Doi Suthep Summit – New tracks
This hike starts at an altitude of about 1,000 metres and rises to nearly 1,600 metres. It is mostly in the shade and off road in the forest. We shall be using two new trails. There are some challenging sections. At these elevations we can enjoy clearer and cooler air than in Chiang Mai city. The hike is about 10.5 km and may take about 5 – 7 hours as we shall not hurry. We begin early to take advantage of the cool morning.
We start at Park HQ Vehicle Park at an altitude of about 1,000 metres. We hike uphill through the HQ area for about 1 km and reach a tower at a height of about 1,120 metres. Here we turn right into a newly cleared forest trail (with thanks to John H who spearheaded the onslaught!) and ascend about 600 metres over half a kilometre until we reach a main track on our left. We are now at an altitude of about 1,200 metres. We continue through the forest for about another 2 km rising about 125 metres until we see the Palace water pumping station on our right. This is where the serious uphill hiking starts!
We ascend steeply alongside a new pipeline on our left and are thankful that this is a short section.
We have reached the north eastern corner of the Phuping Palace fence and hike in a westerly direction alongside it. Over its 0.75 km length we rise about 150 metres to an altitude of about 1,486 metres. This short, sometimes steep, section took me an hour on Thursday 14th March. From this (NW) corner we hike north along a narrow forest trail for about 600 metres and reach the summit area at 1,580 metres. We will rest and have our picnic lunch on the remains of the Sun Gu temple.
After lunch we return south along the same trail down to the NW corner of the palace fence and from there hike down alongside the fence. There is a short section that is not easy but most of the descent to Ban Phuphing is trouble free and we believe we have cleared the remains of the old barbed wire.
We have to walk a short distance on the road through the village until we have passed the Royal Palace Entrance. We then hop over the Armco barrier on the right and descend steeply back into the forest. The descent is mainly gentle but with a small steep section after we pass through the Foresters’ encampment. The last one km before we reach the road is a trail that we discovered and cleared with thanks to Mike, Dizzy, John H and Janet. We have arrived at the Tham Rusee Nature Trail parking place alongside the main road 1004. We descend by steps with handrails down along the nature trail and pass the Monk’s cave until we exit the trail over a shallow stream. On the other side we ascend fairly steeply for a short distance until we come out into a well-tended garden. We leave the garden and follow the highway for a short distance until we cross the road and go through the main Park Entrance gate. We finish the hike at the starting point in the HQ Vehicle Park.
Hike leaders: Brian and Janet
If you want to join
Just turn up at the meeting place on the day and on time.
We cannot accommodate groups.
This time we will meet before 07:50 in the car park of the Huay Kaeow Arboretum (also known as the exercise park).
- Head straight out from the moat 3.5 km towards Doi Suthep on Huay Kaeow Road.
- The arboretum is on the left after the front entrance to Chiang Mai University and just before the entrance to the Zoo.
- The car park of the arboretum is at the end of the park near the zoo.
See the maps below (click to enlarge them).
- around 1.5-2 liters of water or more, snacks and picnic lunch
- correct money for transport (at least 80 bt).
- good footwear etc. hat, rain wear, insect repellent and sun-block
- energy, enthusiasm and a good sense of humour.
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