Some 80 km to the east of Chiang Mai is the Chaeson National Park, at its centre is a geothermal complex where you can take baths (private or public) and the other favourite activity at such places – boiling eggs…
80 km may not seem far, but the most direct route takes you over mountain roads that can be dangerous, especially in the rainy season, the other route is rather circuitous and via Lampang – worth a weekend visit ‘tho.
Mid January sees the Sakura Cherry Blossom season in Khun Chang Kian, Chiang Mai. As with all blossom seasons, getting the right day can be hit and miss, but there should be a week or so left. The road is improved over last year, but care is still needed; its pretty much single track for the last 12km and there are potholes that could throw you.
We are now entering peak season for the Chiang Mai Cherry Blossom. You can find cherry trees on the ascent to Doi Suthep – traces of pink blossom appearing through the jungle. But for the highest density of trees you will need to go further.
Continue past Wat Parathat Doi Suthep and on to Bhuping Palace – again, go straight on for a few more kilometers until the road comes to a T-junction. Turning left at this junction will take you to the Hmong village, turning right will take you to Doi Pui – where lies the greatest concentration of cherry (Himalayan Sakura) trees.
The road after Bhuping palace can get quite rocky and you will need to be careful if travelling by motorbike – there are pot holes big enough to throw you… The road after the T-junction (mentioned above) is mostly single track and again varies in quality – even to the point of being washed away (‘tho its been pretty dry this last year).
From Wat Parathat Doi Suthep the journey to the valley with cherry blossom can be another 40 minutes – but you are rewarded with this:
There is another Hmong village if you continue past this valley, you can get coffee etc and its much less visited than the village near Bhuping Palace.
Songtheow will make the journey described above – so its possible to visit if you don’t have motorbike transport.