It is so important to get off the beaten path when you travel. While Chiang Mai was absolutely lovely and extremely relaxing, it was also full of westerners! Like sooooo many foreigners who all had the same uniform of elephant pants, dreads, tattoos, and
at least one backpack on their body at all times. I guess Saigon is so large and populated, it was shocking to be in a small place and see more tourists than locals. It was weird, actually.
So when we decided to do some exploring, we actually steered clear of the more popular tourist attractions with the intention of finding a more remote place to wander. And we found it.
We went to the Huay Kaew Waterfalls right outside Chiang Mai. Most people we encountered while there were right at the entrance where you could hang out on rocks and picnic at the base of the waterfall. Not many people went past that point.
So we hiked. Ohhhh, did we hike! It was exhausting and beautiful, as to be expected. We walked up rocks, around ledges, hovering near cliffs, and it was glorious. No railings, no safety measures, just wandering at your own peril. We saw a few other people around us, but it was a very secluded and private adventure!
After we got to the top of the waterfall and found people at the look-out point (that was reachable by transportation), we saw a small path that led away from everyone and practically ran towards it.
It took us through a wooded area where the only markers were monks' orange cloth tied on trees sporadically. It opened up to a large rock wall/cliff with a little waterfall and small pools of water at the base. It was so peaceful. We took off our shoes and sat with our toes in the water for an hour. And we really could have spent a whole day there.
Go and try to find it; you won't regret it!!
Danielle Desnoyers is a traveling freelance photographer with a focus on humanitarian, travel, and family photography. She currently splits her time between the United States and Vietnam with travels to other countries as well.