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Yellow Songthaw or Seelaw (Pick-up Taxi) to
Mae Wang (from Chiang Mai)

Mae Wang is a village just outside the boundary of the newly founded Doi Inthanon National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty around Thailand’s highest peak.

Yellow Songthaw or Seelaw (Pick-up Taxi)

Rearwards view Yellow Songthaw or Seelaw (Pick-up Taxi)We picked up the yellow seelaw or songthaw pickup bus from the terminus opposite the 'Bombay' Indian Restaurant, on Nantharam Road, Chiang Mai Gate, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand in early January 2008 and headed out for a 30 Baht 35km (approx) trip to the terminus of the Mae Wang route. We were going to be travelling with local Thais returning to their homes in the towns and villages along the way.

Important delivery - Yellow Songthaw or Seelaw (Pick-up Taxi)This regular, cheap and efficient transport service, besides transporting people, also transports items for delivery along the route. These boxes contained motorcycle oil and spare parts and were delivered to a garage workshop's front door. Luggage, cycles etc can be secured on the roof rack for a small fee. You pay your fare to the driver at the end of your leg of the journey. Tips are not normally given.

The 'big yellow taxi' heads south west out of Chiang Mai on the Chiang Mai to Hod RoadChiang Mai to Hod Road, a dual carriageway road passed the Chiang Mai International Airport through to San Pa Thong about 11km down the Route 108 where we turned off right through semi agricultural areas, travelling about 12km towards Ban Kaad or Bankaad a small town and Sub-district of Mae Wang District, Chiang Mai Province. There is a fairly large local produce and goods market daily in Ban Kaad.

Mae Wanh - The 'big yellow taxi' terminusAbout 6km further on is the 'big yellow taxi' terminus in a sprawling village and agricultural area in a river valley with great views of the hills that form the foot hills of Doi Inthanon. The rice paddy had been harvested and onions were growing in the flattened rice stubble in the low flood plane of the river that forms the boundary of the national park here.

Mae Wang - Onion cropAfter we had taken a walk down the dirt road that services the farmsteads we came across a small locked temple, the air was cooler here than in Chiang Mai, especially in the shade and we were happy to be there, watching the farm workers managing the watering of the onion crop and seeing the swifts catching flying insects against a backdrop of densely wooded hills, the only sound being that of the crickets and the occasional cock crowing.

On our way back we diverted up a track between two properties and found ourselves on the main road right next to a restaurant called 'Swiss Ticino', a pleasant surprise.

'Swiss Ticino' Homestay and Restaurant, Mae Wang'Swiss Ticino' Homestay and Restaurant's host Frank served us with great coffee that we chose to take on the terrace overlooking the valley, surrounded by exotic flowering plants that seemed to attract more than a fair share of butterflies. Our coffee was accompanied by interesting conversation with Frank telling us about the advantages and proposals for his enterprise being on the doorstep of newly founded Doi Inthanon National Park.

Yellow Songthaw or Seelaw (Pick-up Taxi) passengersAfter coffee we walked up the hill a little way, back to the 'big yellow taxi' Mae Wang terminus, where our ride back to Chiang Mai was waiting. We soon picked up additional passengers, dropping them and picking up more as we went on our journey back to the Chiang Mai Terminus where we had started over three and a half hours before.

A great little excursion that cost us less than 150 baht (just over £2 GBP)

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