Doi Suthep is a very popular tourist destination and amazing mountain that takes watch over the city of Chiang Mai. You really can’t miss this mountain expect perhaps during the smoky season. It is a wonderful creation of Mother Nature and also a guide when you get lost traveling through the city. One thing is certain that mountain is not moving so it is a great way to get your bearings. Most people travel up Doi Suthep to visit the well-known Wat Phra That Temple which really is a must to see at least once in your life time.
Explore The Mountain
However, today I am just going to focus on skipping all those tourist areas and just grab your motorbike and drive up the mountain for the view. There are several coffee shops that you can find that are situated along the mountain that have some terrific views. You will not find amazing tasting coffee at these little shops but the price is cheap and the view is priceless.
Have A Coffee Enjoy The Views
I have personally two favorite coffee shops. One is on the way to the Doi Pui Hmong Tribal Village which is just a few minutes past the Wat Phra That Temple. When you reach a crossroads one way will be to the campgrounds while the other will lead you down to the village and a coffee shop is along the way. Unfortunately, when I went just the other day it was closed. Not sure if I arrived a bit too late at 4 pm or if it was because the smoky season was killing the view for this particular shop. So I decided to keep on going up past the campgrounds and to the Kun Chang Klan Mong Village, it is about 3 km from the campground area.
At the start of the village is a nice coffee shop that has a great view. I ordered a coffee and a water which came to 50 Baht and a couple free cookies as well. Great thing about these coffee shops are they usually are not that busy. Most tourist stick to the main areas so you can sit back and just enjoy the view usually all by yourself.
Unexpected Adventure Along Doi Suthep
Driving to these coffee shops there are always other things to see. I found another temple I had no idea about and slipped down to check it out.Once again I was the only one there except for a couple of local monks that were taking care of the grounds. The whole point of this post is if you have a motorbike then just drive and drive. You will be surprised what you can find on the mountain of Doi Suthep besides the more famous landmarks. Of course I still want you to check the tourist hot spots as well but there is so much beauty on this mountain and much of it many are not aware of. More Temples, Waterfalls, villages, campgrounds, look out points and all the time surrounded by nature.
Some Quick Tips If You Decide To Drive Up The Mountain:
1. If you plan to really go far it might be a good idea to have your phone with you and a number of someone you can call if you have an emergency such as a flat tire.
2. When driving on the main roads on the mountain take care to stay away from the center lines on the road and drive closer to the left. Many people cross the center lines in order to pass traffic, it can be quite dangerous.
3. Bring some water and sunscreen. Also taking a jacket isn’t a bad idea if you are not used to the cold. The farther you head up the mountain the cooler the air becomes.
4. Be careful on the back roads as you go up the mountain. There are lots of potholes, blind curves and yes even cliffs if you are not paying attention. You will see several street signs suggesting you honk your horn going around those blind curves. I suggest you do just that. Even if you are a seasoned motorcyclist there are many on the mountain that are tourist with little to no experience riding.