This trip starts from my parents driving from Surin Province, and I continue to drive from Bangkok to the North.
Let's see our taking parents tour trip, where we will be going?
::::: Day 1 :::::
- Ob Luang National Park
- Kaew Komol Cave
- A Pine Plantation
- Thung Dok Bua Tong
- Mae Surin Waterfall National Park
- Maehongson Walking Street
::::: Day 2 :::::
- Pang Ung
- Ban Rak Thai
- Fish Cave
- Than Tham Lod, Sao Hin Cave, Tukkata Cave, Pee Man Cave
- Doi Kiew Lom (Maehongson-Pai)
- Santichon Village
- Pai Walking Street
::::: Day 3 :::::
- Doi Kiew Lom at Huai Nam Dang National Park
- Mon Jam
- Pong Yaek Keng Koi
- Bhumibol Dam, Thailand biggest dam
This trip is only a 3 days and 4 nights trip. While it is tiring, but it's more than worthy as we also see many "Unseen Thailand" attractions.
Some places, I can't take photos to share with you and some times, it's just so astonishing beauty and can't be described by words.
You need to see it with your own eyes and feel it with you own heart!
:: Above is our rough route of all places during this trip, starting by having parents drive to me at Rangsit.
After that, I will drive north and our very first destination is "Ob Luang National Park" and we hope to reach there in the morning.
I will have the travel code like this, for example, from Bangkok to Ob Luang, I will write the code as 2>>106>>108
The numbers above will be the number of the route of the road, for example:
First, we travel to Asia Highway number 2 towards Mae Pa Sub-district, Toen District.
After that, there will be road split to the left onto road number 106 towards Hot District.
Once we reach Hot District, there will be roundabout and we will follow it and turn right onto road number 108.
This means that our destination will be on road number 108, and then we just need to pay close attention and scan for our destination to see where they are on the road number 108.
:: The journey is not as expected, our body is extremely exhausted. After only 3/5 of the journey.....
We have to stop and sleep at the gas station, we really can't open our eyes. The next thing we know after waking up is that, we are late now.... haha.
Wake up at 6 a.m. and we find out that we are still at the gas station at Toen District. OMG! alright, let's speed up and go on....
On the way, the view is so beautiful and the fog is really heavy that sometimes, we need to slow down.
:: I also drive pass one village and not sure which village is that but the monk is on the alms offering, so we stop the car. Then we offer morning food and take some amazing photography with the light foggy and that atmosphere.
My parents and my sister look very happy, and automatically, my smiles are on my face too because I normally travel alone, haha.
:: Before setting off again, I take my parents to get into couple photos,.Wow, so sweet ^__^
:: Travel a few more hours, we now reach roundabout of Hot District. It is so prominent, you won't miss it!
After seeing this roundabout, we just need to go around and turn right. So now, I choose to relax a little bit by stopping by for some breakfast at Hot District before moving on our journey onto road no. 108 in exploring "Ob Luang".
:: Alright now, our travel will get faster and I will make it as brief as possible.
After having some rest at Hot District, we now go straight to Om Goi District which is just about another 20 km.
Please notice on your right hand side, Ob Luang National Park is exactly right there!!!!
:: For more information, details and history of each attractions, please consult with Google.
For me, Ob Luang is quite ok, beautiful and unique. I think spend about 30 minutes here should be adequate.
But Ob Luang has a way up to see tombs, blah blah blah. So if we were to going up, I think 30 minutes is not enough.
:: However, all this also depends on personal convenience and preference. But for me, 30 minutes is enough.
Before saying farewell, let's take some memorable photo with the sign of Ob Luang National Park and then we are so ready to go onto "Kaew Komol Cave ".
:: During morning, we have to try to spend appropriate time at Ob Luang as we will go onto our next destination late morning.
And this destination is "Kaew Komol Cave". We still travel on road 108 and then change to 1088 later.
108>>1088, and our destination will be on the right hand side.
:: After taking off from Ob Luang for about 5 km., please take a look at your left hand side, you will see tons of pine trees.
Here is Suan Son Bo Kaew, it is the car resting area and photography place. If you have enough time, it is recommended to go down and appreciate the view.
Because the atmosphere here is just like that of Nami Island, South Korea :)
:: It takes about an hour, we will go through Mae Sariang District. The road is fairly nice, not so steep and not so many curves. Well, but it's still something, haha.
Once reaching Mae La Noi District and passing the hospital, there will be the split way on the right.
After turning right, we need to drive about 10 km. and then we will see "Kaew Komol Cave".
:: After we arrive here, we need to buy a mini bus (Song Taew) ticket in order to go into the national park.
It's 40 THB/trip, so it's 80 THB/round trip and it will take us to the entrance of the cave.
The interesting things are here:
There are 5 rooms in the cave in which each room is typically displaying stalactites and stalagmites, but for the 5th room, it will be 30 meters deeper. It is the most beautiful room in which full of pure calcite crystals that have yet been exploited.
This entire unaffected calcium crystals are to be seen from the floor to the wall. Some are in needle shape and some are in whitest corals shape like snowflakes.
:: Normally, photos are not allowed in this area because it could affect this white calcite crystals.
I try to find photos but this is what I could come up with. Well, you guys can try to imagine along.
Once you enter the cave, this kind of white crystals are around you, and it's all white around the cave. Indeed, speechlessly astonishing! > <
:: After having fantastic time of visiting this "Unseen Thailand" like Kaew Komol Cave.
Now it's time to accelerating our journey to enjoy "Tung Dok Bua Tong" and "Mae Surin Waterfall National Park".
The cons side of this plan is that the chauffeur can get really tired as we have to move quickly to Tung Dok Bua Tong before the sunset.
:: And now, the scenery on both sides is villages and mountains. We can drive and enjoy its breeze relaxingly.
After leaving Kaew Komol Cave, we then go straight on road number 108.
And we will see the sign of "Tung Dok Bua Tong" on the way, please take a careful look :)
:: It takes approximately 2-3 hours and we will drive pass Tung Dok Bua Tong. But do not stop yet.
Let's continue driving to enjoy the tall and beautiful waterfall called "Mae Surin Waterfall".
This waterfall has a certain part where it goes 300 m. straight to the ground. But my this very trip, I just can view it over the viewpoint.
If you wish to have a close appreciation, you would have to walk down about 2-3 hours, haha.
After that, we just need to return and take photos with Tung Dok Bua Tong. At the same time, it's just the right time to also enjoy sunset : )
:: Once we finish our beautiful Mae Surin Waterfall, we return to the same route to take photos with Tung Dok Bua Tong.
But it's a pity that most of the yellow flowers seem to leave their trees, only some to be seen.
However, the beauty is still there for our appreciation.
And the below photo, I got it from other friends who get to see this yellow flowers while they were still in their most cheerful and blossom season. I have to say I'm very jealous now, haha > <
(Photo credit: http://travel.loginlike.com/)
:: For Tung Dok Bua Tong, the best season to visit is from the mid to the end of November only.
However, it also depends on the weather of each year, so it's best to check before you actually go : )
(Photo credit: http://www.lp-pao.go.th/)
:: After admiring enough of Tung Dok Bua Tong atmosphere, it's now evening.
The weather starts to get colder and we have about 1-2 hours to drive into downtown Mae Hongson Province.
According to my plan, we will go to Mae Hongson walking street and find a place to stay in town.
And then we will go enjoy the morning floating fog over the water at Pang Ung.
But you can also choose to stay at Pang Ung, it that's convenient.
For me, I didn't stay there because I think Pang Ung is near, not too far.
If we wake up early to enjoy the morning atmosphere there, we should have enough time. And I also want to save some money :)
:: And about 2 hours, we now arrive Mae Hongson tiredly as we have been driving the whole day.
We search for our accommodation via internet while we were driving in.
I have to say that we walk in for all of our accommodation. So I don't quite remember the name as we only focus on economic price accommodation.
After we put our luggage at the place, we walk to the Mae Hongson Walking Street to find something to eat. The walking street here is similar to other walking street.
What different is that, here is fewer less people and quite small. We just walk for a few minutes and it's the end of the walk.
As we are really tired, we walk and eat and then are more than ready to sleep at our room. Meanwhile, we also set alarm for 5 a.m in awaiting for new day to come :)
::::: Summary of first day expennses :::::
- The petrol (gas car) is about 1,300 km and it costs 2,925 THB which means 730 THB/each.
- National park fee, we come during Father's Day so it's all free.
- Meal is average 150 THB, 3 meals = 450 THB
- Minibus fee (Song Taew), each is 80 THB
- Accommodation fee is 120 THB per person
----- In conclusion, during the first day, each person costs 1,380 THB -----
:: When the alarm sounds at 5 a.m., my mom pulls a pillow and hit me like a child and say "wake up, wake up, it's time to wake up son", haha.
Well, now I'm already more than 20 years old, haha. And then my dad, mom, my sister and me are all in hurry, taking shower, packing and ready for checking out.
Now, we are more than ready to go on our second day journey. We drive out of the city and not too far, on the way, there's a lot of fog.
The cold breezy wind is hitting our faces (we open the car window). We also stop by to get some pork stick barbecue. While we enjoy our food, we can also enjoy the view on the way.
Not so long and we arrive "Pang Ung", another place that we want to come so so and so much!!!
:: For me, I think we can take about an hour and it should be enough.
I think we need to be there by 7 a.m. so that we can enjoy the fog floating over the water and take villagers' rafting boat which I think it's limited if I remember it correctly.
The price is 150 THB/boat and we can just relax and enjoy the atmosphere, totally letting our body relaxed and flowing with the nature.
:: From Pang Ung, we take about half an hour to go to Rak Thai village. This is another place that I'm highly recommended and you all should really come and visit.
The atmosphere is beyond words to describe. To go taste some tea and to breathe the morning fresh and to....
Eat Yunnan pork knuckle and hot Mantou among the lower than 20 degree celsius. It's just simply too fin (Thai slang- very happy) > <.
:: Once we have our stomach happily filled, now we will go straight down to other attractions.
Do not worry that we will get lost because the places that I mark now are on the way to go to Pai.
On the way from Rak Thai Village to Pai District, there're many places to stop by for a visit.
For me, I only choose to stop for 3-4 places which are Phu Klon (Health Mud Spa), Fish Cave, Than Tham Lod and Kiw Lom (Pang Ung-Pai).
Our first stop is "Phu Klon".
(Photo credit : http://phuklon.co.th)
Here are the price for each service : )
The second place is "Fish Cave".
:: Fish cave has the rule that the fish cannot be fishing for meal so there're a lot of fish here.
More importantly, most of the fish are so so big. Here, it's quite chill and relax, to stop by here is not a bad idea.
After finishing our relaxing time, now let's go to pay respect to the hermit before we are moving onto or next place. And the fee to get into this national park is 40 THB :)
The third place is "Tham Nam Lod".
:: I like this Tham Nam Lod so much. We are walking into the water and sitting on the bamboo raft into the dark cave.
While we are in the cave, there's one lamp for each raft to lighten up so we can see the way and the feeling under the dark cave.
It seems like fish are swimming and come near our raft, so I try to feed them with bread and fish food.
Oh wow, the fish start to jump and fighting over the food joyfully. Inside the cave, the staff will also stop the raft and let us to walk a bit.
We have about 3 caves of stalactites and stalagmites which are Sao Hin Cave, Tukkata Cave, and Pee Man Cave. And finally we will go out the other side of the cave, very grand! ><
:: Here are some more additional information as I don't want you to miss anything, haha.
You can travel to Tham Nam Lod all year round, but you need to take the bamboo raft inside, tourists cannot go inside on their own.
Since the inside cave is dark so we must use the service guide along with the lamp. And the cost is 150 THB per team.
For 4 tourists, the raft is 550 THB/team.
It takes about 2 hours to tour the cave. The visit is divided into 2 periods. The first period is the visit of 2 big caves, the Sao Hin Luang Cave and Tukkata Cave. And on the second period is the visit of Pee Ma cave. And this place is open daily from 08.00 - 17.00 p.m.
For more information, please contact the Natural Study and Wildlife Tham Nam Lod Service Center at Tel: 0 5361 721
Tourism Cooperation Center of Mae Hongson Province, Tel: 0 5361 2982-3
Northern Thailand Tourism Authority Area 1, Tel: 0-5324-8604, 0-5324-8607, 0-5324-1466
And the last stop is "Doi Kiw Lom (Pang Ung- Pai).
:: On the way, both sides are filled with dominant and outstandingly tall mountains. It looks like they are standing in line.....just to welcome us.
Here, they will be about 2-3 viewpoints which situated the market to sell hill tribes' products.
We can buy some souvenir. And whether to stop or not is totally depending on personal convenience
And our last stop is Doi Kiw Lom Viewpoint (Pang Ung-Pai) before we are going to stay in downtown Pai, it ischilling and relaxing :)
:: Even before we realize it, we are already at Pai District.
Since we all used to come here, so we are not so excited. We then go to Santichon Village for hill tribe swing before going to our place for showering and unpacking.
Soon after that, we go to chill on the Pai Walking Street, the street that many people are dreamt of ><
For the walking street shots, please allow me to take photos from other Blogs here....
Because I was having too much fun walking, eating, and chilling that I forgot all the photography time, haha.
:: On this street, you will see a lot of hidden energy. Many ideas you never thought it could come out...
But it's the great great work here!!! There're many restaurants that we have to stop by and to see to taste and to admire the owners....
Who create this many unique menus in combining with the bowls that have been created through great ideas.
Some idea can easily make money, you don't even have to do anything, just standing still. That's right, I'm talking about "The standing still man". He would take off his shirts and only have shorts.
Then there will be color and the brush in front of him, as well as the tip box. We can tip him as much as we want and then we can start body painting arts on him.
This is another color of Pai Walking Street, I think he could make several thousands or even ten thousands THB per night.
But it's really a pity that I couldn't find the photos. So please find them on internet, I think there'll be plenty of them.
When the atmosphere is right, the music lover like me also cannot miss to try singing on the street to entertain the walkers here.
I borrow their favorite guitar and start to play the music that I feel like. Plying, singing, and smiling, someone stop to see and take some photos.
And someone even stay and listen to the end of the song. Well, this is all the pure last happy moment of the day. After that, we go back to our place and take some rest and get ready for tomorrow journey.
:::: Summary of second day expenses :::::
- The petrol (gas car) is about 300 km and it costs 660 THB which means 165 THB/each.
- National park fee, today we have to pay because it's no longer the Father's Day, each pays 80 THB.
- Meal is average 150 THB, 3 meals = 450 THB
- The raft at Pang Ung is 150 THB each, so each person is 75 THB.
- To get into Tham Nam Lod is 550 THB, and 140 THB each.
- Accommodation fee here is a bit expensive but negotiable, each is 150 THB.
----- In conclusion, during this second day, each person costs 2,450 THB -----
:: On our last morning, we start our journey very early morning like usual. We now leave Pai in order to enjoy the sea fog on Doi Kiw Lom.
I'm sorry that I can't provide the map here, I try to find but cannot find them, sorry.
The fee to entrance the national park is 40 THB each. With lower than 10 degree Celsius, many people are standing on their cold feet, not only us. Well, when there's cold wind, naturally, the fog will be less as well.
The fog will not be formed less when there's no wind. But even with this little sea fog, its beauty is not making our impressive any less than it supposed to be.
At the same time, we can watch the show of the nature, called "the sunrise" :)
:: What is more amazing is that, this play of "the sunrise", we need not to pay a penny.
But the impression and this grandness is always imprinted in my heart, never fade away, haha. Just think about it, I miss it so much already.
:: Now the weather starts to change from cold, to warm to hot. We then also go straight down from the mountain to visit Mon Jam before going home.
But Mon Jam at noon is not so different from hell even though we are in the winter. On the mountain, it's also extremely hot during noon, haha
Well, at least we have been there. And I want to say that the food up here at Mon Jam is very delicious, so let's find sometime to give it a try here :)
:: We didn't spend much time up here, probably about 30 minutes as it seems like our soul is flying out from our body.
Well, once I realize that this is our last place and we need to say Good Bye, I immediately feel powerless and exhausted as I'm driving out of Chiang Mai city.
While waving bye bye to the city, my heart is saying "I have to come back, I'm definitely coming back", haha.
On the way, there's a place that we didn't think to pay a visit.
Once I see the sign of "Bhumibol Dam" on the side, I told my sister to search for some information and after we learnt that this is the biggest dam in Thailand.
I think it's no surprise to stop and see it for oneself once in life time.
:: Thank you very much for following our journey until here. The information may not be so firm, but you can adapt this plan to your own plan :)
Places that I have visited, mostly are considered main tourist attractions and some are Unseen Thailand.
I hope that you guys can get some tips or the guideline for backpacking trip along this route, Thank you very much :)
:::: Summary of last day expenses :::::
- The petrol (gas car) is about 1,200 km and it costs 2,640 THB which means 660 THB/each.
- National park fee, today we have to pay because it's no longer the Father's Day, each pays 60 THB.
- Meal is average 150 THB, 3 meals = 450 THB
----- In conclusion, during this second day, each person costs 3,620 THB -----
(The rest are some souvenir and others expenses)::
Thank you very much :)