Cycling Doi Inthanon from Mae Chaem
Ride 14.3 miles gaining 6,337’ at 8.1% average grade.
This is the less travelled but more difficult approach to the Rooftop of Thailand.
Doi Inthanon National Park was named in honour of King Inthawichayanon, the seventh ruling king of Chiang Mai (1870-1897). During his life King Inthawichayanon was concerned about the forests in northern Thailand and wanted to act to preserve this land. After his death the forest was renamed to Doi Inthanon in his honor (Doi Inthanon National Park). The shrine at the ride’s summit is dedicated to him and his ashes are deposited there.
The summit is one of the main attractions in the park, which is also popular for its wonderful views, two temples, and waterfalls within hiking distance.
At 2565 metres (8415 feet), Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, and is nicknamed “The Roof of Thailand.”
Do not forget to touch the high point marker for good luck!
As of December 2018, the cost to enter the park is 300 baht for foreigners ($9.20). As of May 10, 2019, PJAMM Cycling confirmed that cyclists must pay this entrance fee to enter the park.
Finish at the Princess Sirindhorn Neutron Monitor sign.
Doi Suthep Wat, Chiang Mai.
Doi Suthep Bike Climb
Our favorite tour (versus ride) was of the most holy location in Thailand, Doi Suthep. Ghing features the temple on his Backroads tours and also grew up with the temple being a focal point for his family; his father was one of thousands of Thai laborers who volunteered to hand build a road to Doi Suthep in 1935.
Naga guard the entrance to Doi Suthep Wat. 309 steps to the temple.
Naga: Like the Garuda, nagas also originated in Hindu mythology. The original nagas of Hindu art were human from the waist up and snake from the waist down. In time they became entirely snake. They especially like to dwell in bodies of water. In East Asia, a naga is considered to be a kind of dragon. In Tibet and other parts of Asia, however, the naga and the dragon are two different creatures. Sometimes nagas are depicted as legless dragons; sometimes they are more like giant cobras. In Buddhist folklore, nagas are particularly known for protecting scriptures. They are worldly creatures who can spread disease and cause disaster if they are angered.
PJAMM is blessed -- literally by the monk and figuratively just to be here . . .
This fabric is wrapped around the statue of buddha seasonally.
We checked with Ghing and he said this was completely acceptable.
A BIT ABOUT CHIANG MAI AND THAI CULTURE
Chiang Mai is an ancient city, andis the largest city in mountainous northern Thailand. “Founded in 1296, it was capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Its Old City area still retains vestiges of walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious center. It’s also home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, adorned with carved serpents” (read more here). The culture of Chiang Mai is steeped in rich symbolism and a strong cultural heritage. The Thai people have values and attitudes which frame their lives with joy, and place strong importance on humility. A common phrase in Thai is “mai pen rai,” which means “no worries,” and acts as a general Thai philosophy. Thailand is commonly known as “The Land of Smiles,” because smiling comes easily for Thai people. In general, the Thai people are known for being kind, happy, and thankful. A helpful blog detailing many Thai customs and traditions can be found here.