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18/04/01 Trip report Mae Jaem forest loop


Twelve hikers and one K9 gathered on another smoky day at the rendezvous point and set of for the, hopefully, clearer air of Mae Jaem.  The air was a little clearer but still quite bad and the normally beautiful views were, alas, not to be had but it was cooler.  The group set off on the trail which leads up the go-kart track and was enthusiastically inspected by some hikers in anticipation of the return and having a run down it.  At the top we came to the newly expanded dirt road and had a leisurely walk before making a short, but quite steep, descent and after some more gentle ascents we came to the highest point of the hike on which there is a statue of the last ruler of Lua, Khun Luang Wilangka.   According to records, his empire covered much of Chiang Mai and Lamphun but he was defeated by Queen Jamathewi and retreated to the surrounding hills where he, allegedly, committed, suicide.  Legend has it that his dying wish was to be buried at the highest point in the area so he could watch over his lost kingdom.

Taking a break here it was possible to make out some of the surrounding scenery but not clear enough for photos.  After the break it was back on the wide dirt road and gentle ups-and-downs until taking a trail which took us down on to another dirt road and the lowest point of the hike and from here on it was uphill for about 2km, the last bit quite steep, before rejoining the outward route which we followed until reaching a junction.  Here we split into groups, those who wanted a shorter hike and to go go-karting and those who fancied a little longer hike.  Once decided the groups went their separate ways and managed to finish at the same time.  No photos of the go-karters’ I’m afraid but they seemed to have fun.

Fun time over it was a short drive to the restaurant where the usual post-hike refreshments were had.

Thanks to all who turned out making it another great day.

Special thanks to J for the group photo, which took a lot of patience in setting up; to B and M for the history lesson.

Hope S is on the mend as it was his hike but he had an unfortunate accident on Friday and unable to make it




18/03/18_Report_Beyond Buddha’s Footprint

A relatively small group of 10 hikers met at the Arboretum for this late winter hike on Doi Pui. We speculated that perhaps the seasonal visitors are beginning to leave Chiang Mai now that spring is beckoning in their homelands. Our group traveled in three cars and two motorbikes to the start of the hike at Ban Hmong Doi Pui, a popular tourist destination on the south slope of the mountain. There we met another hiker who had arrived by motorbike to join our group, which now numbered eleven.

From the hill tribe village we proceeded on a gradually rising trail through a highland forest for about two kilometers until reaching a saddle with a large valley opening to the north. Beyond the saddle we continued northwest about one kilometer up a gradual incline until reaching a rocky summit at 1522 meters elevation. A quick snack and drink refreshed the group in preparation for the trek “beyond Buddha’s Footprint” which only two of us had previously visited.

Just beyond Buddha’s Footprint on the top of the ridge, we encountered a newly constructed meeting venue consisting of a stage with benches to accommodate over a hundred people, a small campground, and two concrete toilets with running water for the convenience of visitors. Signs and written slogans indicated the area was a meeting place for villagers and volunteers working to prevent fires and preserve the wilderness.

Hiking down the ridge, we entered new territory with less underbrush, more pines, and more open views to the valley below. Traversing around a small peak, we shortly arrived at a junction of several roads leading to hill tribe villages below. There we encountered a small group of villagers who appeared to be enjoying a social get-together while some of the women engaged in craft activity. From the junction we hiked up a road to the grassy summit of a small mountain where we enjoyed a lite lunch while imagining the views of Doi Inthanon we’d see on a day that offered greater visibility.

From our pleasant hill top lunch spot, we retraced our steps back down and then up the ridge leading toward the newly constructed meeting venue. Once reaching that point, we elected to follow the trail that traverses the west slope of the ridge below Buddha’s Footprint. We noted that the trail had recently been improved and cleared of dense underbrush. There were some flowering trees to be seen, but clearly they were beyond their prime.

Rejoining the main trail we returned along the path previously traveled to the village from which we had departed. Before leaving for home, we enjoyed a second lunch and liquid refreshments while sharing impressions of the day’s experience. The consensus found the hike to be an agreeable extension of the classic trek to Buddha’s Footprint.

Total distance covered: 13 km., elevation gain: 615 meters, time elapsed, including breaks and lunch: 6 hours.

Hike initiation and report by Michael G. Photos by Michaels G & M, and Janet

18/03/11_Trip Report_Baan Huai Mo Loop

A group of 23 intrepid hikers set out by car and motorbike, winding up a small single track mountain road to the starting point with hopes of finding clear air at higher elevations…not to be disappointed.  We walked through shaded forest on well marked trails for most of the way on a gradual incline until eventually reaching ridge trails which offered beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains only slightly shrouded in smog.  The group decided to stay together and push on for the harder option rather than split into two groups and continued on uphill.
At one point a bypass was taken as a shortcut to avoid going over the top of two hills, but in hindsight the hills would have been preferred.

The difficult section involved traversing the side of a steep slope.

The difficult section also involved a steep climb up a buttress ridge.

We slipped and stumbled along a steep, narrow goat-path and after several treacherous moments were happy to arrive relatively unscathed back on the ridge for our lunch stop.  This must have been the ‘new section’…not to be repeated.

We continued downhill on a clear trail towards a steep rocky outcropping  that tempted 5 hikers to scale the rock wall to its jagged peak, looking over the precipice and snapping a few pics to prove we made it to the top.

From here it was a gentle downhill all the way back to the cars made uncomfortable for one hiker due to a persistently spasming calf muscle, but improved with cold refreshments and food at the post-hike establishment.

9.6 kms
Elevation +/- 700m
6 hours  10 mins
23 hikers – youngest 9 years old!

Hike leadership by MikeHike and PGB. Report by Jenny. Photos by Michael M.

18/02/25_Hike report_Wat Umong to Wat Doi Kham

19 people joined this suburban hike, assembling at 07:15. Ten minutes’ walk up from Canal Road, we entered the main gate of Wat Umong, and spent 20 minutes or so in its grounds, visiting its tunnels, the stupa, and the lake. A small island, connected to the bank by a pair of foot-bridges, is home to a large snake, we learned. It was only after some of us had stepped over its rear end thinking it was a tree-root, that we noticed the front end, under a bush, devouring a pigeon. It’s a reticulated python (thanks, Richard).

Reticulated python devouring a pigeon on the island at Wat Umong. Photo by Janet.


Black Crowned Night Heron at Wat Umong. Photo by Janet.


Aviary at the wildlife education center near Wat Umong.

Leaving Wat Umong by the side-gate, we briefly visited the Choeng Doi Suthep Wildlife and Nature Education Center, long enough to look at the enclosed birds and catch a glimpse of deer near the entrance. But there does not seem to be an alternative to leaving again by the main gate. So we made our way onward across some soon-to-be-developed land, to reach the most westerly lane leading southward. The area through which we next walked includes an interesting mixture of homes (from shacks to mansions) and small businesses.

Wall of pots outside a house along our route. Photo by Janet.

Although the mountain forest is close on the right, there are few opportunities to enter the Doi Suthep National Park, but we got a bit of woodland-walking near the access-point used in Richard’s hike of last rainy season. There we turned south-east, and soon crossed into the Mae Hia (agricultural) campus of Chiang Mai University, from where we could see our the giant Buddha statue of Wat Doi Kham on the hill ahead of us.

In CMU Mae Hia campus, with Wat Doi Kham visible of the hill.

After tracing a path around the campus’ lakes and among its crop fields, a little more road-walking was needed in order to reach the staircase that makes the final ascent to Wat Doi Kham.

The final (naga) stage of staircase leading up to Wat Doi Kham.

Our counts of the number of steps ranged between 487 and 510.

Reaching the top, we found Wat Phra Tat Doi Kham very full of visitors, motor vehicles, and stalls for souvenirs and refreshments. There was time for some of us to walk round and see the temple complex, but most of us used that time to recover with cold drinks. We then all bundled into a couple of songthaews to take us to the bottom of the hill, and a couple more to return us to our morning’s starting-point, which we reached around 11.45.

Hike initiation and report by Michael M.



18/02/18_Trip Report_Two Waterfalls Loop

The morning was cool and hazy when 30 hikers, including a few new faces, met at the Arboretum. After the “pep talk” we set out up the road, taking the trail off on the left, stopping when we reached Huay Kaew waterfall for a group photo. (This was a wonderful group of hikers who managed to stay together throughout the hike!) When we arrived at Wang Bua Baan  2 of the more hearty hikers announced they were splitting off to do a much longer hike, so we wished them well and hope we will hear from them again!

After crossing the road we continued up the rather steep path, and about an hour after starting out we found the narrow and overgrown short cut across to the main trail to Chang Khian waterfall. Here the trail becomes quite rocky and has a few steep downhill sections which all managed to navigate without incident. As far as I know there were no falls during the hike in spite of some tricky spots.

We found the waterfall full enough to be beautiful and refreshingly cold, so only a few waded in. This became a very social event with hikers standing or sitting in groups talking and talking! We spent something close to an hour enjoying this lovely spot and each other, before continuing on the loop and coming down to the road near the Boy Scout Camp. At that point it was almost noon, so we headed for Neo Cafe, refreshments and more socializing.

Leadership and report by Janet. Photos by Janet and Michael


18/02/11_Phu Talay Mork (or to the cognoscenti Foggy Sea View)

Please read the information in this posting and more generally on the site and make sure you are adequately prepared. Specifically on this hike you should be aware of the following: at one point we need to bushwhack down a steep slope (balance), in more open areas the trail will sometimes pass through head-high grass with occasional thorns (long pants recommended) and some sections of the road are open and exposed to the sun (sun block and hat).

This hike is themed around a well-known local viewpoint which is famous during the cool season for the sight of clouds filling the valley floors between ranges of hills stretching westwards into the blue distance (the eponymous sea of fog). The clouds were in evidence during last week’s recce, but partially obscured by the dry season pollution haze that has started to infiltrate into the valleys. The pine-clad crest of the high ridge we will be hiking on, however, stands blissfully above the grime below.


We have hiked this area just once before, four years ago (Sunday hikes that is, there have been multiple exploratory attempts). For those with long memories the route will be much the same, but with some nice bits added and the most strenuous part removed. What remains is a modest 10km long with an elevation gain of about 500 meters and should be completed in 4 hours including snack break.

We will start in the village of  Ban Buak Toei and follow a wide forest trail up on to the ridge line and viewpoint, where we will pause to admire the view to the west. The lovely wide trail along the ridgeline quickly deteriorates into a faint forest trail that is difficult to follow in places. General direction clear, but don’t blame the Organiser for some minor excursions into the undergrowth. This section of the hike comes to an end with an unavoidable steep off-trail vegetated slope that links with a separate trail below. There are plenty of handholds but beware, some of them bear sharp thorns.

From this point the route is more open, passing along clear trails to an abandoned resort, where we will stop for a snack. Some more open trail follows until we reach a quiet road that contours along the eastern side of the ridge and gives magnificent views over Mon Chaem and the southern side of the Mae Sa Valley. Initially the road is paved, but we soon turn right onto a dirt road that leads back to the cars. Just before the end we will turn right off the road towards the viewpoint and thence down the initial section of our out-trail in order to avoid a busy village road.

We will make a point of staying together on this hike. There are several roads and small trails leading off and, strangely for such a benign-looking area, these are usually bad news.

We should finish this hike at lunchtime. Hikers can either go home early or stop for lunch on the way back. The scenic Thermadoi Restaurant is only a few kilometers off our route back to town and is the Organiser’s favoured option.

Meeting Point and Directions:

We will meet at 07.30 at the Esso gas station on the west side of the Chiang Mai to Mae Rim road (Highway 107), just south of the City Hall intersection. For those coming from town, the Esso is to be found shortly after passing the Lanna Golf Club and is clearly signposted (there is also an Esso more or less opposite on the east side of the road). This new meeting place has been necessitated by a large event in the Canal Road area that renders our normal meeting place at 700P untenable.

As usual we will carpool and travel in convoy to the hike starting point. The route will take us north up Highway 107 and via the shortcut that by-passes Mae Rim onto Highway 1096 to Samoeng. The turn-off for the hike is on the right about 10 kilometers after passing through Pong Yaeng Village and is onto a narrow hard-topped road at the top of a steep hill. There is a sign for Phu Mork Dao Resort, but this junction is easily missed and care is required.

Note: this time we will park down in the village and not at the top of the hill as last time.

Hike Organiser: Richard

Please read the general information on this site as well as this particular post. If you still feel this hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting point on the day and time. No need to let us know you are coming. Please be advised that we cannot accommodate groups.

Seats in cars are generally available, but cannot be guaranteed.


Please bring:

  • At least 2 liters of water/ rehydration drink
  • A snack
  • For passengers: 100 Baht towards fuel costs and a change of clothes/ footwear
  • Hat and sun block
  • Long pants recommended
  • Energy, enthusiasm and good humour





18/02/04_Report_Doi Pui Summit Loop

A group 25 hikers turned up for this trek on a cool and overcast morning.  After meeting at the Arboretum to arrange transportation, we car pooled to Ban Hmong Doi Pui, already crowded with tourist-filled songthaews by the time we arrived.  After the customary group photo [PHOTO] in the parking area, we proceeded up through the village and onto a gradually rising trail through a lush highland forest.

After an easy two kilometer hike, the trail became more challenging, rising more than 300 meters up a forested ridge while offering glimpses of the misty valley below.  After spreading out a bit to accommodate different climbing paces, we successfully reassembled on the paved summit road at the top of the ridge.  It was then but a short hike down to the viewpoint below the summit where we took an early lunch break and enjoyed the views now opening up under mixed sunshine and clouds.

At this juncture, one of our party elected to descend on a more strenuous route which no doubt delivered him to the bottom of the mountain before we returned.  The remaining group of 24 then backtracked to scale the summit of Doi Pui for photos before descending the nature trail toward the campground. Small puddles of water on the trail and moisture on the vegetation suggested it had recently rained.

At the summit

Reaching a dirt road, we left the trail and quickly rejoined the paved summit road leading back down the mountain.  After a short time we turned right down another trail and completed the loop by descending steeply though a forest, then temple grounds, and finally down a steep set of steps back into the village.  There we all enjoyed a lunch and liquid refreshments at two small restaurants before driving back to starting point at the Arboretum.

The youth team (minus Keir)

Total distance covered: 9.8 km., elevation gain: 628 meters, time elapsed, including breaks and lunch: 4 1/2 hours.

Hike initiation and report by Michael G. Photos by Michael M and Andrew.