Our first trip up Doi Suthep was wonderful, but we missed out on things since we didn’t have our own transportation. Now that we’re Asian scooter experts, we were able to revisit the mountain with more freedom. The ride up and down the mountain on scooters is an incredibly fun near-death experience, with an abundance of steep grades and sharp curves. We rode up and over the mountain to Bhuping Palace, the royal family’s residence during trips to northern Thailand. Essentially they built a palace on top of a mountain to escape the summers in Bangkok. It has a massive rose garden and a fancy helicopter pad. Pretty neat.

After the palace, we rode over the back of the mountain to visit a Hmong village. Aside from people owning vehicles and smartphones, it felt like we were in another time period. The village is out of reach for most tourists and aside from a small market, does not cater to tourism. The majority of buildings are made of bamboo and cinderblocks, chickens are running freely (until they become dinner), and everything is…simple. It was fascinating to see how they live. The village overlooks a series of mountain ranges and national parks that provide some stunning views. We made the ride home at dusk and got to see the sun setting behind the mountains. Shortly after, we discovered the headlights on my scooter didn’t work, which made for an interesting ride home. Don’t worry, I got it fixed the next day!