This is the first of a series of 3 special Thursday hikes the group will do. All 3 hikes will be on the East side of Chiang Mai.

This week we will be going on a guided hike from Baan Mae Kampong (บ้านแม่กำปอง). Baan Mae Kampong is to the East of Chiang Mai in the middle of a long mountain range that runs North to South along the Chiang Mai Lampang provincial boundary. The forest over there is beautiful and relatively unspoilt. We will have the option of an easy hike or quite tough hike :

  • Everyone will walk up through Mae Kampong Waterfall and up to the ridge looking down on Lampang province and Chae Son National Park on the other side. This is 4km of uphill walking.
  • And those who want to will go on up to Mornlaan mountain peak and back round through the forest which will be a total of 11km – the first 5.5 km is a 750 m climb then we will descend around 750m in the second half of the hike.
  • On the 16th we will go up to Doi Langka Noi and on the 25th to two mountain peaks behind Doi Langka Luang, starting from the radar station there. I will publish details of these other two hikes on the web site in the next few days.

Sustainable Developement

When I visited to check out this area to see if it would be possible to organize a hike here, I was really impressed. I think the local community organised eco-tourism type development path they are on is great. They seem to be doing a wonderful job of sustainably developing the area preserving local culture and community and the forest at the same time as bringing in tourist dollars and money through small industries. People were very friendly and the town had a great feel to it.

Video

I took some video while I was visiting Baan Mae Kampong, apologies for the vertical letter box style of the video. This is the first time I took video with my Nokia N97 cell phone and I held it vertically instead of horizontally when videoing. Will know next time to hold it the other way round. If you open the video to full screen though I think it is very watchable.

The video included may be of interest to you. It is not necessary to watch it. If you are short of time you can skip straight to the section titled “If you want to join” below and read on from there.

The Hike

Mae Kampong Waterfall

Our hike will start right from Baan Mae Kampong itself. We will walk through the beautiful seven tier Mae Kampong waterfall.

Above the Waterfall

Above the waterfall we will already be in fairly deep forest. There is coffee and tea planted in the forest itself underneath the tree canopy.

At the top of the Ridge

We will follow the river up most of the way in a valley. Then come out onto a ridge which forms the border between Lampang and Chiang Mai provinces. We will look down into Chae Son National Park on the over side of the ridge. There are trees and forest as far as you can see. Also on the Chiang Mai side there is also an impressive view of the forest and on a clear day you can see Chiang Mai town clearly in the distance. There is a view point on the ridge here and a forestry protection station for Lampang forest rangers. There is a road that runs up to this point and so if people want they could have a car waiting for them here to take them back down. This is only a 4 km walk to here although it is quite steep.

Following the Ridge Onwards and Upwards to 1795 m Mornlaan Peak

We will continue on up the ridge of the mountain to the peak of Mornlaan mountain which is 1795 m above sea level, higher than the Doi Pui peak, the highest peak in the Doi Pui Suthep National Park. In total to get to the peak from Baan Mae Kampong we will climb 830 m in 5.86 km, so it will be a strenuous climb. We will have a nice rest on the peak that is an open clearing which should have good views down to Chiang Mai if it isn’t too cloudy. Even with the cloud cover we had in the rainy season when I visited last it was quite something!

Some pics from the peak in the rainy season.

Following another Ridge Down to Baan Mae Kampong

We will come back down through the forest, often off any kind of track but moving through forest with sparse undergrowth that is easy to move through. We may see wild pig tracks and cow tracks. Last time I was hear I found a porcupine thorn.

GPS Trail

Here is a screen shot of the trail we will do in Google Earth. We will go round this circular hike counter clock wise. If you are only doing the first bit then you will be going up to the spur sticking out to the right.

Here is a screen shot of the trail we will do in Google Earth. We will go round this circular hike counter clock wise. If you are only doing the first bit then you will be going up to the spur sticking out to the right.

Here is the altitude graph for our hike. If just doing the first part then see the first 4km of the graph.

Here is the altitude graph for our hike. If just doing the first part then see the first 4km of the graph.

Here is the gps track file in a kml file usable in Google Earth and a gpx file usable in many other gps programs.

Fresh Coffee for Sale!

In Baan Mae Kampong they sell fresh coffee for only 150 B per 500 grams, a very competitive price and all the coffee is grown locally, in the forest coffee plantation we will walk through. I think I was told it was arabica coffee. They also sell freshly made coffee to drink then and there.

If you want to join

Just turn up at the meeting place on the day. There is no need to let us know you are coming unless you are coming in a big group.

Meeting Place

Chiang Mai Railway Sation Main Entrance

Chiang Mai Railway Sation Main Entrance

This time we will meet at 8 a.m sharp at the main entrance of Chiang Mai Railway Station (pictured above).

  • Head out to Nawarat Bridge.
  • Cross the birdge and keep going out on Charoen Mueang Rd.
  • The Railway Station is on the right after 1.9 km.
  • Enter the railway station and meet us at the main entrance to the station itself. It is better to park outside as there is a charge for parking after 20 minutes in the car park.

See the map below (click to enlarge it).

Map of the Location of the Railway Station  (click to enlarge)

Map of the Location of the Railway Station (click to enlarge)

Cost

Guide

We will hire a guide per 4-8 people. Each guide will be 300 B and we will split the cost between us so it will be between 40 B to 75 B each, plus a tip maybe.

Transportation from the meeting point

We will share cars to drive out to Baan Mae Kampong. It is 49.5km from the Railway Station and will take a little more than one hour to drive out there. For those who do not have a car there are normally just enough spaces in cars to fit everybody in. We do this all the time and there have always been enough spare places. If there are not we can arrange transportation by songtaew. We would suggest a 150 B donation towards petrol for a lift there and back for the 49.5 km journey, if sharing a car.

Advice

  • Bring around 2-3 liters of water or more, some kind of lunch and snacks
  • Good footwear etc. hat, mozzie repellant and sunblock

If by chance it is raining heavily we will probably cancel the hike. But in the case of lighter rain if it looks like the weather might clear up we will probably go ahead with the hike and brave the rain which will at least cool us down.