Pha Chor is a canyon of sorts that is formed through sandstone. Now, I am no geologist, but sandstone is my educated guess. Feel free to correct me if you know more than I do about the subject.
The great thing is that we managed to get a guide that has a truck, so we were able to cut our time walking, (and getting heat-exhaustion), in half.
A series of stairs led us down into the canyon that was absolutely crawling with cicadas. Their chirps filled the morning silence, as they made their last calls before the sun decided to hit them full force, and probably cause them to burst into flames.
The trail meanders up and down, over what I am guessing is a creek bed during the rainy season - following the natural course of the water up to where it must originate and pool.
When we reached the top if the little canyon, I was delighted to see that we had it all to ourselves. All of the photos of the location show it swarming with tourists. Luckily we were able to enjoy a half hour of silence in that beautiful local.
After a meandering hike down the river, we finally made it to some more stairs, and back up to the parking lot from where we came.
Some advice for anyone who wants to go here:
1. Take a lot of water. When we went, there was a little store at the parking area, but as it is Thailand, that all can change in an instant.
2. Bring toilet paper. There are bathrooms at the top, but like anywhere in Thailand, they are never equipped with much more than a squatty potty and a bucket of water.
3. Consider doing the hike in slippers (flip-flops) in the rainy season.
4. Get someone with a bigger car to drive you there, just so that you can drive halfway in.
5. The hike takes about an hour to two hours depending on how many photos you take, and how tolerant you are to the oppressive Thai heat.
If you find yourself in Chiang Mai, and want to see something that is not a touristy event, or one of a million Wats, consider visiting Pha Chor. It is a great half-day trip, and you certainly won't regret taking the opportunity to escape the city.
Plus, with the driver taking us there, it cost us about $60 for the whole group of people. Not bad at all.