5 Thailand Mountain Towns and Sights to Visit by Car
5 Towns and Sights in Thailand to Visit in Winter
Winter is the time to visit the charming mountain towns and sights all within a day’s drive of Chiang Mai. In winter, you’ll enjoy hiking and strolling around these towns without the relentless heat that can tire you out quickly during other months of the year. But getting to these towns and sights by public transportation often is complicated and time-consuming.
Your best bet is to hire a car at Chiang Mai Airport, or at one of the many car rental agencies in Chiang Mai. You’ll find Carspool is one of the most popular car rental agencies in Thailand and they are located right in the airport. You’ll need a credit card, a valid driver’s license from your home country and an international driver’s permit to rent a car. Then, get ready to hit the road and visit the mountain towns and highland sights of Thailand.
Khao Kho – The Town above the Clouds
Khao Kho is famous for the winter layer of fog and mist that form in the valleys below the town in the early morning hours. The town’s best known landmark is the strikingly beautiful Wat Pha Son Kaew. Winter is the time the town comes alive with visitors who revel in the cold weather and frosts that form on the grass and trees. For visitors who want to see a different side of Thailand, Khao Kho should be your first stop.
Doi Inthanon – The Highest Peak in Thailand
This is a favourite New Year’s Day destination for both Thais and foreigners. Over 10,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to the summit to celebrate the arrival of the New Year and pray for prosperity in the upcoming year.
If you’re visiting Doi Inthanon between the months of November and February, you should remember to dress warmly. The average temperature hovers around the freezing point in the early morning and late evening hours. Be sure to bring binoculars as the Doi Inthanon National Park surrounding the peak is home to over 360 species of birds.
Phu Tub Berk – The Home of the Hmong
Another peak well worth visiting is Phu Tub Berk. This is a rich, agricultural area that takes advantage of the altitude to produce cabbages, bell peppers carrots, potatoes and strawberries, crops that do well in the crisp, cooler climate of the mountains.
This is also the home of a large population of Hmong tribe-members who tend most of the crops. The cool climate means that this is also an excellent area to explore on foot. There are many hotels and guest houses for those who want to spend the night.
There is also a campsite at the summit of the mountain for those who want to brave the cold temperatures and be rewarded by waking up to a sunrise over a beautiful carpet of clouds and mist.
Phu Chi Fa – A Majestic Cliff Offering a Beautiful Sunrise
the most dramatic cliffs in Thailand from which you can see all the way into Laos. It also offers one the best spots for watching the sunrise, a revered spot that plays host to crowds from all over Thailand.
Phu Chi Fa also provides an excellent early morning view of the sea of clouds and mist that have formed in the valleys below the peak. There are several small hotels and bungalows in the town of Phu Chi Fa from which you can set off in the morning darkness to hike to the summit in time to catch the sunrise. As in most areas of the northern mountains, you’ll want to dress warmly.
Mae Hong Son – A Picturesque Gateway to the Hillside Tribes
Winter is the perfect time of year to visit this picturesque and charming province. This is because most of the visitors are intent on trekking around the hills to explore and meet the various hillside tribes that call this remote section of Thailand their home.
At the centre of the province is a capitol town of the same name featuring the beautifully ornate, Burmese-style monastery called Wat Phrathet Doi Kongmu.
The town has plenty of guest houses and hotels from which you can venture out into the surrounding hills and learn more about the local attractions to see and visit.
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