Doi Pui Barrier up to Doi Pui – 4 April
Four of us met at the Arboretum for an 08:15 hours start. Michael, Maria and Joe (from Texas and with experience of hiking in Colorado!) joined me. None of us had a car and we could not persuade a Song Taew driver to take us to the Doi Pui Barrier for a reasonable price. We decided to abandon the planned hike and go instead to the Temple on Doi Suthep from where we had a choice of hikes. On the way up I worked out that we could replicate the previous week’s hike but omit the final assault on the track behind the palace and the ascent to the summit of Doi Suthep. On arrival at the Temple we discussed this option and also the possibility of hiking down to the Monthaton Waterfall. We agreed to do the circular hike as it would be at a higher level with less pollution and heat while being a bit longer. So we set off from behind the Temple near the old Elephant shelter and hiked up and down through the Park Forest right up to the new pump house near where the almost concealed track goes off to the left and the tough ascent to Doi Suthep begins. From there we re-traced our steps and came down to the main road, crossed over to the Cave car park area and descended to the cave. The monk was not there. We continued through the forest, crossed a stream, on up to the CMU gardens and then walked down the road to the Temple area where we bought lunch at a restaurant in the car parking area. After lunch we had coffee at the Jade factory and returned by Song Taew towards Chiang Mai. On the way down Michael, Maria and Joe dropped off at the top end of the Huay Kaew waterfall to continue by foot. We hiked 9.51 kms in an elapsed time of 3h 42m starting at an altitude of 1,000 metres and reaching 1,355 metres at our highest point.