An introduction to Chiang Mai - Rose of the
Jaesorn National Park
|If you've been working hard recently, never getting
a chance to leave the city. And much as you love your home town,
it's also nice to get into the country once in a while - to have
a refreshing trip through the terrific landscape that lies all round
So when you have time I suggest you make a quick
dash for the Jaesorn National Park.
It can be a quick trip.
If you are working the next morning / or visiting somewhere
else.. Start on a week-end afternoon, head south from the
city in the direction - first - of the ancient city of Kelang Nakorn...better
known these days as
Jaesorn National Park is one of the really small parks
only 593 sq. kilometres in area, but it makes up for that in its
impressive waterfalls and lovely scenery, as well as spectacular
cliffs, rising as it does to some 2,000 metres. And then there are
its hot springs...
As I said, start out at about one p.m.,
driving fast on the superhighway to Lampang, which is pretty safe.
May comes from Mae Sariang and anyone who drives on those curvy
roads had better be good, or they won't survive. Little bit of a
problem in Lampang itself, looking for the turn off to the town
of Chaehom, but that located you sprint north and at getting
on for four-thirty you pass the small district of Muang Pan and
follow the signs to the National Park.
And what a sight for
tired eyes that turns out to be, the sunlight slanting on the verdant
greenery, the country rising all round. First go for the Jaesorn
waterfall, with its six tiers and all round full-force flow, located
just about a kilometre from the park's headquarters. You are on
foot by this time, and not far away from the falls you come to the
hot spring area, covering about 3 Rai, nine different vents, with
water temperatures around 70 - 80 C.
|I always get a kick out visiting hot springs, something
to do with the thought that under the inoffensive surface of our
earth are some pretty terrific forces, of which these streams are
a gentle reminder. Also that we get quakes once in a while, not
really serious like they have over in Burma and up in Yunnan, but
still strong enough to give you a pretty brisk shake from time to
time. Nothing more dramatic right here than some tourists boiling
- well, cooking - some eggs in a basket. The waters are all kinds
of weird colours, from brown and orange to a murky grey, depending
on the chemicals they have in them. And there's one place where
the hot and cool waters from different sources mingle, and it's
possible to swim. Next time, promise yourselves - because
with evening already closing in, you have to think of getting on
your way. But next time, start early and stay overnight. Then your
have a chance to visit some of the huts where you're invited to
dunk yourself in the healing waters.
Before leaving if you
have a chance to chat with a couple of the kindly and helpful
park officials at their office. They suggest instead of going the
long way back to Lampang, you try the short cut instead. That's
why when you leave the park, turn north for Wang Nua and Mae
Kachan on the
Chiang Rai road, aim to make a circuit of your journey.
Well, ok, the sun is going down behind the forested mountains
and it's a romantic sight indeed, but a little bit lonely. And to
add to your slight anxiety, do not pass Wang Nua without tanking
up and discover you are low - very low - on petrol.
| Oh! Oh! A night on the open road...not quite
what you are looking for. But if you do, it can turn
out for the best, as it happens. You just might make it to
Mae Kachan on the last drops of the precious liquid, and discover
that there is a petrol station there: quite a relief!
with coffee and some kanoms'. and buy a couple of items from the
stalls selling baskets, brooms and furniture for which this
little spot is quite well known for.
Then hit the road
again, darkness falling, tick off the eighty or so kilometres back
to the Rose of the North, getting there just in time for dinner.
A trip to remember - but a better, longer one in the offing.
[There are guesthouses at Jaesorn National Park which can be
reserved up to a month in advance - THB.600 - THB.3,000 per unit,
depending on size. Alternatively, you can take your own tent and
camp for a charge of THB. 30, or hire a tent at THB.50 per night.
For more info contact Jaesorn National Park Head Office ( 054-229000