And unlike what the Mormons think, it’s not in Missouri, but Northern Thailand, just west of Doi Pui, on a little road that doesn’t show up on Google maps. So I guess I found the back door to the Garden of Eden, which is even better, because now it’s a secret that only I can show you. Come visit and rent a scooter. It’s only about eight miles from my front door here in Mae Rim.
Like Boulder, Colorado, perched against the Flatirons, Chiang Mai sits right up against Doi Suthep, a mountain that is topped by both a Buddhist temple and a one of many royal palaces. This is the summer home for the royal family, should they choose to come this far to sample the bracing, mountain air. Doi Suthep has a twin, Doi Pui, which is about thirty feet higher. The mountains are about 5,500 feet tall, and the temperature at the top is noticeably lower than at the base in Chiang Mai. The air is sweeter and fresher on top, as well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doi_Suthep
The winding road up the mountain is well maintained, and heavily traveled by bicyclists, motorcyclists and the red trucks that form the backbone of mass transit in Chiang Mai. Most people make it as far as the temple, climb the 306 steps, take a few pictures and then head back down. After the temple you come to Pu Ping Palace, but then the road becomes terrible, full of potholes.
But if you keep going another five miles, you come to a Hmong village that sells handicrafts in order to support its one-thousand inhabitants. Unlike most tourist items, I find these attractive. I like their clothing and their silver jewelry. I’ve visited the village several times already, usually just as an excuse to ride up the mountain on my Honda PCX150, but this time we rented traditional Hmong clothing and used their beautiful little park for a location. It was surprisingly fun. They charge you 50 baht (about $1.75) per person.