Chiang Mai - Chiang Dao
This ‘Run & Relax’ trip is designed to guarantee the best conditions for running and after running. It includes 4 days of trail running and one resting day in two different locations: 2 ½ days in Chiang Mai and 2 ½ days in Chiang Dao. We will run around 7 hours a day and we will be back to our hotel in the afternoon to relax in very good conditions.
This trip will lead us to the highest mountains of Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao on the first and last parts of TGR1, the first Thai Great Route and long footpath of the country. At the doorsteps of Chiang Mai and in the highest mountain range of Thailand, we will live two different atmospheres and discover a unique Thailand on wild trails.
Characteristics of the Trip
19,450 THBAll-inclusive price
In the early hours of the morning the run leaves Chiang Mai towards the North and climbs straight up into the forest on a track used by pilgrims. 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 of Doi Suthep, and then, without a break, plunges headlong into its first stretch of jungle. For many it comes as a shock. We have to find our bearings very quickly in these long green tunnels whose very density is impressive. The undulating paths are almost free of obstacles but in many places they are punctuated by fallen branches and tree trunks which we have to step over…
As we emerge from the jungle, the run starts to climb again, up to the village of Chang Khian, the first Hmong village. After a break to enjoy local Arabica coffee, the slope gets progressively harder and becomes so steep that we have to use our hands to help us at some points. When we reach a magnificent line of ridges edged in pine trees, Doi Pui stands out in the distance. If we can see it, our feet can take us there!
After the summit, the last 5k will lead us through the jungle again on a nice trail down to the final Hmong village where we will eat a great Thai food before going back to Chiang Mai by local taxi. It’s time for relaxing in the city.
After a deserved recovery and a relax time in Chiang Mai on the evening before, the 2nd day of the trip leaves Chiang Mai on a trail alongside a beautiful stream. We will enjoy a nice view on the city at the sunrise, then we climb straight up into the forest on a wild trail. The muscles are still a bit cold when the path goes steeper. For 7k and 1’100m+ it’s a regular climb in the forest and the jungle until we reach the Hmong village of Chang Khian.
After a short break to refill water and get a local coffee, we enjoy a great way down in a bamboo jungle. The undulating path is dense and technical on some parts. In many places it is punctuated by cut or fallen bamboo tree trunks. As we emerge from the jungle, we can see the mountain ridge in a tooth shape surrounding us. At its top stands the summit of Doi Pa Klong, the objective of the day.
After a new climb and a run alongside the ridge, finally we reach the summit at 1650m high. On the east side the view over the valley of Chiang Mai is panoramic and imposing. On the west side as far as we can see, it is an ocean of green mountains. We will make a break here at the top of Chiang Mai to enjoy some food and rest before the last drop.
The last part of the route leads us down to the end through a beautiful tropical forest. After having climbed 1’850m elevation gain, we let our legs recover slowly from the effort on this comfortable part. We enjoy a very nice run down to Ban Doi Pui the final Hmong village.
Free time in Chiang Mai in the morning. Transfer to Chiang Dao in the afternoon (1 hour 30). Night in Chiang Dao.
The 1st day of the trip leads us to the summit of Doi Chiang Dao. Standing out against the sky, mysterious and fascinating, Chiang Dao is the only alpine mountain range in Thailand. Of all the high mountains of the country it is also the most imposing and the most inaccessible. From the start at the foothills of the massif there begins a long climb through rocks and tropical forest in a majestic alpine décor.
There are 10 kilometers to cross inside this tooth-shaped massif, and a gain of 1500-metre elevation to negotiate up to the summit. We have many opportunities to enjoy the several 2000m-high peaks around us before reaching the highest one at 2225m.
At the summit the scenery is wonderful. It’s a long view on a series of steep peaks and high hills all round. It looks like we are at the center of Thailand and we can observe the whole country. After a long break to enjoy this moment, we run back a different route on a long technical way down until the valley. We have the opportunity to observe the whole mountain range from another side (west side).
After 1500m elevation loss, we cross a first Lisu village, and then we reach the village of Na Lao Mai, our overnight place. This traditional Lisu village offers a privileged view on the whole mountain range of Chiang Dao. TMT has developed strong links with locals. Food is excellent and atmosphere is great; the night will be sweet at the foothills of the mountains in traditional bamboo houses.
In the morning of the 2nd day we continue our trip by entering the large valley of Nong Khatae. Down in the valley we are surrounded by 3 big and imposing mountains: Doi Chiang Dao in the back, Doi Nong Khatae on the left and Doi Nang Non, the sleeping lady mountain and our objective, in the front. It’s one of the best places we know to observe the high mountains of Thailand and no other tourists have never heard of it.
After a wonderful way up in the jungle across large rocky boulders, we enter deeply in the valley of Nong Khatae and say good bye to the Doi Chiang Dao massif that offers us its best side. We reach a very remote and poor Lisu village at the foothill of Doi Nang Non, our next objective.
The way up to Doi Nang Non is steep and narrow and offers at the top a great view on the valley and the small Lahu village. We pass on areas near the summit that were famous previously for poppies crops before tackling a long way down until the Thai village of Ban Tham, our final point.
Chiang Mai Gate Hotel is situated in the prime location of Chiang Mai – the Wua Lai Community, an old silverware manufacturing community where the fascinating lifestyle and activities of the locals can be discovered and experienced. It is conveniently located on Suriyarong Road, only about 200 meters from Chiang Mai Gate and the heart of the old city. Chiang Mai Gate Hotel provides nicely decorated rooms in the traditional Lanna Thai style. Clean and comfortable all air-conditioned rooms with full facilities.
Chiang Dao Nest enjoys an idyllic setting, in a peaceful, mountainous valley. It is situated on a dead-end road and on the fringe of a National Park, Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary. On the site of the resort itself, and the immediate surrounds, nature is abundant. Nest is also home to some spectacularly tall and elegant dipterocarp trees, and also some gigantic bamboo. Chiang Dao Nest consists of 14 bungalows. Each bungalow has a private, ensuite toilet / shower room. The walls of all the cabins are constructed from double layers of bamboo. This gives them a really cosy, natural feel. An outdoor swimming pool is also available for customers.