This is a tough hike with beautiful ridge views and a challenging summit scramble. The hike is around 7 kms round trip with about 800 meters of often VERY steep altitude gain and then the same very steep descent. A good level of fitness and agility is required, along with a tolerance for heights and exposure. We will take it at a moderate pace, with around six hours of hiking including rest breaks and lunch.
The drive to Ban Mae Ton Luang takes about an hour from the meeting point. (Remember to bring a spare shirt etc for in-car pleasantness on the way back, and THB 100 contribution for fuel if sharing someone else’s car). We’ll park our vehicles at the Ban Mae Ton Luang Wat. After parking we’ll hike through the village and then up a stream and through a small coffee plantation until turning left on a trail that ascends steeply up the nose of the ridge. Once on the ridge the views toward Doi Lanka Noi and Doi Lanka Luang are marvelous, especially if the air is clear. We’ll follow the ridge up and down for about 1km and arrive at the base of the summit scramble.
WARNING: There are two routes to the summit of Doi Lanka Noi. Hikers should NOT attempt climbing either route until the trip leaders are present to show the way. Route One requires a steep scramble up a sketchy trail that’s exposed to the cliffs on the south side of the mountain. Any mistakes made on this route are potentially fatal. If you have difficulty when exposed to heights, if your sense of balance is at all compromised, or if you are uncomfortable with loose rocks and steep steps, Route Two to the summit will be more appropriate for you. All hikers should remain at the base of the summit pitch until everyone is assembled. You will have three choices: Route One, Route Two which is less exposed but still quite steep, or remaining at the base of the mountain to enjoy your lunch while others climb to the summit.
The descent from the summit is obviously quite tricky also – anyone who climbed Route One to the summit may choose to descend via Route Two. The return hike along the ridge is straightforward except for the steep descent of the initial slope up to the ridge. Beware of dried leaves on the trail which can produce nasty falls for the unsuspecting hiker. After safely returning to our vehicles we’ll drive to our favorite watering hole, Pang Hai Coffee, for beer and other refreshments.
Hike Leaders: Michael G and Andrew W
We will meet at 07.50 am in front of Central Festival (18° 48.328′ N; 99° 1.211′ E) on the route 118 (the road out to Doi Saket and Chiang Rai, see map below) opposite the Isuzu showroom (not on the Superhighway 11 side) for an 08.00 am start. We need to maximize car pooling due to the relatively small parking area at the Wat. Once car-pooled, we will head for Doi Saket to stop to pick-up additional hikers coming from outside Chiang Mai. We will pull up briefly at Bangjak petrol station (18° 52.397′ N; 99° 8.034′ E) at Doi Saket at about 08:20. From Doi Saket to the car park at the Wat takes a little less than one hour.
- If you want to join, make sure you have read the general guidance on this website and the special guidance in this post. If you are still sure the hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting place on the day and on time. There is no need to let us know you are coming.
- We cannot accommodate groups.
- Please give your driver 100 baht to cover cost of fuel and see maps and read the advice below.
Especially, for your own well-being, remember to bring:
- AT LEAST two litres of water per hiker
- Hat, sunblock
- Good footwear
- Hiking poles, insect repellent
- Towel, extra shirt and bag for smelly shoes/socks, to keep the atmosphere nice when sharing cars on the return journey
- 100 Baht contribution for gasoline if you will be getting a lift
- Plenty of food/snacks
- Energy, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor.
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