This is a high altitude, slow paced, hike over varied terrain. It is a 10.5 km hike starting from Ban Doi Suthep at an altitude of about 1,000 metres and reaching 1,601 metres at the summit of Doi Suthep.
We will use new trails that avoid the need to walk 2 kms on the main road.
From the Temple area we walk up the road and pass through the gardens on the left. We leave the gardens by going through the forest downhill and cross a bridge over a small stream to enter a Nature trail. This trail takes us up to a cave and from there by a series of steps with handrails until we reach a small vehicle parking place. We leave this parking lot and turn left uphill on the road for a few metres and then cross the road into a forest trail that continues uphill for about one kilometre to a junction. Here the hike leader has the choice of continuing on the main trail or scrambling up the embankment to a narrow trail that goes up to some unused buildings.
Either way the trails arrive close to a pumping house and nearby there is a steep uphill trail that goes up to the perimeter fence of the BhuPing Palace. We pass by some usually unmanned military emplacements where it may be prudent not use our cameras. We continue uphill alongside the Palace fence on our left until we reach a sharp left hand bend in the fence. Here we can see water tanks on our right and we continue up and pass them on our left using a narrow forest trail until we reach the summit of Doi Suthep and the ruins of the Sun Gu pagoda and stupa. Here we usually rest and take our refreshments.
We descend from the summit along the same narrow trail and when we reach the Palace fence we continue straight with the fence on our left until we reach the road. Here we turn left onto the road and after a short walk reach Ban Bhuping with restrooms and a rest area on our right. We continue downhill on the main road passing the Palace Gardens entrance on our left and then down the very narrow busy main road and pass the Royal Entrance on our left. Shortly after this we leave the road and go up to buildings on our left beyond which we pick up a forest trail that brings us down to a construction area alongside the main road. We cross the main road and immediately enter the forest on the other side of the road and follow a well-defined cyclist’s trail to reach the Forresters’ encampment. We pass through the camp and take a trail that runs alongside water pipes until we are above and behind the beautifully situated Montfort Retreat. From here we walk 1 km down the narrow paved road and return to Ban Doi Suthep and the Song taews.
We should complete the hike by mid afternoon.
We will :
- meet at the arboretum before 08:00 and will go by song taew (please expect to pay up to 100 bt depending on numbers) up to near the Temple on Doi Suthep.
- walk up the main road a short distance to the Garden Entrance
- pass through the garden, go downhill and cross the stream and ascend into a Nature Trail
- hike through the Nature Trail, passing by a cave, and ascend on well made steps with handrails to a parking lot alongside the main road
- walk a short distance on the main road and then cross into the forest
- follow the forest trail through the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park until we reach the perimeter fence of BhuPing Palace
- ascend behind the Palace where we pass several military emplacements and some fence construction work
- reach a corner of the fence and ascend along about a kilometre of narrow trail to the summit Doi Suthep which is listed as having an altitude of 1,601m.
- rest and have picnic lunch at the Sun Gu pagoda.
- descend from the summit by the same trail
- continue downhill on a trail that runs alongside the perimeter of the Palace.
- reach Ban BhuPing and find Rest Rooms for those in need.
- forget the viewpoint as its most unlikely there will be a view
- walk down the road through Ban Phu Phing (altitude 1,385m)
- turn left and hike through forest, cross the main road and reach the Forresters’ Fire Protection encampment (altitude 1,208m)
- walk up about 1 km alongside a pipeline and pass by the St Louis Marie De Montfort Retreat area (altitude 1,120m) where we may get a noisy reception from half a dozen dogs.
- walk downhill on a narrow paved road for about 1 km and arrive back at BanDoi Suthep where, perhaps, we enjoy a coffee before taking a Song Taew back to the Arboretum.li>
Hike Leader: Janet
If you want to join
Just turn up before time at the meeting place on the day.
This time we will meet before 08:00 hours in the car park of the Huay Kaeow Arboretum (also known as the exercise park).
The Arboretum (otherwise known as Suan Luukachaat Huay Kaeow or Huay Kaeow Excercise park) is out along Huay Kaeow Rd.
- From the moat driving out along Huay Kaeow Rd you will immediately pass Kad Suan Kaeow shopping mall on the left.
- Go straight on through the first big intersection Amari Rincombe intersection.
- Go straight on further past the Phucombe intersection (you will see a dunkin doughnut on the corner).
- Go past the front entrance to Chiang Mai University.
- After less than a kilometre you will see a small park on your left. This is the arboretum.
- We meet at the car park just after the arboretum, well before Chiang Mai Zoo. It is a small car park, at the back there are some food stalls, away from the road. We meet about 10 meters in from the road.
See the maps below (click to enlarge them).
- around 1.5-2 liters of water or more, snacks and picnic lunch
- good footwear etc. hat, mozzie repellant and sunblock
- energy, enthusiasm and a good sense of humour.
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