Around the world,  Asia,  TDM,  Thailand,  Travel Journal

Visit of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai (Thailand): Travel Diary

They say that if you didn’t come to Doi Suthep, you didn’t come to Chiang Mai at all. That’s what the travel agencies tell us. A 4 hour tour to Doi Suthep costs 500 baht/person, but as we have a scooter and we aren’t afraid of anything, we decided to go like that on a whim

Part 1: Travel Diary
Part 2: Practical Tips

Part 1: Travel Diary

Before going there, we stop at a Vietnamese restaurant very well noted on Tripadvisor, it is the 2nd Vietnamese restaurant well noted in Chiang Mai which disappoints us deeply. Decidedly, it isn’t the place to eat Vietnamese because they tend to adapt all the recipes to the Thai taste (very spicy, not well enough seasoned, bathed in oil). Let’s wait for our stay in Vietnam, in 2 weeks!

When the GPS announces us 1h of journey and when we see an enormous mountain in front of us, we wonder if we took the good decision. But fortunately the road is really easy

We have to accelerate at full throttle, but it’s ok, our scooter is strong enough for that, and there are 2 lanes for the climb, no risk of being crushed by cars. Note: we’ll tell you at the end of the article how to get there without a scooter

The higher you go up, the purer the air and the colder it gets. Luckily we always have a small jacket with us (to counter the cold of the air conditioning)

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

This is our first stop, and it is also the stop of the red trucks that bring the tourists here for only 30 baht/person. I tremble in front of the hundreds of steps that lead to the temple, but fortunately we aren’t in Hong Kong and this sporting effort does not last very long

Foreigners have to pay 30 baht/person I believe and one is entitled to the etiquette instructions at Thai temples

Before entering the temple, one must take off his shoes

and then we go up to discover a very very pretty temple with a huge stupa in the middle

What is particularly impressive here is the presence of many Buddhas, including those made of jade-style stone, which imitates the famous “emerald” Buddha in Bangkok

On the lower level, there are other statues of Buddhas and elephants

and finally, a superb view of all Chiang Mai

Yes yes it is pollution, and not a mountain on the horizon. It cools down JB who was beginning to consider moving here

Bhuping Palace

We continue our way to the Bhuping Palace which is unfortunately already closed (3:30 pm). It is the royal winter palace

It doesn’t matter, we walk in the surroundings and discover a belvedere

The view on the mountains is still nicer than the view on a well polluted Chiang Mai

H’mong village

From here, the road is tighter and more irregular. One does not go up any more but goes down non-stop. We arrive at the H’mong village, which does not look like an ethnic minority village but like a “Chiang Mai market” in the mountains. The houses are less traditional than I thought

Above all, there is a small market with lots of ethnic souvenirs and clothing

and you pay 10 baht/person to access a small waterfall surrounded by gardens

Nice, nothing more. We could have gone back on our steps and climbed higher to reach Doi Pui Summit (at the top of the mountain) and Khun Chang Khian (to see the cherry blossoms) – but we are too lazy. Anyway, we had access to several lookouts and saw cherry blossoms

The return is easier than it looks. We don’t have to brake so often, and the road is clear, there aren’t so many cars

However, the further down you go, the more polluted the air becomes. On the way back, we are stuck in a traffic jam and the air is so unbreathable that we had to take out our anti-pollution masks


Cat Brothers Cafe

We end up in a cat café. The concept is simple, you pay one drink or 100 bahts to go see a dozen cats on the 1st floor. You can also buy extra kibbles (20 bahts/pot) to attract the cats to you

I don’t think it’s normal that they are so attracted to food. At the same time, they look fit and healthy, with shiny hair. They are certainly not fed in “open bar” mode, but they aren’t hungry either

There is an employee who supervises everything, but she doesn’t dare to yell at disrespectful customers. They don’t hesitate to disturb cats that are sleeping, or to take them in their arms. There are no cat games either (maybe for fear that the customers will use them to annoy the cats even more?), some cats are dressed ridiculously – in short I don’t like the way it’s handled

Part 2: Practical Tips

How to get there from Chiang Mai

You can go there by scooter like us (2h round trip) or pay an agency (500 bahts/person for 4h in total – 3 stops like us)

Or you can hail a red truck to share (songthaew). Ask the driver if he goes to Doi Suthep. If so, you will have to pay 30 baht/person and he will drop you off in front of Wat Phratha Doi Suthep temple

Once you have visited this temple, you will find other red trucks that will take you to the following destinations

  • Bhubing Palace: 40 baht/person
  • Doi Pui Hmong Village: 60 baht/person
  • Doi Pui Summit: 200 baths/person
  • Khun Chang Khian: 200 baht/person

I don’t advise you to walk because it is very far away and tiring (it’s always going up)

The privatization of a red truck (songthaew) or a tuk-tuk for half a day could cost as much as 500 baht. Agree on the waiting time as well as the places to visit


  • Scooter rental: 3,200bahts/month
  • Visit of the temple: 30 baht/person
  • Visit of the waterfall: 10 baths/person
  • Gasoline: 50 baths approx. for the round trip
  • Cat Cafe: Cat Brothers Cafe: drinks 170 baths for two or entrance only 100 baht/person + 20 baths of cat food for the cats

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *