. We first went to Mae Yae waterfall which really was one of the prettiest ones that we have visited in our travels because it spreads out over so much of the rock face as it separates into many many smaller cascades. Next we visited some of the ones higher up on the mountain but the treat of the area were the gardens below Siriplum Falls. When we first arrived early one morning we thought that we had found perfectly lovely gardens and then we hiked up the mountain on a pretty steep tough trail to a spot about 1/3 of the way up the falls where we could enjoy the spectacle. We descended and then noticed a nature trail sign and in following it; found the real gardens and some of the best birding of the trip. I will let the pictures do the talking from this point; but I want to go on to tell about the place we stayed and the wonderful birding experience that we had right next door at Ti's Blossom Headed Parakeet conservation area.
We stayed at the Touchstar Resort which was just outside the park gate and though simple, it had nice rooms for 30-40 dollars and the food was good every meal. We stayed there for all five days and they just couldn't have been nicer to us. On our last evening there we stopped by the conservation area on our way in from a long day and what we found was a young man and his wife and stepson who run a home stay and have built a three story birding platform. He is the first person whom we have met in Thailand who really does know his birds and we spent the evening and the next morning with him. I would highly recommend this and suspect that he could be hired to guide you all around the park as well. We left Chiang Mai with some remorse both because it was so nice and cool and because it meant a return to the big city of Bangkok with little in the way of natural wonders. Still there always seem to be surprises in our path so off we went to find them!
Joe:Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and just about 50 km to the southwest of it is Doi Inthanon National Park. Famous for having Thailand's highest peak of the same name, it also has a pair of matching shrines at the summit that commemorate the King and Queen's 5th cycle. I am not sure if that was for their 50th birthdays or what but they are a pair of "stupas" that contain statues of Buddhas and the walls are decorated with depictions of various parts of his life and teachings. Around the stupas are elaborate formal gardens which interestingly feature blue and purple Hydrangeas and in "winter" rhododendrons. No matter for us because what we saw primarily was thick clouds clinging to the mountaintop even when the lower parts of the mountain were clear and warm. We tried several days to get up there for sunrise or sunset light; but each time we were met by the thick clouds and so we settled for exploring the attractions at lower elevations. For us these were more to our liking anyway since these were actually natural wonders instead of man-made ones