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  • On this website some experienced Chiang Mai hikers post open invitations to join their hikes in the area.
  • We use the date format YY/MM/DD where YY is the year, MM is the month and DD is the day of the month.
  • Hike descriptions may be posted at short notice. So it may be worth checking the website frequently.
  • Hikes may be cancelled or varied at short notice due to weather conditions or other factors. So it is advisable to check the website beforehand on the day of the hike.
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17/02/12_Nam Mae Kwong Loop

A ridge hike around Nam Mae Kwong valley. A new fresh hike in the soft mountains, near Doi Saket. Estimated hiking time 4 to 5 hours depending on the group. Driving time from the start point is about 30 minutes each way. Remember to factor in time for possible visit to Hot Springs.

We will start our hike by walking along the river Mae Kwong, through a desolate resort, occupied in these days by many water buffalos.

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When the river makes a big bend towards the Mae Kwong reservoir, we will climb up to the west ridge on a motorbike trail. Well up on the ridge we will have an easy walk north to the end of the valley. Here we will change direction, and continue on the east side of the valley, back to our starting point.

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An easy hike with mostly well defined trails. With beautiful ridges with good shade from the trees. Only the last part, back down to the valley, is a bit steep. On our way back home we will visit Doi Saket hot springs.

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Hike leaders: Anders and Richard

Meeting time: 07:30

Meeting point: <18°48’48.69″ N  99°01’52.92″ E>

The Susco petrol/gas station, opposite Mrs Suzuki’s car showroom.  From the city centre, head NE along Kaew Nawarat Rd towards CenFes (Central Festival shopping mall), past H.11 superhighway, then middle ring road and Sansai Noi (Sam Yaek) market traffic lights, and continue 400m straight on the CM-Doi Saket-Rd, H.118 towards Chiang Rai. It’s on the left.

Fuel, toilets and convenience store available.  If leaving a vehicle here, please park considerately, away from the store front.  Click on map/streetview image to enlarge.

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If you’re thinking of joining…

Please carefully read the general advice and warnings on this website as well as this specific hike description. If you still think the hike is for you, just turn up at the meeting-place on time: there is no need to tell us you are coming. Lifts in the cars of other hikers are usually available but cannot be guaranteed. If getting a lift, please have a mutual understanding with your driver about post-hike priorities (e.g. whether having a meal with the group) and where they can drop you on return to town. Please bring a change of shirt for in-car pleasantness on the return journey. And please contribute THB 100 per person towards the fuel etc.

 

You should bring…

as per the general advice under the “Things to Bring” tab at the top of the page. The only unusual requirement is swimwear and a little extra money for the hot springs.

 

17/01/30-17/02/03_Trip Report_Phu Kradeung Outing

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Seventeen members of the Chiang Mai Hiking group traveled to Loei Provence for a three day exploration of Phu Kradueng National Park. Established in 1962, Phu Kradueng is Thailand’s second National Park. The Park is comprised of a large sandstone plateau with an average elevation of 1200 meters which provides a cool climate year around. Pines, oaks and maples populate the summit plateau, which is inhabited by elephants, tigers, back bears and several varieties of deer. The southern rim of the plateau is bordered by cliffs and waterfalls. The headwaters of the Lam Nam Pong River course through the plateau providing a unique riparian zone home to exotic flora and fauna.

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Our group traveled to the village of Phu Kradueng on Monday and spent the first night in the Khum Bong Kaew Resort in the shadow of Phu Kradueng (Photo 1). Accommodations at this new small resort were quite comfortable. The proprietress of the resort, Khun Sarunya, kindly referred us to the Ban Phuean Restaurant in the village of Phu Kradueng, where our group enjoyed a delicious meal of Thai and Issan style dishes.

Early Tuesday morning our group left for the Park entrance, there to pay a 400 baht fee per person for foreigners and to make arrangements for porters to carry our heavy items to the summit camp. We started the 5.5 kilometer, 1000 meter climb to the rim of the plateau at 9 am. Along the way we found many small shops where one could buy snacks and drinks, as well as T-shirts and other souvenirs. The route was steep in places, especially near the summit where several sets of steel stairs have been installed (Photo 2). We completed the climb around noon, and enjoyed a brief rest at the Mountain Top monument (Photo 3) before hiking an additional 4.5 kilometers to the summit camp where our cabins were located. Our group had reserved two cabins, each with three bedrooms and two baths which included hot showers. After some preliminary exploration we enjoyed an early dinner at one of the six restaurants located at the summit camp (Photo 4).

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Early Wednesday morning after breakfast our entire group hiked through a beautiful riparian zone surrounding the headwaters of the Lam Nam Pong River. About 2 kilometers from our cabins we encountered Pen Pob Mai Waterfall (Photo 5) which unfortunately contained only a trickle of water at this time of the year. From this point we descended into the river ravine, encountering interesting rock formations (Photo 6) along the trail and many log bridges across the stream that provided challenges for the adventurous (Photo 7). One hiker who had forged ahead of the group reported sighting a wild elephant through a thicket of bamboo. After hiking another 2.5 kilometers, we arrived at Than Sawan Waterfall (Photo 8), the last waterfall on this trail. While the volume of water was low, the beauty of the forest and the rock formations (Photo 9) provided ample compensation for our efforts.

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At this point, the group split into hiking groups and biking groups (Photo 10) to explore the trails along the southern rim of the plateau. Cliffs with spectacular overhangs provided interesting backdrops for photos (Photos 11 and 12). Both the hiking and the biking groups traveled as far as Lom Sak Cliff, the site of many famous sunset photographs. Several in our group stayed long enough to capture their own sunset photos (Photo 13).

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Thursday morning we checked our bags at the porter station, had breakfast and began our climb back down the mountain, arriving at the Park entrance between noon and 1 pm (Photo 14). Having developed a healthy appetite, we called the Ban Phuean Restaurant to inquire about lunch for 17 hungry hikers. The owner and cook (Photo 15) was again able to provide a variety of delicious dishes on short notice. After lunch the group departed Phu Kradueng. Most then traveled to and spent the night at Phu Ruea. On Friday morning we completed a quick reconnaissance of hiking possibilities in Phu Ruea National Park (Photo 16) before returning to Chiang Mai that afternoon.

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This was a very enjoyable outing to a National Park that offers scenery and wildlife different than seen around Chiang Mai. I believe the group consensus would support another visit to this area at some time in the future.

 

Report and trip leadership by Michael G. Photos by Chan and others

 

Appended photos

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17/02/05_Trip report_700p to Doi Pha Kha loop

After a little delay in gathering, due to some kind of ‘fun’ run along the canal road, 21 hikers, including many newbies (Norway, Oz, …) and one long-time-no-see-er,  braved the cold start and eventually assembled at the meeting point and started hiking at 07.45. No group photo as the leader forgot and didn’t even bring his camera.

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We hadn’t used this trail since November and the first section was quite overgrown. (Can someone please get out there with a machete/lawnmower/scissors before we go again? We almost, but not quite, wished someone had burned off the dry grass.)  Despite having the usual range of comfort speeds, we managed to stay together (until near the end) without over-long stops and also to talk as we walked.

One hiker left us to do his own additional Everest preparation as we reached higher elevations but he was soon replaced, to our great surprise, by two newbie hikers who had started 10 minutes late and caught us up, over two hours into the hike, just before our first snack stop at a sala in the lychee orchards just below the highest point of the day. Well done you two … and please seriously consider adding to our meagre number of female navigators/hike leaders if you are sticking around for long. (Mr S, eat your heart out!)

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After a brief snack stop we continued, reached the decidedly non-majestic peak of Doi Pha Kha at around the three hour mark, and started the long descent, punctuated by brief stops to re-group and re-hydrate as the temperature climbed. We made quite good time and at the stream crossing at the falls we had a decision to make: stop for another snack or keep going straight back to the carpark.  In true CM hiker fashion, we did something in between, with some expressing an intention to go on through full mouths.

To rebalance hiker numbers and ensure we finished with the same number we started with (hope you are keeping count), one hiker managed to get lost between the front runners and the main group about 20 minutes from the end, on the way back down from Porcupine Falls. This was communicated to the hike leader at the hike end via a mobile phone translation app which seemed to tell him to “get lost” (not the first time).  Phone communication then focused on a “black rock” so the leader retraced his steps to the first black rock junction (in vain) and then on to the second, where shepherd and lost sheep were successfully re-united.

Distance about 10 kms, elevation gain 800m, in about 5 hours. Additional 45 minutes for flock restocking. Reminders: (1) if you don’t know the way, stay with a leader who does and (2) don’t drink the stream water anywhere on Doi Suthep-Pui; there are orchards, fields and villages at higher elevations and we don’t know what pesticides, fertilisers and toilet arrangements are in use.

Thanks to a series of patient back markers for their assistance and to Ms J for photos.

17/02/05_700p to Doi Pha Kha loop

A local, lower-level hike with no long drive to/from a meeting place. Distance: 10 kms, up/down 800m, in about 4-5 hours, depending on group speed. Uphill for the first 2.5 hours, occasionally steeply at first.

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No porcupines expected at the falls; we cross the stream on the way down.

Hike leader: Mike

Meeting place: Meet at the small carpark (18º 50.235′ N, 98º 57.168′ E) just before the dam behind the 700p stadium (see map below) at 07.30.  From the stadium entrance traffic lights, go straight on, past the friendly, but sometimes inquisitive, gate guards and straight on through the compound up the steepish hill to the meeting carpark.

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Please bring:

  • at least 2 litres of water/rehydration drink
  • energy snacks and picnic lunch
  • protection from sun/heat, rain/cold, insects
  • strong footwear with good grip and trekking poles/sticks recommended
  • lots of energy, enthusiasm, team spirit and good humour

17/01/29_ Trip Report – The Many Peaks of Doi Ton, & Into The Heart of Huay Lan…

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Group photo at the stupa on top of the cliffs

11 adventurous hikers met up at our new meeting point on hwy 1317 for the drive to Huay Lan reservoirs in San Kamphaeng.  There we were joined by 2 hikers arriving by motorbike.

It was nice & cool as we started our steep ascent.

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When we arrived at the base of the cliffs we found an amazing sight – wild bee honey combs attached to the cliff face.

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No sign of any bees.  At least one comb, lower down had been removed by local forest gatherers.

After a short rest we proceeded to the steel step ladders for the ascent to the top of the cliffs.

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We then made our way to the Stupa for a snack break, & a chance to enjoy the views.  Unfortunately it wasn’t as clear as a few days earlier when hike leader checked the trails.  We could still see Doi Suthep & Chiang Mai cross the valley, & the ridgeline above Mae Kamphong to the north.

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We then continued south along our ridge to the summit of Doi Ton at 900m.  Lunch break was taken at a rocky viewpoint on the descent into the heart of the Huay Lan catchment area.  We eventually reached a deep, narrow, mainly dry ravine with dense bamboo.  As we followed the trail along the rocky stream bed, we were halted by what sounded like a rockfall ahead & higher up the ravine side.  I think it was actually a stand of the very thick bamboo collapsing on the near vertical side of the ravine.  Negotiating the low hanging bamboo tunnels was tricky for the taller members of the group, but our youngest member hardly needed to duck his head.

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Eventually we emerged in to the sunlight of the main Huay Lan valley, & enjoyed an easy hike back to our start point at the southern most dam.

A few of us stopped off for some refreshments at a village shop to the north of the dams.

Total hike time about 5 hrs 30 mins, distance covered 11 km & about 700m ascent.

 

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Thanks to those who joined us.  It was a grand day out 🙂

 

 

17/01/29_ The Many Peaks of Doi Ton, & Into The Heart of Huay Lan…

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Sunday 29 January.   The Many Peaks of Doi Ton, & Into The Heart of Huay Lan, San Kamphaeng.

This is a volunteer-led hike and you are responsible for your own safety at all times. Please read the full hike description/requirements and consider your preparedness.  

Thick soled shoes (preferably boots) are a must on the rocky paths.  Trekking poles highly recommended, especially for the steep descent on slippery (loose stones) paths.  

We will descend to a steep sided ravine, with dense, low overhanging bamboo.  In places it is necessary to bend over double to get through the bamboo “tunnels”.  Lot’s of mosquitoes down there, so good repellent is necessary.  Recommend long sleeves & long trousers.  

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This is not a hike along a national park nature trail.  In places it is hard to make out a trail!

This is a moderate to tough hike.  The total ascent is about 700 m , about 400 m of that is the steep climb of Doi Ton, including a section of steel steps up a gap in the vertical cliffs.  The rocky path up is easy to follow (but steep).  Once on top it is easy to get lost & follow the wrong trail into a steep sided ravine.  The group must keep together & stay behind the leader.  Anyone heading off on their own ahead of hike leader may have a long day ahead of them.    Once we have descended, we will be following a rocky stream bed, where a fair amount of “boulder hopping” will be required.  Bring plenty of mosquito repellent.

Paths on this hike are narrow & rocky.  In places there are steep drop offs.  In places we may lose the trail & hike across rocky forest floor until we find the trail again.  Good footwear  is a must.   If you have trekking sticks, bring them.

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We will meet on hwy 1317, 1.8 km after 3rd set of traffic lights, & car pool to the Huay Lan Reservoirs in San Kamphaeng district.  Please don’t be late.  Any delays will mean more heat on our steep climb.  We carpool for a ride of about 30 minutes. We will park our vehicles next to the dam of southernmost reservoir (GPS 18.685658, 99.204303).   From here we will hike along Huay Lan stream for about 700 m,  before climbing steeply  to the base of the cliffs below the summit of Doi Ton.  Here there is a section of step ladders to lead us to the top of the cliffs.  These ladders are not vertical, and have a handrail.

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From the top of the ladders we will hike to a stupa & viewpoint at the top of the cliffs overlooking Chiang Mai valley.  On a clear day there are views to Doi Suthep & Doi Inthanon.  From the stupa, we will continue south along an undulating,  rocky ridge.  After the summit of Doi Ton we’ll have a lunch break, before descending into the heart of the Huay Lan catchment, and back along the stream bed to our starting point.

Total time is about 6 hours.  Hike length about 11 km.

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Hike leader will be Andrew.

If you want to join
Just turn up at the meeting place on the day and on time.
We cannot accommodate groups
Meeting Point & Time.
This time we will meet at 07:30 for 07:45 start. At  7-11 on Hwy1317.  Co-ords 18.739141, 99.083244.  If coming from Superhighway 11, continue past Promenada shopping mall, go straight on through 3 sets of traffic lights.  1.8 km after the 3rd set of traffic lights (hwy1014) is  shopping / market area on left hand side.  Meet outside 7-11.
( Please don’t be late as we leave on time )

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Advice

Bring :

  • around 2 liters of water or more, snacks&picnic lunch
  • good footwear etc. hat, rain wear, insect repellent and sun-block
  • energy,team spirit, enthusiasm and a good sense of humour.
  • In case you are a passenger, please contribute to the costs of gasoline with THB 100 per person.
  • Bring extra shirt  for return journey, if car sharing.

17/01/22_Hike report_Doi Pui Sakura quest

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On a beautiful morning, as crowds gathered with gowns and garlands for Graduation Day at Chiang Mai University, 45 hikers showed up at the Arboretum carpark for our annual Doi Pui Sakura Quest. A range of fitness-levels and rambling-styles was catered for by four different itinerary options, co-ordinated by Michael M. The groups and sub-groups wove their tracks up, down and across the mountain.

 

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The three hardcore guys of Option 4, led by Oliver, hiked all the way from bottom to top and top to bottom. Everyone else began by taking motor transportation up to the carpark of Wat Doi Suthep, and setting out on the greened-over old track to Ban Khun Chiang Kian. At the five-way crossing, Option 4 caught up with the main party and then continued on their own way (see notes by Oliver, below). The rest split into several clusters of walkers according to speed, mostly reaching the destination area between 11 and 11:30 am. The destination area stretched between the village  and the University’s agriculture research garden. As usual on a sakura season Sunday, it was a region of festivity. Many of the villagers were wearing Hmong traditional costumes, welcoming flocks of motor-trippers. Although the blossoms had perhaps not quite reached their full glory, the natural display was very pretty too. Most of us enjoyed a coffee shop or other refreshment stall somewhere.

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Photo by Maurice

Option 1 was to get on a pre-ordered songthaew, to go back down. Although initially only five people had signed up for this option, in the end, fifteen of us crammed into the truck. Most alighted at the Wat Doi Suthep carpark, but three arrived back at the Arboretum at 2.20pm.

Option 2 was to retrace the path back to the Wat Doi Suthep area. Since many of the hikers were familiar with the track, this was done in several clusters, according to how soon people wanted to return. But having reached the Wat car-park, several chose to enjoy a meal and drinks together.

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The Option 3 sextet (writes its leader, Peter D) thoroughly enjoyed the route down to Huay Kaew waterfall; all commented that it was shorter and easier than the Option 2 return would have been, plus no songthaew to the Arboretum, and that it added variety to the day. We were chatting so much that the leg went by very quickly indeed. The distance was 7km from the village school with a constant descent on a well-marked trail.

The Option 4 group (writes its leader, Oliver), consisting of only three hikers, had set off from the meeting point at a moderate pace to climb up to the coffee-shop and cherry blossom viewing area rather than take the songtaew with the main group up to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Quite by chance it reached the 5-way crossing at exactly the same time as the main cohort. After a good start, Oliver got his paths mixed up and led 5 hikers up a trail that was steeper and longer than necessary, joining the Doi Suthep-Pui road to Khun Chang Khian at a higher elevation about 1250m west of the coffee shop. The narrow lane was busy with cherry blossom viewing traffic, but the coffee shop was soon attained. After a decent interval and with numbers back to three again, Oliver’s group struck off for the downward leg via the Hmong village of Khun Chang Khan. Keeping to our moderate pace that allowed conversation, we found ourselves being overtaken on the descent by co-leader Peter and group 2, who we soon lost sight and sound of. Keeping to our pace, we got back to the Huai Kaew Falls and dropped in the Huean Huai Kaew restaurant for a relaxing beer on one of the restaurant’s lower decks. Hike time total including breaks about 7hrs 30min, distance ±18km, elevation gain ±1000m

 

Main report by Michael M. Photos by Chan unless otherwise stated.