The starting point will be the same Hmong village where Tom and Nina led a hike three weeks ago, but this time we will be climbing up onto a ridge and heading westwards in the direction of Samoeng. We hiked this same ridge two years ago starting at the Samoeng end and ending at Ban Pha Nok Kok, but this involved a long car shuttle. This time we will start and finish at Ban Pha Nok Kok, thus avoiding the car shuttle and also staying within forest cover for the entire hike.
It is a modest climb of only 300 meters or so from the village onto the ridge. From there the ridge undulates up and down as ridges do, with some steep sections but no protracted ups and downs. There are several local peaks around 1,300 meters elevation. Our objective will be one of the viewpoints at the edge of the cleared area at the western end of the ridge, where we will have a snack break before returning the same way we came.
There are a number of large trees along the ridge still in full leaf, providing a good canopy for most of the time. Some flowering trees, orchids and a steady hum of insects and bird song. It is a magical place (as long as the trial bike riders stay away!). The trail has been cleared as a firebreak and underfoot conditions are good, with wide trails and little ground vegetation. Views to the north and south for a good part of the hike, but likely to be somewhat diminished by smog in the valleys (regrettably the photograph below was taken in December!).
Estimated distance 10 – 12 kilometers, which should take around 4 1/2 hours with snack break.
Notwithstanding the good remaining canopy, there are areas of thinner cover and given this is the hot season hats, sunscreen and plentiful water supplies are all strongly recommended.
There is a large, gleaming new restaurant on the way back down the hill, successfuly trialed by Tom and Nina, where we can stop for a late lunch.
Hike Leader: Richard
Please read the general information on this site, as well as this particular post. If you still think this hike is for you, then just turn up at the meeting place on the day and time. Seats in cars are usually available, but can not be guaranteed.
Meeting Point and Directions:
We will meet at the parking lot in front of the 700-year Sports Stadium on Canal Road (Highway 121) for a 07.30 departure.
The intention is to travel in convoy all the way from the meeting point to the hike start point. However, in case of mishap en route or for anyone preferring to go direct to the start point, the route we will follow is:
Left along Canal Road to the Junction with Highway 107 and turn left towards Mae Rim.
Take the short cut that by-passes Mae Rim and then turn left on Highway 1096 along the Mae Sa Valley towards Samoeng.
Follow Highway 1096 until the large village of Pongyaeng. Continue through the village until just past the built-up area, where we turn left at the point that the highway takes a sharp right bend and starts to go steeply uphill. The junction is unmarked but is a good surfaced road.
Follow this road direct to Ban Pha Nok Kok, a Hmong village on the hillside. There is a large empty area at the centre of the village, we will park to the right, since the left-hand side is used for loading trucks with onions.
- At least 2 litres of water/ rehydration drink.
- A substantial snack.
- 100 Baht for driver if sharing their car.
- Hat and sunblock.
- Change of shirt/ clothes.
- Energy, enthusiasm and good humour.