A week later and most of the trees are now in blossom, the road has deteriorated a little after some heavy rain, but is passable with care. I guess this week will be peak for cherry blossom viewing.
There are Sakura Cherry Blossom trees along the road side at the higher levels of Doi Suthep – particularly after Wat Paratat Doi Suthep; but the main concentration is in a valley just before the village of Khun Chang Khian, well worth the trip.
At the top of Doi Suthep there are 2 Hmong Hill Tribe villages. The first and most accessible is Doi Pui, but if you turn right just after Phuping Palace instead of left, you can follow the road to Khun Chang Khian.
Whilst its not exactly ‘untouched’ the difficulty of reaching it and the added distance mean that its not on the mainstream tour routes and its a lot quieter than Doi Pui village.
The access road (see Chiang Mai Driving Routes) is single track most of the way – for 2 way traffic – and whilst its mainly surfaced there are some quite poor parts, and some unmade areas. Add in land slips, falling branches, severe pot holes and you can see why its less visited. There are passing places, but the edge of the road is often a steep drop to drainage channels – if you drove off you might have difficulty getting a car back on the road again unaided – care needed!!
Apart from reduced tourist numbers and a look at local life, the big attraction in early January is cherry blossom. Whilst not on the scale of that found at Doi Inthanon, there are a few trees up here and the views from the mountain are excellent.
The village also produces coffee and you can see it drying out in the sun prior to roasting.