The category for trip reports.
The category for trip reports.
It has been a while since I have written about my hiking explorations. I have already covered on this web site most of the hikes that stand out for me within an hours drive of Chiang Mai. But I am beginning now to travel further afield and am finding exciting new areas again. One such recent trip I made was out to a beautiful long ridge that starts about 2 hours drive NE of Chiang Mai toward Chiang Rai.
Doi Nohk (Hump Mountain)
If you head out of Chiang Mai on highway 118 towards Chiang Rai and turn off towards Phayao on highway 120 before you reach Phayao you will cross a ridge of mountains running North to South. The highest point on this ridge is Doi Nohk which is 1686 m above sea level. Doi Nohk (ดอยหนอก) seems to take it’s name from it’s shape. Nohk in Thai means a hump (as in camel hump) so the name can be translated as Hump Mountain. It is quite a sharp hump that sticks out above the ridge.
I had heard about Doi Nohk from a friend who hiked up there with Trekker Hut a group of mainly Thai hikers from Bangkok who travel all over. There is a hike to climb Doi Nohk that you can just about do on a long day trip from Chiang Mai. Below you can see a screen shot from Google Earth showing the trail going up the mountain. You might be able to make your way up to the peak without a GPS but the trail is not obvious, you can find a GPS trail for this route in the collection of tracks below.
We did a new variation of one of the most challenging one day hikes around Chiang Mai last Wednesday. We had found a new trail down from Doi Langka Luang. We decided to try hiking up to the summit of Doi Langka Luang via the beautiful roller coaster ridge, across Doi Pah Ngom and on up to the peak of Doi Langka Luang. Then we would head through the jungle near the top of Doi Langka Luang in a saddle between peaks and head down our slightly less steep alternative to heading down via Doi Langka Noi.
We took some video of the route which should give you an idea of the beauty of the views from the ridges we hiked along and of the expanse of untouched forest on this side of town.
We found another very interesting trail the other day along the Chiang Mai Chiang Rai prefectural border out past Doi Saket off the 118.
Despite typhoon vincente having come to town and there having been heavy rain all the previous day we did not cancel our planned exploratory trip. We were expecting rain all day but we figured we would see how far we could get in the rain. It turned out that though it rained as we were on the way out to the hike from the time we started hiking till late afternoon when we finished we remained bone dry, except for some sweat generated from the tough climb. (more…)
20 kilometers directly east of Chiang Mai’s Old City is a crescent-shaped group of hills and mountains. None of the mountains are exceedingly tall with the highest being 750 meters high, but I live nearby and told myself I would hike that area eventually. I decided to break my excursions into thirds and for this hike I would start in the middle section. (more…)
Trip Report : 5/5/2555, Stroll Along Ridge Forming Chiang Mai Lampang Border, from Vicinity of Baan Mae Dtoon Luang to Flight of the Gibbons Area1
On a very auspicious day, 5/5/2555, ie. the 5th of May 2012 we went out to explore a new trail that we had spotted on a previous expeditionary trip.
I had spotted a rather steep trail heading down from the peak I had been up previously which is just South of the highest point on route 1252, 6 km on from the turning down to Baan Mae Dtoon Luang. I figured that this trail probably continued along the Chiang Mai Lampang border, along the ridge on top of this wonderful range of mountains running from North South to the East of Chiang Mai. (more…)
Trip Report : 11th and 14th of April, Explorations Along the Mountain Ridge Dividing Lampang and Chiang Mai Provinces1
Recently I have been out exploring out of town past Doi Saket and the area where “Jungle Flight” has it’s zip lines. Out 5-6 km along the 1252, from the road down to Mae Dtoon Luang the starting point for previous hikes up Doi Langka Noi we reach the highest point on the 1252 which is the top of the ridge which forms the boundary between the two provinces Lampang and Chiang Mai. This is around 60 km from the centre of Chiang Mai and it is a quite pleasant drive out there. By the time you get to the ridge line you will have been driving through forest and small villages for some time. As I have said before the forest on this side of town is a lot better preserved than the forest in the more popular Doi Pui Suthep National Park.
Bare Foot Holy Hikers
I first went up to a stupa about half way up a ridge on the back of Doi Inthanon with a group of monks and locals from the Mae Win area on New Year’s day 2011. We met at a temple known for it’s vipasana meditation teaching at 6 am on New Years Day. About 200 lay people joined most of the monks from the temple and a few dogs for a New Year’s day pilgrimage that the monks do every year to a small stupa that they have built on a ridge about half way up Doi Inthanon. The temple had prepared a feast of food for us to eat to give us energy for the climb.
The monks walked bare foot up to the stupa. We cut through the forest, getting lost a couple of times and came out on a spectacular ridge on the back of Doi Inthanon. We made extremely slow going as many of the locals from around Mae Win were not overly fit. I was amazed that so many people from around Mae Win turned out to do this hike up a mountain. Mae Win is a very small country town, most of the community had turned up to scale the back of this mountain. After we had got out of the forest and onto the ridge, the views were spectacular. This ridge we were on was on the North side of Doi Inthanon which I have called the back of Doi Inthanon because as we all know there is a road that goes up Doi Inthanon, it is on the South side of the mountain. We all walked around 5 km that day up the mountain.
Beyond the Stupa
Trip Report : Sunday 11th December 2011, Circular hike from Ban Doi Suthep to Doi Suthep Summit via Ban PhuPhing0
We met at the Arboretum and 40 of us piled into 3 Song Taew while 2 others rode motorcycles to reach the hike start point at the edge of Ban Doi Suthep.
We hiked on a paved trail 1 km and passed by the St Louis Marie De Montfort Retreat area (altitude 1,120m) where we got a noisy reception from half a dozen dogs and where one of them joined us as we entered the forest. After another kilometre or so through forest we reached the remains of the Forresters’ encampment (altitude 1,208m) and joined the main (1004) road where several specimens of trees were seen.
We walked about the 2 kms up the busy road to Ban Phu Phing (altitude 1,385m); this section would have been shady but the sun was hiding behind cloud. At the last viewpoint before the village we found the mist too heavy for it to be worthwhile going down to the viewpoint behind the village.
As we left the crowded village we proceeded a bit further up the road and took a trail on the right hand side that runs uphill alongside the perimeter of the Palace. This followed the line of the new wall or fence being constructed and was a fairly steep climb until we arrived at the corner of the Palace perimeter.
A short hike on a narrow forest track brought us to the Sun Gu pagoda near the summit of Doi Suthep which is listed as having an altitude of 1,601m. Here we rested and had our picnic and felt it would be nice to have some sun to warm us up.
We descended along about 700 metres of the trail we used to go up to the pagoda and then continued our descent behind the Palace where we passed several military emplacements in sometimes difficult terrain alongside the construction work for the new perimeter wall/fence. After leaving the Palace perimeter we descended on a fairly steep trail through forest and arrived at a wider well rutted trail that brought us to a “Y” junction.
Here we took the left hand way and after a short hike arrived at a couple of buildings one of which was occupied by a man and his dog. The dog was happy to get our company but this upset the man who chased and chastised the poor dog. From this clearing we followed a narrow train downhill until we rejoined the track we might have taken at the fore-mentioned “Y” junction. A 1 km hike down a wide track brought us to the main (1004) road which we crossed and 100 metres down on the other side entered a road-side parking area. This is the start of a newly created Nature Trail along which there are well-signed places of interest including a waterfall and cave. Perhaps the most interesting of all was our luck in finding several specimens of Sapria Himalayana Griffith – a very rare plant. More information and a picture can be found at:
After this find the Nature Trail took us to a stream with fast flowing water sufficient to wet many shoes and boots. On the other side we ascended fairly steeply and reached the CM Gardens from where we exited onto the main (1004) for the downward last 700 metres of the hike. Near the Temple we boarded Song Taew for the journey back to the Arboretum.
This was probably my best ever hike – thank you to all who helped and participated but with special appreciation to Janet, Maggie and John for their support during the hike and to Chan for accompanying me when exploring earlier two sections of the hike.
Trip Report : Wednesday December 7th, Walk up Pilgrim’s Trail to Wat Palaad and Then Back Down Through Huay Kaeow Waterfall0
Trip Report : Saturday and Sunday, 19th to the 20th November 2011, Hike and Overnight Stay in Khun Tan National Park1
There were 16 of us who arrived at the train station at 6:15am for the early train to Khun Tan. The weather was clear and a bit warmer than anticipated, but just about perfect. With the train on time, we arrived at the Khun Tan Station just after 8am, where we were met by one of the cabin area caretakers, and all of our baggage was transported by motorcycle up to the cabins (Yaw 3).
Some had managed to nap on the train and all were energetic for the walk up to the headquarters where we paid the admission fee and ordered a meal at the restaurant there to carry up. Having been alerted, there were 3 cooks on hand and a good choice of dishes. The first half of the hike from there has some steep spots and we took it easy with frequent rest stops. The second half is on a shady path with a gentle gradient. The whole hike, from train station to the cabins, has about a 700 meter gain in elevation and is about 8 km. As we arrived just before noon, we were able eat our lunch before settling into the 2 cabins prepared for us. After a short rest we then hiked up one more km. to the very top (Yaw 4) for the 360 degree view. The air was cool enough that we enjoyed the sunshine, and some stretched out for another nap.
We were back in time for a cold shower before pitching in to help prepare a spaghetti dinner with a beautiful salad, followed by carrot cake. In the meanwhile the lights came on as the generator started and then we watched the sky change colors as the sun set. Some of the men gathered wood for a bonfire and a bit later we had a marsh-mellow roast, a new experience for all the the non-Americans. We were all tired enough to turn in early, 9pm.
Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast, each one of us having brought his own, and at 9am started back to the train station to catch the 1:35pm train which came in just before 3pm., giving us plenty of time to buy our lunch there. And so we were back in Chiang Mai shortly after 4pm.
From the comments shared with me I believe everyone enjoyed the hike, the company, the cabins, the views, the food, etc. We’ll plan to do it again.