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  • On this website some experienced Chiang Mai hikers post open invitations to join their hikes in the area.
  • We use the date format YY/MM/DD where YY is the year, MM is the month and DD is the day of the month.
  • Hike descriptions may be posted at short notice. So it may be worth checking the website frequently.
  • Hikes may be cancelled or varied at short notice due to weather conditions or other factors. So it is advisable to check the website beforehand on the day of the hike.
  • ผู้มีประสบการณ์ในการเดินป่าที่อาศัยอยู่ในจ.เชียงใหม่ เป็นผู้โพสต์เชิญชวนให้คุณมาร่วมเดินป่าด้วยกัน รูปแบบ YY/MM/DD ที่ใช้ในเว็บไซต์นี้ YY คือ ค.ศ. MM คือ เดือน และ DD คือ วัน บางทริปอาจมีการโพสต์ขึ้นใกล้ๆกับวันเดินทาง จึงควรหมั่นเช็คข้อมูลในเว็บไซต์บ่อยๆ นอกจากนี้การยกเลิกหรือการเปลี่ยนแปลงข้อมูลก็อาจเกิดขึ้นได้ เนื่องจากสภาพอากาศและเหตุสุดวิสัย แนะนำให้ผู้ที่สนใจเช็คข้อมูลในเว็บไซต์อีกครั้งก่อนการเริ่มเดินทาง

16/08/28_Mon Cham Loop Backwards

 

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This is a repeat of the well known Mon Cham loop, only in reverse. We start at the small restaurant at Mon Cham and walk up to the ridge, hopefully for some nice views. Then we loop around and zigzag down into the valley and the small village populated with indifferent dogs. Then we double back slightly to view Anders’ cave and then wind our way up to the small road and back to the restaurant, completing the loop. This will be an easy hike on mainly dirt roads and with over 50% downhill and should take between three to four hours. Given the short duration there will be no lunch stop but there will be snack rests. In the event of heavy rain the hike will be cancelled. If it is cancelled, a notification will be posted here before 7AM on Sunday.

 

Hike Leader: Stephen R.

If you want to join
Just turn up at the meeting place on the day. Well-behaved dogs welcome. No groups please.

Meeting Place
We will meet 07.45 am for an 08.00 start, in front of the 700-year stadium (see map), just beside the 121 irrigation canal road (not inside the stadium),

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then…

  • Car-share in convoy north towards Mae Rim on routes 121 and 107.
  • Turn left onto the military Mae Rim bypass road towards the Mae Rim-Samoeng (Mae Sa valley) Rd.
  • Turn left onto the Mae Sa valley 1096 road towards Samoeng.
  • Re-group, waiting for any stragglers in front of the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden entrance.
  • Turn off north and climb up the 4027 rural road to the Mon Jaem carpark/restaurant/viewpoint at 1,275 metres.
  • Start hiking by 09.00 am. Finish hiking around by about 12.30. Most of us will probably then have lunch in our favourite local restaurant.
  • Driving time between meeting point and hiking area about 45 minutes each way.

Advice
Please bring :

  • at least 2 litres of water/rehydration drink
  • money for restaurant lunch, and THB 100 for your driver if sharing their car.
  • sunhat, sunblock, rain protection.
  • energy, enthusiasm, and good humour.
  • spare fresh T-shirt, frock or tux you can change into at the end, especially if you are going to be traveling home with others in a car.

16/08/21 Trip report Pilgrims’ Trail hike

When hikers are given options one never knows what will happen! Here are the 10 of us who started the hike from the end of Suthep Rd., enjoying a beautiful day with no rain, fair views, and some sunshine.

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When we reached Wat Palat 2 more hikers, who had arrived late, caught up, so briefly we were 12. Then 4 of the hikers, including the youngest 3 boys and their aunt, returned to their car on Suthep Rd. and drove up to the temple parking lot, arriving just after the 5 of us who hiked up had arrived at the restaurant for a cup of coffee.  The other 3 who hiked up with us had gone on ahead to visit Wat Doi Suthep and auntie with the 3 younger boys went up to join them, so we never saw any of them again.

Selfie of core group hikers taking refreshment at Doi Suthep - by William M.

Selfie of core group hikers taking refreshment at Doi Suthep – by William M.

So now our group consisted of 5 hikers dedicated to the original plan, but then 3 opted to take a song tao back down and find their way from the arboretum back to their cars at the end of Suthep Rd. That left just 2 of us, but we did not abandon “the plan”. We hiked down to Wat Palat, where we took a few photos,

and then took a path off the Wat Palat trail, heading for Galare restaurant. At least that is where we expected to end up.  Instead we followed a very circuitous route and came out just around the corner from the starting point of the Pilgrims’ Trail, so had a bit farther to go before arriving at the restaurant. Our time for the hike for the 2 of us was about 4 1/2 hours. We didn’t have a GPS, so have no record of the distance covered nor the elevation gain, but realize that the Pilgrim’s trail is probably overall the steepest trail up to the temple, perhaps a 900 meter elevation gain. Our lunch was well deserved.

Janet at Galare. Photo by Mike

Janet at Galare. Photo by Mike

16/08/21_Wat Pong Noi Loop_Trip Report

Notwithstanding dire forecasts of heavy rain, the day dawned bright and cheerful as a group of 11 hikers gathered by the side of Canal Road. We managed to squeeze into two vehicles for the short trip to Wat Pong Noi and both vehicles managed in their turn to squeeze in to the small parking space immediately in front of the trail-head, reducing hard-surface hiking to the width of the lane.

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Good progress was made at steady speed and with occasional short water breaks up the trial bike trail through the forest. This is a lovely area, well-endowed with bugs and bird song. Although still a little muddy from yesterdays’s rain and with clear tire imprints we did not see or hear a trial bike all day. The ideal combination – benefiting from the good trail, but without the noise and fumes.1

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One way to combat bugs

About 2/3 of the way up, the trail gets very close to the road to Doi Suthep and traffic noise from the valley below is quite distinct. At this point a group of 4 men emerged from the trail down to the Observatory, well-equipped with camouflage jackets and machetes. We stopped for a chat before continuing on our way up the steepest part of the route climaxing with a lovely view over the hills to the south. The white gleaming spire of the new wat on Samoeng Road standing out clearly against the muted greens and blues.

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Not too much further on we arrived at the Forester’s Camp where kid you not the National Park rangers had laid on a sumptuous picnic spot for us replete with tables and benches.

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After lunch the group split, with 3 members led by Chan  deciding to walk the forest trail down to Doi Suthep and catch a silor down the mountain. The other 8 members elected to get more close up and personal with the forest and make the loop back to Wat Pong Noi on forest trails. The steep downhill.section was negotiated carefully and without incident. Highlights were another superb view to the south, dominated by the same gleaming white temple, and a panoramic break watching the planes take off and land at Chiang Mai airport.

For anyone planning to do the Valley Cafe loop, the section we walked along is in terrible shape, with the trail difficult to follow in several places. The tree arch marker is now just a carbonised stump.

We arrived back in good spirits, and still in beautiful weather, at 14.30, a total elapsed time of 6 1/2 hours for a hike of 15 kilometers.

 

 

16/08/21 Pilgrim’s trail moderate hike

DSCN0174 Wat Palat

View from Wat Palat

If it is raining on Sunday, please check the web site at 7am in case the hike is canceled.

Here is an alternate hike for those looking for something easier than the main hike (which is posted below) but still having a few steep sections. It should take less than 4 hours and include several choices:  coffee, lunch, shorter or longer, return on foot or song tao. (Please let the leader know if you decide to  leave the main group at any point.)

We will meet at 7:45 at the intersection at the end of Suthep road where the road starts up steeply. (The point marked with a red flag in the map below) Leaving at 8, we will walk up to the start of the Pilgrim trail and continue up to Wat Palat, take a short break, and continue up to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep where we can have coffee. It is possible then to take a song tao down to Wat Palat, to save some time and energy, and walk back down to your car. But the main plan is to walk back down to Wat Palat and continue down part way to a turn off headed for Galare restaurant which overlooks a reservoir, where we can enjoy lunch. Here too you can choose to simply go back to your car instead.

As usual, large groups are not welcome, and only well behaved dogs are welcome. No need to reserve, simply show up at the meeting point on time.

Things to bring: walking or hiking shoes, hiking sticks if you have them, at least 1 1/2 liters water, snacks, rain gear, insect repellent, energy, enthusiasm and a good sense of humor.

Hike leader: Janet

 

Meet at the red flag

Meet at the red flag

 

 

16/08/21_Wat Pong Noi Loop

Warnings: At 14 kilometers in length and with 950 meters vertical elevation gain this hike will be more strenuous than average and a reasonable degree of physical fitness is required. Steep, slippery downhill sections will put a premium on good footwear and a sense of balance. This hike is not for novice hikers.

The start point for this hike is located just behind Wat Pong Noi. We will follow a dirt motorbike trail (trial bikes only!) that climbs steadily up through primary forest to meet the Doi Suthep/ Doi Pui road at the “Forester’s Camp”, approximately mid-way between Wat Doi Suthep and Buphing Palace. Here we will make use of the tables and (one) chair to take our lunch break. From the Forester’s Camp we will descend gently along a forest trail until intersecting another trail coming in from the right, at which point we will turn left and descend steeply southwards towards the Valley Cafe area. Steep descent over, this track meets up with that old favourite the Valley Cafe loop hike, at which point we will turn left and follow the upper part of the VC loop heading back east. At the 4-way junction where we would generally turn right back to Valley Cafe we will keep straight on to meet up with our outward trail and complete the Wat Pong Noi loop.

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For most of the time we will be passing through primary rain forest, with one or two more open areas that afford good views to the south, cloud permitting. The ecosystem is in reasonable order with an abundance of insects (note!), lizards and birds and we put up a small group of Jungle Fowl at one point.

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The outbound part of the hike is steadily uphill on a large dirt trail, with short steeper sections.

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Although the downhill trail is an obvious trail, it is quite steep and there has been a build-up of slippery green algae in parts, which it would be best to avoid. We will be taking this portion of the hike very carefully to avoid mishap. We were surprised to find that the Valley Cafe loop portion of the hike has badly degraded during the monsoon, with a number of blockages due to fallen trees and some parts overgrown by tall grass. We have marked the best route through the tangles, but some soft bushwhacking will be required.

The hike is expected to take 6 – 7 hours depending on the group, meaning we should be back at the vehicles by 3 pm.

We will not attempt to descend the steep downhill trail from the Forester’s Camp in heavy rain. In the event of such a misfortune we will take one of several other options to return to base from the Forester’s Camp.

Hike Leaders: Richard and Peter

If you want to join:

Make sure you have read the general advice on this website as well as the specific hike details in this post. If you still think this hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting place on the day, on time. No need to inform us in advance. But we cannot accommodate groups.

Meeting Point & Time:

We will meet at 07.20 and vehicles will leave for Wat Pong Noi at 07.30.

We will meet at the open area 50 meters past the PTT gas station on Canal Road (about 500 meters south of the Suthep Road intersection (see map below – click on map to enlarge). The meeting point is only about 1 kilometer from the hike start point.

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Items to bring:

  • At least 2 liters of water or re-hydration drink.
  • A picnic lunch.
  • Strong footwear with good grip and ankle support.
  • Sticks recommended for steep downhill.
  • Sunhat, sunscreen, insect repellent.
  • Long sleeves/ pants recommended.
  • Rainwear, unless you are happy to be soaked.
  • Plenty of energy, enthusiasm, team spirit and good humour.

 

16/08/14_Crazy Horse to Sankamphaeng Hot Springs_Trip Report


A happy group of 14 hikers with 2 canine friends pose for photos before setting out with high expectations on the trek to San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. All but one of the vehicles had already been left at the Hot Springs and the drivers shuttled by pick-up to the impressive Crazy Horse Buttress where they joined up with the rest of the party.

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The trail wound up through open forest and was easy to follow at this time of the year. The party maintained a brisk pace but with occasional stops to admire nature and take on water.

 

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We were very lucky with the weather. The heavy overcast along with a breeze kept the temperature down, but allowed for some magnificent views with clouds over the highest peaks but a very sharp view over the valley and the lower slopes. Thankfully the rain stayed away.

 

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Navigation was exactly on the button for most of the hike, with just one minor hiccup close to the end. The group all arrived together at the Hot Springs after 5 hours of very pleasant hiking.

It was then straight to the beer tent for some well-earned sustenance, with plenty of khao niew washed down by the amber liquid. Our canine friends had followed us faithfully all the way and were honoured by being conveyed back to their home at Crazy Horse by their very own personal chauffeur.

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The group then proceeded into the Resort for a swim in the communal hot pool. There all the sweat and weariness of the day were washed away in the soothing warm mineral waters. Thanks to Chan and Tom, ably supported by Anders, for a beautiful day out.

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16/08/14_To Sankamphaeng Hot Springs from Crazy Horse

 

Rocktop pagoda. Photo taken in January: blue sky may not be available.

Rocktop pagoda. Photo taken in January: blue sky may not be available this time.

If there is heavy rain, we might cancel the hike. If we cancel, we will post a notice here by 06:30 on Sunday.

Warnings: Some parts of this hike are steep and stony or slippery. One trail section is narrow beside quite a steep drop. So this hike is not for those who lack a firm sense of balance. Use of proper hiking boots is strongly advised, and hiking poles are also advisable. Also, the trail is not well shaded, so it may be quite hot as well as humid.

An 11 km ridge walk, with good valley views, taking in a number of peaks (max. alt. 756m, min 342m), starting at Crazy Horse buttress near Muang On cave and finishing near Sankamphaeng hot springs so we can have a relaxing swim in the hot pool after the hike.

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Estimated durations:

  • driving there and back: 2hrs
  • hiking: 5 hours
  • eating and bathing: 1.5+ hours

Therefore, don’t expect to get back to Chiang Mai before 16:00 unless you have your own vehicle and want to sacrifice the eating and bathing.

We last did this hike on 24th January. It should be an interesting contrast at this time of year: no smoke from forest burn-off, more green vegetation to relieve the rocky terrain, and hopefully a few more fauna.

 

Hike Leaders: Chan and Tom.

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If you want to join:
Make sure you have read the general advice on this website as well as the specific hike details in this post. If you still think the hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting place on the day, on time. No need to inform us in advance. But we cannot accommodate groups. Seats in cars are usually available but cannot be guaranteed. Please give 100 baht to your driver towards fuel costs if you need a lift, and bring a change of clothes for the return journey. 

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Meeting Place
We will meet at 07.20 in front of Promenada Mall on H.1317 (Point A on the map below).  At 07:30 we head straight out along the H.1317 Sankamphaeng Bypass past Ban On and leave some vehicles at the hot springs car park (GPS co-ords 18.8141802,99.229331), before returning to the Crazy Horse buttress area behind Muang On cave hill.

Promenada

Promenada map

Please bring:

  • at least 2 litres of water/re-hydration drink
  • packed brunch/snacks
  • proper hiking boots. Hiking poles recommended
  • sunhat, rainwear
  • sunblock, insect repellent may be useful
  • energy, enthusiasm, team spirit and good humour.
  • swimsuit, towel for bathing at hot springs
  • change of clothes/footwear for in-car niceness on return journey
  • 100 Baht contribution for car fuel if you are a passenger
  • 100 Baht (approx) for entry fees to Hot Springs and bathing facilities