The Road to Doi Suthep

One of the places I very much wanted to visit on this trip was Doi Suthep. Technically, that is the name of a mountain just outside of Chiang Mai, but it is what most people call the temple located there. It can be reached by taxi or songthaew, but we thought it would be a nice ride on our rental scooters.

Yes, despite crashing on our first ride, Clayton decided to hop back in the saddle for another go at it. The rental company was happy to rent him another bike, but with double the deposit as the first one! And, since the one he crashed isn’t rideable, we had to pay for another rental period. We still don’t know how much it will cost to fix the first bike, but hopefully it won’t be too expensive.

The ride to Doi Suthep looked very straightforward on the map. The road in front of our condo would take us all the way there, with no turns! A mere 5.5 miles away!

Before we made it out of town, we were pulled over by the motorcycle police. The cop had a huge smile on his face. I imagine that he was thinking that he could write a nice fat fine for each of us. He was surprised when we pulled out our international driver’s licenses. He smiled some more and sent us on our way.

The ride to the Wat (temple) was the windiest, steepest ride I have ever taken. As a matter of fact, it is probably the windiest, steepest road I have been on in any type of vehicle! I was awfully glad to be on a bike since I am prone to motion sickness when in a car or bus. The entire ride was made up of hairpin turns, mile after mile of them. The closer we got to the temple, the steeper the road and hairier the turns. This is definitely not a ride for beginners! We were in awe of those making the ride on bicycles. Incredible. I cannot imagine being able to ride uphill all of those miles. On the other hand, the downhill part would be a hoot on a bike!

We knew when we reached the temple because of the multiple tour buses, vans, songthaews, and scooters parked along the road. It was a madhouse – people everywhere. Clayton hates crowds, so he immediately wanted to turn around. I wanted to see the temple, so suggested he find a quiet place in the shade while I climbed the stairs to the temple.

I took a few photos of the entryway:

Then, I turned the corner and saw “it” – the stairway to heaven. Or, in this case, the stairway to the Wat. OK, I chickened out. I did not want to climb all of those stairs by myself. I could justify it by telling you I have a heart condition and don’t feel comfortable physically exerting myself alone, but really, I just didn’t want to make the climb in the heat!!

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So, we headed back down the mountain. We followed a pair of people on bicycles on the road down. There is only one lane downhill (two going uphill), so passing them wasn’t really an option. But, due to the steepness of the road, they really didn’t slow us down. It was good to go slow due to the sharpness of the turns.

So, if you want to see pictures of Doi Suthep, you will need to google it – this lazy woman didn’t make it to the top. But, we had a very enjoyable ride and definitely had the opportunity to master sharp turns on our scooters!!!

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