Leech alert! There may be leeches and they can be very irritating! You are advised to use insect repellant or leggings/sleeves if you are worried about them.
This is a moderately long but not a difficult hike, taking in some beautiful and varied scenes.
At the Mae Takhrai National Park Visitor Centre we will pick up a park guide or two since this is their hike (they showed it to us when we did it in Oct 2014). All hike participants will be asked to contribute a small amount to be given to the park guides: not more than 40THB.
Most of the hiking is on well-defined trails—park guides are good at clearing any fallen bamboo! – with little by way of steep climbs or descents. We go to the Mae Tong Falls, which though small are pretty. Some care will need to be taken around the waterfalls, where slippery rocks may be a hazard to those venturing too near edges (but not dangerous if you are careful). There may also be some leeches in the watery areas.
The hike continues upstream and through some rice paddy to a Karen village (Ban Pong), where we will most likely have lunch unless our hunger preempts that of the park guides, who like the condiments and sticky rice supplied by the Karen villages. We return from Ban Pong by a motorcycle trail that descends gently through mixed forest to where we parked the cars.
Hike length is about 13km, with about 330m elevation gain. Estimated walking time is 5-6 hours. Hence the hiking should be over by 3pm and it should be possible to get back to Chiang Mai by 4pm if your driver does not want to linger for more refreshments – and 5pm otherwise.
There isn’t an obvious cafe for apres-hike care, although another kind of refreshment is available at the Park Visitor Centre: shower facilities for those who want to clean up before returning to Chiang Mai. Maybe any carloads who are particularly hungry/thirsty may spot a place to regale themselves on the way.
If you want to join: Please read the general advice on this website as well as the specific details in this post. If you still think the hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting place on time! No need to inform us that you are coming. Places in cars are almost always available but cannot be absolutely guaranteed.
You are advised to bring:
- at least 2 litres of water/re-hydration drink
- Snacks/packed lunch.
- strong footwear, sunhat, sunblock, insect repellent and rain protection
- energy, enthusiasm, team spirit and good humour
- 100 THB contribution for car fuel if you are a passenger, and 40THB contribution for park guides