At least that was the song stuck in my head when we visited Bhubing Palace in Chiang Mai. Granted we were in Thailand, not New Zealand among the Hobbit dwarfs, but these mountains certainly achieved the same effect. We drove directly from the Hilltribe Village to this royal residence nestled in the mountains and shrouded in a thick fog. The air was blissfully cool, a sweet relief from the dripping heat of the city below. We paid the entrance fee and began our ascent up the stone road towards the unknown.
First we encountered a bountiful rose garden which we passed by in wonder. How could these flowers flourish in Thailand? The cool and humid mountain air must create the perfect climate for a royal garden. What luck for the caretakers here! Eventually we came upon a big greenhouse full of even more greenery and flowers which we examined with curiosity.
Finally we found the royal building itself, surrounded by even more roses. But we had only a glance as the path cut away from the road and led us into the forest. We followed the path up the mountain while the scenery changed again from lush forest to a magnificent meadow, thick with fog. It was like out of a dream.
After wandering around and taking the time to smell the roses (literally), we came upon a ginormous banyan tree.
We were in awe! That is until we saw the bamboo patch close-by. It was impossibly large, surpassing the banyan tree in size by a mile. Each bamboo stalk was about the same width as my waist and extended to an impossible height, fighting the surrounding trees for optimal sunlight. Well, I think the bamboo won. That thing was MASSIVE.
We had fun touching and swinging around the bamboo, until I almost squashed a huge and scary looking caterpillar with my palm. These little guys did not look like they wanted to be touched! I slowly backed away to leave them to their caterpillar ways.
Pleased with our mountain trek through the marvelous fog, we made our way down the paved road to the exit below. Bhubing Palace was a totally unexpected but amazing place full of natural beauty. It is a place worth visiting, if only to stand next to giant bamboo and contemplate your tiny existence while watching the fog roll by.
“Far over the misty mountains cold” ….. Yup, still stuck in my head.