Trip Reports

The category for trip reports.

Trip Report : Sunday 13th of November 2011, Chiang Mai Chiang Rai Provincial Border, 3 peaks hike – “Roller Coaster Hike”

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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.

This Trip

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.

Pics

Thanks to Dov, Robyn, Rimma and Chris for these pics.

Trip Report: Sunday 13th of November 2011, Circular hike in Ob Khan National Park

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21 of us set off from the Ob Khan NP Visitor on a lovely sunny morning, among them several new faces. Two more new hikers joined us and caught up with the main group after we set off up the wide track through the forest east of the visitor centre. This was a new hiking route that followed one of the original tracks going north and then west through the forest with plenty of shade. There were sections that were not quite straightforward as nature had wreaked havoc in several places where the trail was blocked by fallen trees or overgrowth or had just been obliterated by landslips. The group overcame all obstacles by resourcefulness and ingenuity, by crawling on all fours or sliding down small steep sections.

After the forest trail we reached the river (Mae Nam Khan) where parts of the traditional trail had been undermined by the rainy season and we had to go down to the river bed and then up again. We found a pleasant spot by the river for a snack break and where one of our number was brave enough to enter the water and cross and re cross the river several times. At this break stop one couple had to hurry home and so 21 of us continued alongside the spectacular river and back to the Visitor Centre, facilities and restaurant. We had hiked a mere 4.25 km.

The Restaurant was open so fourteen of the group enjoyed lunch and refreshments.

There was no fee to enter, nor were we required to sign in, for Ob Khan National Park. Access to and from the park was tricky as there was a lot of repairs in progress to restore the road following numerous landslips that had occurred during the rainy season.

Our thanks to Janet for leading this hike and to Maggie and John for helping keep the group together and to Poppy for assisting with clearing the trails in preparation for this new hike..

Hike Pics

Trip Report : Sunday 6th of November, Long Distance Swim in Mae Ngat Reservoir

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This is not really a hike report although I feel this was a trip in the same spirit as the CM hikers – getting out into nature and getting some endorphins flowing through the blood veins in natural surroundings :-).

Had a very pleasant change of pace today. Rather than the usual hike on a Sunday I thought I would go out to Mae Ngat Reservoir in Mae Taeng and have a swim. I have been doing a lot of swimming while I have been away in Hua Hin partly because I want to build up the strength in the legs of my labrador who has had a lot of breed related joint problems and partly because I love swimming. I have been taking my labrador Buddy who loves the water swimming with me and he happily swims by my side for long distances. We were swimming up and down the coast in Hua Hin for round trip distances of around 3 km.

Today we went a bit further. We swam from the place where the boats leave the dam right out to the Eakachai Boat House Restaurant. Meanwhile Athit and my girlfriend Aunda rode the boat out to meet us out there. We swam a healthy 6 km in around 2 hours 15 minutes. As you can see in the picture I have a wet suit and I was quite glad of it being in the water for so long, I was quite cold by the time I got out. I also had diving fins on and webbed swimming gloves. I took the swim real slow alternating between back stroke, breast stroke and the crawl when I was feeling energetic. I can go on swimming in this way for ages. It was a lovely swim. The water was cool and seems very very clean and on the swim you are surrounded my forest. It is a very peaceful beautiful lake. I was passed by quite a few long tailed boats which passed taking passengers out to the boat houses on the lake. It was fun to wave at people as they went past. There was a big wow factor it seemed for many Thai’s especially who do not tend to be good swimmers, to see someone swimming so far and swimming with his dog too! It was fun. Then the boats would pass and it would be peaceful and quiet again.

I did get cramp in one of my legs during the swim. I think this is inevitable swimming in cold water for so long. But the cramp soon passed after a couple of minutes. I recently saw a Thai horror film where the ghost that was central to the story went swimming and in a pool at his school surrounded by his friends and drowned because he got cramp in his legs. I cannot really understand how you can drown through having cramp. If you relax and let yourself float in the water if necessary it soon passes.

When I eventually got to the house boat, my girlfriend had had a very nice fish lunch. They have rewritten the menu at Eakachai which is the furthest and I think the nicest house boat and now even have a vegetarian section on the menu. The house boats out there have there own private sitting areas and there are basic rooms you can stay in for the night there. It is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours hanging out, reading, swimming, platforms to dive off, they even have kayaks to rent and I believe that it is possible to kayak to shore and go and hike up to a bat cave but I have not done that.

We did not stay too long on the house boats there. After having eaten and relaxed for a while we got the ferry back. I couldn’t have managed swimming back although I think Buddy might have been able to do it. He was still full of beans after his swim.

It took us less than an hour to drive out there and the same to drive back. The ferry is 500 B baht both ways, for a group no matter what the size which is a bit pricey. But food and drinks on the house boat are quite reasonable and there is no further charge for hanging out on the house boat.

I think I will do this regularly, I am thinking every week, it is a great work out. If someone other very strong swimmer is interested in joining me for this challenging swim, let me (Jamie) know either through the web site or when we meet on a hike. Next time I think I will be going during the week when I expect there will be a lot less traffic on the lake. I guess I should just say that I would not recommend doing this for any one but a very strong swimmer. For several kilometers there is no one there at all to help you if you get in trouble, you cannot rely on a boat coming by and helping you out.

GPS Coordinates of Mae Ngat Dam

If you fancy going out to Mae Ngat Reservoir the GPS coordinates of the place you can park your car and get a ferry out to the house boats are :

N19 10.451 E99 01.902 (DD MM.MM ie. degrees and decimal minutes)

Pics

Trip Report : Sunday October 30th, Circular Walk Up To Chang Kian Waterfall and Back Down Through Huay Kaeow Water Fall

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We had a very pleasant sedately paced group hike today. 25 of us met at 8 a.m. this morning at the arboretum and did this hike. We walked right from the arboretum, we started a little late at around 8:20 a.m. and walked up to Chang Kian Waterfall through the out skirts of Chang Kian. We were a good spirited crowd with many new comers as well as many of the usual suspects. We did not cross the stream as we normally do as there was too much water in the stream to easily get across in both the places we normally cross – both before the waterfall and at the falls themselves. Our fearless leader tried to get across the stream following another member of the group to find a place to sit while we had a break at the falls but promptly fell on his butt instead.

We came back through the Huay Kaeow waterfall as planned, stopping for coffee at the traditional Thai coffee stall at Wang Bua Baan.

Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

Pics of the Excursion

Trip Report : Sunday 23rd October 2011, Circular Hike From 700 years stadium to and around Huay Tung Tao

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19 of us started off at about 08:30 from the South Western corner of the dam behind the stadium. It was pleasing to see both old and new participants. Janet and Brian were co-leaders. We believe this was the first day after the monsoon finished officially on 22nd October. The sky was cloudless and the sun already up. Water in the reservoir was very high and it gave an impression of being much bigger than in the past. We were soon off the smooth tarmac road and onto the unmade track behind the reservoir from where we had brief glimpses of the water. We were soon into the forest trails many of which carried the red and white tapes of the tracks created by and for the cyclists of which we saw very few.

The tracks still showed the result of the monsoon with several newly rutted sections and many patches of mud and pools. Most we could pass without getting wet feet and even the two or three streams did not present problems. En route there were numerous butterflies of all shapes and sizes. We reached the end of the dam at Huay Tung Tao at 10:06. Here Philip, whose advice on the trails had been very helpful, left us to run back to the stadium. Our group of 18 then walked in a clockwise direction round the Reservoir to reach the restaurant that was our break point at 10:42. The high water levels had caused the restaurants to re-arrange their furniture so we did not get our usual long table and had to make do with separate tables.

We left the Restaurant at 11:47 and continued on the track round the reservoir. We stopped by at another restaurant near the HTT Offices so that the group could meet Roger and Jern who were lunching there. Roger is the co-ordinator who developed the CM Hiking and instigated the original website. One couple left the group and stayed for lunch with Roger & Jern. After a quick introduction our group, then of 16, proceeded over the dam and could view the high water level and the dozens of fishermen watching their rods.

At 12:15 we left the reservoir and entered the forest using the same trail as we followed in the morning. Near the end we had a short discussion on the question of the start time for this particular hike. Some believed that arriving at the restaurant for the lunch break at 10:42 was too early and they would have welcomed at extra hour or so in bed had we started at 09:30 or 10:00 hours. Others thought that the early start was a good thing as it avoided some of the afternoon heat. At 13:43 we arrived back at our starting point and my gps had recorded us having walked 13.7 kms in an elapsed time of 5h 28m at an average speed of 2.5 kmh.

With thanks to all participants for being such a good cheerful group and especially to Janet and Philip for their help. Brian

Trip Report : Friday 21st of October, Hike Up Doi Langka Noi

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Am just back from another great hike up Doi Langka Noi.

We left a little later this morning, leaving at around 8:40 am from the train station. At times the weather was hot and sunny and at other times it looked like it would pour with rain but mostly it was an overcast relatively cool day, perfect weather for hiking. 6 of us did this rather demanding hike, all the way to the top of Doi Langka Noi. Along the way we did some GPS training, sweated profusely, several of us fell on our butts, we admired the wonderful scenery on this side of town and managed as usual to cover a vast array of conversational topics.

We did encounter a couple of leeches and some ticks and the paths were a little slippery and overgrown at this time of year but the trip was still very enjoyable, the challenges of the trail added to our appreciation of the wonderful views of almost pristine forest as far as we could see at the top of Doi Langka Noi.

It took us 2 hours 40 minutes to walk the 3.2, very steep, kilometers to the top. On previous trips our times have varied between 2 hours 10 minutes and 3 hours so today’s time was quite fast. We spent a relaxed 54 minutes on the top. It then took us another 1 hour 50 minutes to walk back down to the cars.

On the way back we sojourned briefly at a very nice coffee shop were we supped on coffee mocha shakes for only 40 B each before making the rest of the journey back to the center of Chiang Mai.

Pics

Video Trip Report : Thursday 13th of October Walk to Dtaat Mook Waterfall

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I took a short video of Dtaat Mook waterfall during our trip today. See the video from YouTube embedded below. Was a nice short walk, enjoyed by all. There were just 6 of us on this trip and Athit our trusty canine companion.

We saw a couple of large brown snakes on the trail on the way up which added a little excitement to the walk. As you can see and hear on the video, there was a lot of water in the falls, it is the most impressive I have seen the falls.

It took us about an hour to hike into the jungle to see the falls and another hour to hike back out again. Some of our members had a swim in Huay Tung Thao afterwards.

Trip Report 24 July 2011 – Round trip, Check point, over Doi Pui, coffee shop

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This was a good, moderate hike done by 13 of us.  We took one car and a song tao up to the Khun Chang Khian check point, walked up the dirt road and on up the path to the top of Doi Pui, encountering a number of leeches on the way.  As we continued on down the north face of Doi Pui there were no leeches, something we have noticed each time we do this.  The view was all hidden by clouds, but there were beautiful yellow lilies in bloom and the air cool and comfortable.  All took the steep descent in good humor and the group stayed pretty close together.  We had a few short-timers who were glad for the opportunity to hike.  We stopped at Ban Khun Chang Khian for those who had not been there to have a look around and were still at the coffee shop in good time.  Some persimmons were beginning to ripen on the trees there, and should be ready to pick in mid-Aug.  After our lunch break with good mountain coffee, we continued back to the check point, completing the hike in just under 4 hours.

Pics from Hike

Trip Report for 10 July 2011 Long, Round About, Hike from Arboretum to Wat Prathat

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We had a group of 16 for this long hike, many newcomers, and had quite a bit of trouble staying together due to greatly varying degrees of fitness. We followed the planned hike with 3 exceptions, the first being that the road crossing was at Wang Bua Baan, not Pa Ngerp. All went well until we were on the turn off from the main trail, about two hours into the hike, where we missed the “bush-whacking” short cut to another ridge trail, and so continued on up, a more round about way of reaching the 5-way junction. (It was a “good” mistake though as we learned a connection of trails we didn’t know before.) At 11:30 we decided to stop for lunch along the path where it was level and comfortable, and then reached the 5-way junction at 12:40. From here on the hike was as planned, but took us almost 7 hours to complete, mostly due to many stops along the way letting the slower hikers catch up. We had a little light rain only, no leeches, and no difficult water crossing, but many large trees down requiring some difficult negotiations. There was a positive response from the group, who said it was “a good hike!”. I would estimate we walked at least 15 km. and had an elevation gain of about 700 meters. Unfortunately no one on the hike was proficient at using the GPS to record the trail.

Pics from the Hike

Trip Report: Sunday 3rd July 2011 – Ban Doi Suthep Phuping Palace Loop

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There were 13 hikers on this attractive circular route, starting from Ban Doi Suthep. Fortunately the rain held off but it was cool and pleasant hiking weather. The paths were treacherously mossy in parts and somewhat boggy, so muddy boots were inevitable!

Sadly, the route identified on the GPS became difficult to follow as we approached the summit of Doi Suthep, so we abandoned that diversion and headed back towards the road. An excellent breakfast spot presented itself en route, and thus fortified, we reached the road below Phuping Palace and walked back to Ban Doi Suthep.

Leech lovers were delighted to encounter a few of these endearing creatures on the return journey!

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