Trip Report : Saturday 23rd of October Triumphant Ascent of Doi Langka (Noi)
Wow!! Yesterday I went to check out whether I could find a pathway to ascend Doi Langka. Doi Langka is a 2004 meter high mountain in the mountain range on the Doi Saket side of town. I didn’t make it all the way up Doi Langka but managed to make it to the top of Doi Langka Noi (1740 m). The scenery was spectacular with mountains and relatively unspoilt forest all around us for the whole trip.
The Journey to the Start of the Hike
We drove out of town towards Doi Saket, out along route 118. From near the arboretum in Chiang Mai we drove a total of 53 km to get out there in my car. It took us 1 hour 40 minutes to get out there at a fair speed without stopping. Was a pleasant drive especially after turning off route 118 after which we drove 17 km into the mountains through the forest. We drove to Baan Mae Dtoon Luang and parked up in the car park next to the Wat there. We drove on tarmacked roads all the way, there was no off road car action this trip.
Google Earth Screen Shot Showing our Car Journey
The brown track below shows our 53 km car journey. The white track is the distance we hiked. The purple track below that is the hike I did from Mae Kampong previously.
Finding the trail
We were lucky enough to bump into the Phuyai of the village, the village head, just as we got out the car. We consulted our maps with him and he told us it was possible to walk up to the peak of Doi Langka in 2 hours. Only when closely questioned and having further examined together the military maps I had with me did the Phuyai reveal that it was actually 4 km to Doi Langka ‘Noi’ and that the Doi Langka marked on the maps was Doi Langka ‘Luang’. All the maps I have seen only mark Doi Langka Luang and just call it Doi Langka.
I was told it was possible to walk on from Doi Langka Noi (little Langka mountain – 1740 m) on to Doi Langka Luang (big Langka mountain – 2004 m) and that is was possible to walk on from there to the road (route 118) on the other side of the mountain range. It would be roughly 12 – 15 km to walk all the way across to route 118 on the other side and it was getting on already by the time we had got over to Baan Mae Dtoon Luang so we decided to attempt the ascent of Doi Langka Noi and visit the stupa we were told was at the top.
Screen shot in Google Earth the Track We Followed to Ascend Doi Langka (Noi)
The screen shot shows our ascent. As well as the 1740m mountain we ascended there were mountain peaks on either side of us of comparable size which also formed part of ridges that wend there way up to the main peak Doi Langka Luang, a 2004 m peak.
You can download the Google Earth track of our trip which includes our return car trip and pics we took along the way pinned to the right place on the map here (click on the pic thumbnails to enlarge them and you can turn off the display of the thumbnails using the check boxes in your My Places menu)and the gpx track here.
We hired a local to help us navigate the first hour or so of the trail. We would not have found the start of the trail without his help. Going back now with the gps track logged it would be no problem but without direction there are a number of wrong turns you can take starting out and the right track doesn’t look much like a track at all at one critical juncture. We walked straight out of town, along side the stream for a while then straight up the side of the mountain.
The Way Up
We basically got onto one of the ridges of the mountain range and followed it all the way up to the Doi Langka Noi peak. It actually took a little over 3 hours, moving quite quickly up a very steep track. We started at 1129 m above sea level and walked 3.65 km ascending to 1734 m above sea level, a total ascent of 605 m. There were some very narrow and quite overgrown parts of the trails often with the ridge falling away steeply below.
The pics below show us struggling upwards. Note my shirt, absolutely soaked in sweat.
Almost there…. Near the peak.
Just before the peak there was a part of the trail that looked terrifying, suddenly the trail seemed to go straight upwards. Luckily on closer inspection we found the trail wended it’s way switching back and forth up the side of a very steep part of the mountain so that the climb was not really that tricky at all.
As well as the 1734 m peak in front of us, there were several 1800 m peaks to either side of us.
Near the peak we were literally walking along the dividing line between the Lampang and Chiang Mai prefectures. The border follows the ridge of the mountain just like we were doing. Doi Langka (Luang) is very close to where the borders of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampang meet.
Pics below are taken just before we reached the peak.
On the Top and Beyond
Once we got to the top we explored a little. The peak of Doi Langka Noi is a big open plateau with a couple of Thai flags left there and a golden stupa.
We explored a little, you can see various paths we followed marked on the trail we recorded. There were several paths on the peak. We found there was one well defined path that went onwards and upwards in a NW direction that looked like it might wend around along the mountain ridges and reach Doi Langka Luang. The Phuyai of Baan Mae Dtoon Luang and our guide had told us that there was one well defined path that does go on to Doi Langka Luang and then down to route 118 on the other side of the range. Referring to the military maps I have and Google Earth it looks like this should be possible and doable in one day. I am really looking forward to trying to do this later this week.
Pics of the top are shown below.
The Way Back Down
We came back the same we went up.