The Tour Of The Karen Valleys

Thailand Mountain Trail has spent several years to investigate the most remote mountain trails in Northern Thailand before creating TGR1, the first Thai Great Route and long footpath of the country (LINK). Thanks to our extensive knowledge of those areas and long relationship with local people, our organization is the only one to bring runners and trekkers in those mountains.

This 2-day trip will lead us to the 1st part of TGR1 in Karen areas, one of the tribe located in the mountains of Thailand. We will run through their beautiful valleys and villages on wild footpaths in remote areas. At night we will eat and sleep in local families and houses. It’s a unique playground on Thai mountain trails.

Characteristics of the Trip

4,450 THB

All-inclusive price
DURATION
2 Days
DISTANCE
50K
ELEVATION GAIN
2,600M+
DIFFICULTY
Trail Tour
TRIP TYPE
Run & Discover

For intermediate level runners
50% single-track trail / 40% double-track trail
Jungle and rice fields
Stations in local villages
1 night accommodation in a Karen village
Start: Mae Sa valley (30-minute transfer)
Finish: Huay Nam Sai (1-hour transfer back)
Duration: 6-8 hours a day (intermediate level)
Including accommodation, drinks, meals, transfers, guide
Additional night in Chiang Mai on request
Available all year round
Meeting point: TMT office (Chiang Mai)

1st Day: The Wild Karen Valleys 24K & 1’150M+

On the 1st day we start our trip from Mae Sa valley 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 village, the Karen village of Mae Kha is not far away. It’s a wonderful place to stay overnight. People live simply and are happy to welcome us; they live in deep contact with nature. After enjoying a deserved shower directly at a waterfall, we will share a meal for dinner with local families. We will sleep in comfortable wood houses besides the rice fields.

2nd Day: In the Land of Rice 26K & 1’450M+

In the morning of the 2nd day we particularly appreciate the unique scenery on fields and valleys at sunrise while having breakfast. We quit the village with regret by one of its mountain slopes, gradually leaving its wattle and daub roofs behind us. We run again through rice fields and up to the mountains until Wat Prabat Si Loi. This sacred temple is known for its 4 Buddha footprint; it’s a quiet place and a majestic temple surrounded by green nature.

The 2nd part of the day brings us deeply into the Karen areas. We run a beautiful and long double-track path down the valleys and enjoy some nice scenery on the green hills. Only few people live there but we will cross a small Karen village and its lovely wood houses. Soon we are in larger valleys surrounded by tropical forests and rice fields.

The route is flat for a couple of kilometers before entering a wild bamboo jungle. It’s the last part of the trip and the last difficulty to tackle with. After we leave the jungle, the view is wider and we can observe the mountains further up where TGR1 continues its route. The end of our trip is getting close.

Accommodation in a Karen village

After the 1st day of run, we will reach Mae Kha Piang while the sun is releasing its hold on runners’ body. We will immediately appreciate the quietness, the freshness as the beauty of this Karen village surrounded by jungle and paddies. The cold shower in a waterfall in the village, the reception and the smile of its inhabitants, the delicious food and the night in local wood houses will help us to get strength back before the 2nd day of our trip.

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