Trip Report : Sunday 13th of November 2011, Chiang Mai Chiang Rai Provincial Border, 3 peaks hike – “Roller Coaster Hike”
We had a very pleasant but tough hike on Sunday. This was another hike in our series of tougher hikes for those hikers who are fairly fit and enjoy to push themselves a little on a hike.
A small group of 8 enthusiastic hikers met at the train station at 8 am and we shared 2 cars to travel an hour to the start of the hike.
How to find this trail
This hike is fairly easy to find and follow if you are quite adventurous. You go out on route 118 and just past the 52 km marker on the 118, on the right, there is a fairly well hidden off road car track. The off road car track is in fact is passable by most cars. There used to be a gate at the bottom of the road but this is gone now. You go to the top of this fairly steep track, it is about 1-2 km and at the top there is a telephone / communications base station. We park inside the communications station, if the caretaker is about you should check with him it is OK.
You then need to head back down the road you came up about 20 m and coming down the road on the left you will see a sign in Thai that is a sign for the 17km nature trail that runs right across the mountain range. Around here you will find the start of a quite overgrown track and can follow this trail. It is marked along the way with small inch squared painted yellow pieces of metal nailed to the tree along the way. You can look out for these to confirm you are on the trail. We walked on to the second major peak Doi Pah Ngom, which literally means mountain with the curved cliff.
The trail itself is very overgrown at moment. It is the most overgrown I have seen it and it was at times a little difficult to follow but with the aid of the yellow metal badges on the trees and remembering that the trail roughly follows the ridges of the mountain we followed the trail without use of a GPS. There is only really one trail in this forest although there was the occasional false trail, these false trails cannot go anywhere else really as you must follow the mountain ridge.
Views were really great along the way. We had driven well into the forest on the 118 but you could not see the 118 from the trail or really any other sign of human activity in the forest. All we could see around us where trees and mountains.
I have named this the roller coaster hike. And it does involve a lot of up and down hill work. We walked in total around 9 km in around 5 and a half hours. We ascended and then descended only around 900m in total including all ascent-descents, both ways. It took us 2 and a half hours to get out to Doi Pah Ngom. We then had a break for 30 minutes to have some lunch and it took us another 2 and a half and a bit hours to walk back. We took frequent short breaks along the way. Nearly everybody agreed that we were pushed to edge of our abilities by this hike although one hiker enjoyed sprinting up the uphill parts of the hike to get some work on his thigh muscles! Everybody also agreed it was a thoroughly enjoyable day out. Personally I think this is the most beautiful hike around Chiang Mai.
Thanks to Dov, Robyn, Rimma and Chris for these pics.