On Monday we decided to get out of town on a day trip, whilst the traffic let us. We hired a taxi, with driver Mr Jagvech, and took a two hour drive south to Doi Inthanon.
On the major roads, lined up on either side, were groups of kids, families and teens with barrels full of water, water guns and buckets, soaking every car, moped and truck that came past. Our taxi was water tight and our driver unfazed.
To the tunes of Rhinestone Cowboy and The Young Ones, we sped south through “HOT”, to the mountains which slowly emerged from the haze. Up we climbed for 30 mins, winding around, ears popping every so often.
At the summit, the highest point in Thailand, it was a cool 25C, apparently perfect for birds and bird watching. On the Ang Thon nature trail we kept quiet, hoping to spot something nearby. Movement and the odd fluorescent dash of colour caught our eye as we spotted Yellow-bellied fantails, Green-tailed sunbirds and a brave Chestnut-tailed Minla that kindly posed for photos.
At the cafe we sampled locally grown Arabica coffee, whilst sharing stories with a family from Bangkok, up north for Songkran.
Further down the mountain were two towers dedicated to the King and Queen for their 80th birthdays. With spicy minced beef in our bellies, we perused the gardens and structures, taking note of the fantastic mountain peaks poking out of the hazy horizon. We posed for photos amongst the snap dragons and cabbages, and the cute little pond crossing.
Further down the mountain we made one final stop at a signposted waterfall, a roaring drop with viewpoints and large pools to bathe in, despite the no swimming signs.
On the way back we had more of the country-rock soundtrack and Songkran car soakings. By now the groups had perfected their bucket aims and we watched as most targets were drenched with perfectly launched throws.
That evening we ate at “The Good View”, along the river. Inside the décor had been filled with buckets, and our Mai Tai cocktails were the same; a wedge of pineapple on the side of a bright yellow bucket filled with alcohol. A band at the back played Elton John covers whilst we ate our mains. Deep fried and spicy serpent head fish with a mango salad and rice served in a pineapple.
Back at the hotel we ordered our favourite fruit shakes and spent the rest of the evening chatting with the restaurant and reception staff, Mr Tommy et al. Everything from Chiang Mai festivities to peculiar Hindu traditions with people dressed like dementors from Harry Potter.