We just can’t get enough of the little tourist town at the end of the road up Doi Suthep, the mountain just to the west of Chiang Mai. Think of the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, or Mount Tamalpais outside of Mill Valley, California. It’s a winding road that takes almost an hour from the clogged traffic on Huey Kaew Road up to the sweet pine scented cool mists of Bhubing Palace, then a dip down a potholed and narrow road and again to the top of Doi Phui, the Siamese twin of Doi Suthep.
It’s little tourist trap, but it’s the only source of income this Hmong village has, and the people are delightful. At the end of a steep walk through the village that is lined with shops selling the same trinkets and clothes you can buy anywhere around here, and which is all made in China, you come to a spectacular garden. There’s a guy renting Hmong dresses and accessories for 50 baht, about $1.50 so your girl can dress up and you can take her picture in front of this wonderful garden.
We never got a smile out of the little girl, but maybe she’s practicing pouting so she can be a supermodel later on.