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. It is a moderate hike in the forest and passing nearby the beautifully situated Montfort Retreat from where we go up to the Foresters’ encampment alongside the 1004 road. From here there is a 2 km walk in the forest to reach Ban Phu Phing. We pass through the village and leave the road to hike alongside the Phu Phing Palace. Above the Palace the trail takes us to the summit of Doi Suthep. Near the summit is the ancient ruined pagoda of Sun Gu in an area covered with oak and pine trees. We descend from the summit and a forest trail takes us behind the Palace where there are some small tricky downhill sections. We pass by some usually unmanned military emplacements where it may be prudent not use our cameras. We continue through the forest and onto the track that crosses the main road and a small vehicle park that is also the entrance to the recently refurbished Nature Trai. Along the Nature Trail we pass by the Monk’s Cave and many other features. Then we descend and cross a stream before coming up into a garden just above the Temple where the hike ends. 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 the parking area before the Temple on Doi Suthep.
- walk up about 1 km 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.
- hike another kilometre or so through forest and reach the Forresters’ Fire Protection encampment (altitude 1,208m) and go onto the shady road where several specimens of trees are seen.
- walk the 2 kms up the road to Ban Phu Phing (altitude 1,385m)
- visit the viewpoint if it seems likely there will be a view
- find Rest Rooms for those in need.
- proceed a bit further up the road and take the trail that runs uphill alongside the perimeter of the Palace.
- reach the summit of Doi Suthep which is listed as having an altitude of 1,601m.
- rest and have picnic lunch at the Sun Gu pagoda.
- descend along about a half km of the trail we used to go up to the summit.
- continue our descent behind the Palace where we pass several military emplacements in sometimes difficult terrain.
- follow the forest trail through the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park and emerge by the road
- cross the road and descend on well made steps with handrails through a Nature Trail
- pass by a cave and other natural places and descend to a stream
- cross the stream and ascend into a garden
- exit the garden onto the main road and walk down a short distance to the Temple area from where we can board Song Taews to take us back to the Arboretum and City.
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).
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.
Photo taken on a previous hike on another trail
Sapria himalayana is a rare holoparasitic flowering plant related to Rafflesia found in the Eastern Himalayas. Sapria himalayana represents the extreme manifestation of the parasitic mode, being completely dependent on its host plant for water, nutrients and products of photosynthesis which it sucks through a specialised root system called haustoria. These haustoria are attached to both the xylem and the phloem of the host plant (Wikipedia).
Thanks to Janet for this picture made behind the Temple on Doi Suthep on 10th December 2011. At our Sunday hike on 11th December 2011 we saw several of these plants in the Nature Trail area.
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