Reaching The First Karen Villages
This ‘Run & Relax’ trip is designed to guarantee the best conditions for running and after running. We will trail run around 7 hours a day until 3pm. This will give us plenty of time to recover and relax. Refreshing in the swimming pool of the hotel, having a traditional Thai massage, eating great Thai food, enjoying the view on the green mountains, we will appreciate a deserved and relaxed time after running.
This 2-day run will lead us directly from the city of Chiang Mai until the first Karen valleys and rice fields through a wild atmosphere of jungle of high mountains. After the 1st day we will sleep in a beautiful resort located alongside the route without any transfer. It’s a perfect area to run, discover the special atmosphere of Thai mountain trails and relax.
Characteristics of the Trip
6,450 THBAll-inclusive price
Starting from Chiang Mai the 1st day in the early hours of the morning, we hike up directly on a pilgrim trail used by monks. Without transition we pass into rocky terrain which lasts until the almost fairy tale appearance of Wat Palaad, nestling on the bank of a river. A few kilometres further on the course crosses the site of Wat Doi Suthep, one of the most holy temples in Thailand. The view over the valley of Chiang Mai is panoramic and imposing.
The route runs down the dizzyingly steep staircase from the temple, and then, without a break, plunges headlong into its first stretch of jungle. We run 10k in this wonderful atmosphere surrounded by long green tunnels on undulating paths punctuated by fallen branches and trees.
As we emerge from the jungle after a break in a hill-tribe village, the slope gets progressively harder and becomes so steep that we have to use our hands to help us at some points. We reach a magnificent line of ridges edged in pine trees before summiting Doi Pui then Doi Pa Klong, the two highest summits around Chiang Mai (1625m and 1575m).
Finally we plunge for a very long downhill in a pine forest until our hotel. We will sleep at Botanic Resort a beautiful and peaceful hotel surrounded by green mountains. After running, we will have time to enjoy the swimming pool and nice Thai food in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a perfect place to recover before the 2nd running day.
After a lovely and quiet night we continue our trip the 2nd day by running alternatively in deep jungle and through fields, up and down. First we hike up the mountains until reaching a couple of farms hold by Hmong people. Then we tackle a dense and long jungle before reaching the valley of Mae Khi for a break. Emerging from a long stretch of jungle into a wide valley is like taking a sudden lungful of air after a long period of holding your breath. Soon when the horizon opens up again, we can see all the green hills around.
The second part of the run leads us through the Karen valleys. After 20kms from the start we finally reach the first rice paddies carved into the hillsides, like huge staircases of greenery. Crossing the terraced rice fields is an obstacle race for tired runners. To run across the strips of grass without falling you have to learn how to keep your balance.
When we see the first roofs of the villages, the Karen village of Mae Kha is not far away. It’s a wonderful place for a break. People live simply and are happy to welcome us. If we have time we could even enjoy a quick shower at the waterfall in the center of the village.
Finally we continue our trip through rice fields again then up to mountains until we reach the sacred temple of Wat Prabat Si Loi, our destination point.
Botanic Resort is perfect for people who don’t like to follow the crowd. Amid lush, natural landscape and facing the green mountains, guests will feel here a warm and personal atmosphere. The hotel is located in the Mae Sa valley at 650m high. It provides a very good Thai traditional food, a big swimming pool as comfortable and quiet rooms. All rooms are decorated in a contemporary Lanna Thai Style. They are equipped with a personal bar refrigerator, color TV, hair dryer, telephone, coffee and Tea Pot.