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Doi Inthanon: the highest peak in Thailand

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The writer Erri De Luca once said, “A reached the mountain top, is the boundary between the finite and the immense”. The peak reached in my trip to Thailand is the Doi Inthanon, 2,565 meters above sea level, the highest mountain in the country in the Thanon Thong Chai mountain range That extends to the south of the Daen Lao chain. In the past this peak was known by the names of Doi Luang, “big mountain”, or Doi Ang Ka, meaning “the high pool of crows” because at its base was a pond where they watered the birds. Its current name, however, is linked to the figure of King Inthawichayanon. It was one of the last kings of Chiang Mai and has always tried to preserve the beauty of the Northern forests. The story goes that the king ordered to be buried on Doi Luang and since then the mountain was named in his honor: Doi Inthanon.

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Between mist and rain forests, I came on the highest peak of Thailand thanks to an organized tour, which, before reaching the big mountains, allowed me to discover some of the natural beauty of Doi Inthanon National Park. Rich in flora and fauna, especially of various species of birds, the park with its waterfalls, nature trails, tribal villages of Hmong and Karen, is one of the best attractions of the Chiang Mai Province. This mountain, in addition to being a popular destination for naturalists and bird-watching enthusiasts, home to numerous species of orchids, over 400 species of birds, the Asiatic black bear and the macaque.

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Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai

The respect for the nature of the local population has enabled the creation of well-marked trails in the jungle. Walking under tangles of branches and tropical flowers, the birds singing has given way to the rumble generated by the impact of the water against the rocks. The show That I had before my eyes, was of great strength and beauty and carried the names of Wachirathan waterfall and Sirithan waterfall: two of the largest waterfalls in the province of Chiang Mai.

If the wild nature has surprised me, were very charming also the terraced hills of the villages of tribes Hmong and Karen. Few huts surrounded by a fertile valley embraced by gentle hills carefully cultivated by human hand. In wooden houses proud women wove scarves of fluffy tissues, while the children, barefoot, were playing with a few simple things.

Continuing in the itinerary the daily life of Those People has given way to a gray and thick fog that has shrouded the highest peak of Thailand hiding the imposing silhouettes of Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon & Naphapholphumisiri: the two pagodas built to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumidol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

Not being able to admire the rose gardens at the foot of the Pagodas I took the path in the thick of the rainforest. A small wooden footbridge outlined the path to be followed in that labyrinth of branches, moss and fog. It seemed one of those enchanted forests of which it’s recounts in fairy tales, where giants cobwebs stop tiny water droplets becoming silver embroidery That shine with the light of the sun.  Enchantment and fear, wonder and tension are gone after an hour’s walk.
It ‘was like waking up from a strange dream. My bus is slowly broken down to return to the valley, and while I was admiring for the last time the outline of Doi Inthanon, fog and drizzle were thinned out, opening a window into the blue sky from which I admired the boundary between the earth and the immense.

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