Right: Karen women from the village of Maemu, Doi Inthanon.
Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, standing at 2,563 meters above sea level. In Chiang Mai I signed up for a three day trek in the Doi Inthanon National Park. I was joined by 5 Japanese students, a Frenchman and an Italian woman. Our guide was a Karen called Abraham who was financing his studies in sociology by leading treks into the hill tribe regions. In retrospect this was a good thing as some of the guides are known to have little understanding or respect for the local people.
The trek included a homestay with a Hmong Family where I tried some opium, a short ride on some elephants, a night in a Karen village and a trip down the river on bamboo rafts. On the way back into Chiang Mai we visited a couple of stupas (Phamahathartjedi "Napapolbhumisiri & Napa Maetaneedol, near the top of Doi Inthanon) and a waterfall. All in all a very interesting few days.
Below:Fun with the elephants.