Some sixteen walkers turned up for this short Mon Jaem hike. Travelling at different speeds we all managed to reach the main viewpoint within the first hour. The view was somewhat restricted by the smog, but an alternative feature of interest was the new statue that has been erected.
Moving on we discovered that the original road has now been extended, enabling us to do a complete loop on the dirt roads. At the intersection of two roads a dead flattened snake was discovered, which caused some alarm among two hikers when it was dangled from a stick in front of them by the hike leader.
Towards the end of the hike five hikers opted to return on the direct route to the car park (rather than do the vineyard loop), in order to try out the local rickty go-carts on the long final slope. (See photos below, and video clips on the new CM hiking facebook page).
After the three hour nine kilometre hike most walkers adjourned to the Therma Doi restaurant for a welcome beer and lunch.
Report and hike leadership by Stephen. Photos mostly by Waka
This should be a relatively easy high altitude and well shaded hike through the forested ridges of Mon Jaem with, weather permitting, ridge views to the north (Doi Chiang Dao) and south (Doi Pui). About 80% of the hike will be easy going on seldom used vehicle tracks. However, on a recce hike earlier this week the hike leader failed to find a connecting path between these tracks (presumably now grown over). We will try again (from the opposite direction) this weekend and this may involve some exploratory bush whacking. Should we be unable to locate the connecting path we will simply backtrack and do a slightly smaller loop on the vehicle tracks, which will still encompassing the main view points. On the way back we will meander past a small vineyard (no wine for sale, unfortunately) and through the small settlement of Mon Jaem. The hike should take between three to four hours, depending on the hike leader’s pathfinder skills (variable) and afterwards we will have lunch at the new restaurant which the group visited last week.
Hike Leader: Stephen
If you want to join
Ensure you have read the general guidance on this website (see tabs at the top) as well as the specific information in this post. If you still think the hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting place on time. No need to tell us you are coming.
Meeting Place and Time
We will meet at 07:45 for an 08:00 convoy departure in front of the 700-year stadium (see map), just beside the 121 irrigation canal road.
- Car-share in convoy north towards Mae Rim on routes 121 and 107.
- Turn left onto the military Mae Rim bypass road towards the Mae Rim-Samoeng (Mae Sa valley) Rd.
- Turn left onto the Mae Sa valley 1096 road towards Samoeng.
- Re-group, waiting for any stragglers in front of the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden entrance.
- Turn off north and climb up the 4027 rural road to the Mon Jaem carpark/restaurant/viewpoint at 1,275 metres.
- Start hiking by 09:00 am. Finish hiking around 13:00.
- After lunch, most vehicles will probably get back to Chiang Mai around 15:30.
- See the map below (click to enlarge).
Please bring :
- at least 2 litres of water/rehydration drink
- money for restaurant lunch, and THB 100 for your driver if sharing their car.
- sunhat, sunblock.
- energy, enthusiasm, and good humour.
- spare fresh T-shirt, frock or tux you can change into at the end, especially if you are going to be traveling home with others in a car.
The day dawned with heavy rain showers, prompting a message of reassurance on the website. However, the rain had stopped by the time 20 brave souls assembled at the meeting point and held off during the drive to Ban Pha Nok Kok. The little mountain village was still enveloped in cloud when we took the pre-hike photograph.
Progress continued along the ridge with the ghostly shapes of the huge canopy trees looming through the mist. No rain, just the occasional drops of condensation falling from the foliage above.
Plenty of large vines were scattered through the forest useful for display, relaxation or even as a stage for graceful balletic moves.
In contrast to the din of insects and birds encountered during the sun-bathed reconnaissance hike, the misty forest was eerily quiet, with just the occasional tweet of a bird in the distance. The fine display of orchids, however, was still in evidence.
At the “viewpoint” brunch-stop the lovely views were still hidden behind a bank of low cloud. However, on the return journey the cloud began to disperse and glimpses of the hills and valleys gradually materialised.
About half-way back along the ridge a 3-man “shortcut” team elected to head off northwards, confident of getting back to the cars before the main group – poor deluded souls. The main group got back to the cars after hiking for 4 hours 45 minutes over a (GPS-measured) distance of 13 kilometers. No short-cut team. We changed, drove down to the Thermadoi Restaurant and ordered refreshments – still no short-cutters. Finally a small group of weary travellers appeared hiking UP the road from the valley below. What a short-cut!
At the restaurant we enjoyed excellent food and refreshments and all with the benefit of (by then) a wonderful view.
We were a group of 14 setting out at 8:10 from the Standing Buddha at Huay Teung Tao. We walked steadily uphill for the first 8.5km – through dry forest, past the landmark four big trees and several lychee orchards – to a maximum height of 1083m before starting back down the mountain. After a brief rerouting onto the correct trail we began to go quite steeply downhill, passing some blackened patches which had burned recently, until at last reaching the lake at Huay Teung Tao. We walked 13.5km over 5:40 hours with a total elevation gain of 1052m. The swim, beer and food were the perfect ending to a longish, hot hike.
Hike leadership and report by Jenny.
Reprise of a favourite hike pioneered by Pam and Anders a little over two years ago.
We will hike in a beautiful valley, along a small river named Nam Mae Khanin in Op Khan National Park. Crystal clear cold water from the mountains, but probably not too much because of the season. The hike can be classified as easy . We will have some steep sections, but not more than for around 30 minutes in total. For the most part it is a hike along the narrow river valley. Hiking time including breaks and lunch is 4 hours and 30 minutes, up to 5 hours, depending on the group. The little specialty that makes this an adventure hike is that we will cross the river numerous times and for one hour we will hike in the stream. But please do not worry, the river is wide and the water level is about 10 centimeters or less only. Soft and sandy ground to walk on and delightfully cool mountain water. In order to be able to get the full benefits of this hike, it is very important that you bring two pairs of shoes with you. A couple for the river wading and a couple for the regular hiking. You can say that this hike is a bit magic ……. Option after the hike: Nice lunch at the spectacular Canyon Restaurant.
Hike Leader: Anders, assisted by Tom
If you want to join: You should have 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 the day and on time. We cannot accommodate groups. Passenger places are usually available in car-pooling, but cannot be guaranteed. If you are a passenger, please contribute THB 100 to your driver for fuel etc.
Meeting Point & Time.
This time we will meet at 07:20 for 07:30 start. We will meet at the open area just past the PTT gas station when driving southwards on Canal Road from the Suthep Road junction. (Please click on map to enlarge)
Equipment needed is as usual (see the “Things to bring” tab, above) except :
- bring amphibious footwear or two pairs, for walking both in the stream and on dry land. Also a plastic bag for transporting wet footwear in the car.
We had 11 hikers who chose this shorter hike. Other than the starting point, not much else matched the hike description. All 11 of us squeezed into 2 cars for the hour long drive up to the village. The road was a bit worse for wear, but what a beautiful location the village has! The air was cool and clear with a constant fresh breeze. We chose to have coffee and tea there, and found exactly 11 seats in one coffee shop. Then we started out down the road, and passed a big new coffee shop with a view on the left. Because we were a partly “elderly” group with 4 in the range of 70-80 plus, we didn’t take the steep, slippery short cut, and we kept a leisurely pace with stops to let stragglers catch up. Only 2 young and energetic hikers kept in the lead. And so we continued down the dirt track, keeping a watch for the well remembered narrow trail on the left, but never found it. The leader explored one which seemed to be in the right place and headed the right way, but didn’t look familiar, and which continued down “forever” into deep forest rather than into an orchard.) After more than an hour into the hike, we reluctantly turned back and retraced our steps to the village. (Hmmm…obviously the leader should have checked the hike route before). It was noon when we got back, and we were hungry enough. The new coffee shop turned out to have food also, 3 good enough choices (but no beer). We liked the view over a flower garden and strawberry fields, which had to compensate for the lack of beer. We also learned that the village is growing strawberries organically, and that the Hmong New Year celebration in Jan. ’18 will be held in this village.
And so we didn’t hike a loop, only hiked 5 km., and didn’t return to the temple parking lot for lunch, but returned happy hikers.
Here are some photos to share: