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Thread: Why I stay in Chiang Mai when in Thailand

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    Why I stay in Chiang Mai when in Thailand

    I've said many times that Chiang Mai is the ideal Thai city for me. It's big enough that you can never know all of it, and yet small enough to walk just about anywhere within the city. There are an unending variety of places to eat with every type of cuisine imaginable... and not at killer prices. Reasonably priced accommodation is available for those on a limited budget, but there's enough of the high end stuff for those that want it. There are good hospitals, good dental and even the traffic isn't that bad if you ride a motorbike or scooter. For the most part, the police stay out of your hair. And, when the inevitable happens the fine is not too bad. Of course there are frustrations, but what place doesn't have those. For the two smoky months there are other options such as taking a holiday in the south.

    However, what really makes Chiang Mai the city for me is the 1100 m mountain directly to the west of the city... Doi Sutthep stands proudly over-looking the city and offers a bit of wilderness within easy access of everyone. It offers a bit of coolness on a hot day.



    The temple at about the 3/4 mark is the destination of most tourists, but that's not all the mountain has to offer. Anyone with 50 baht can get a ride in a songthaw to the temple and there is a steady stream of traffic going up the twisty road to the top.





    The view of the city on a clear day is quite nice.



    But once you've been to the temple a few times it becomes just another ride. What really attracts me are the old trails through the National forest to the top of the mountain. There are several clear streams tumbling down the mountain in a series of waterfalls. And, there are a few pools big enough for bathing.












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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Isn't that lovely, so refreshing, beautiful ... the stream too! Can I go bush-walking with you (and Jom?) Ian? 555

    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Nice waterfall,should have a lot of water in it now after the rains this week.

    Right up the top of Doi Pui,after the Hmong village,there`s a heap of nice trekking tracks.
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    Platinum josho's Avatar
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    great little read there Ian i agree with you 100% mate, i just wished i discovered the place sooner rather then later.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน justcruzing1's Avatar
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    Great photo's again Ian.
    I had every intention of going to CM last trip but things got in the road.

    If I ever get back I'll make sure I get there.
    "Of course you love me darling, I handsome man 55555"

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    After doing all the touristy things I started clearing out all the old trails. There is a pretty good trail from Huay Keaw waterfalls at the base of the mountain upward to where the stream crosses the road. That is a distance of about 1.5 km. But, just below the road crossing and the trail above to Monthathon waterfalls the trail was very brushed in with bamboo, fallen trees and creeping vines.

    Huay Keaw falls



    About 1.5 km up the road is a popular stopping place for Thais who like to slide down the rocks and jump into the pools below. It is easy access to the trails and sometimes vendors sell drinks there.



    It's a very popular spot for families with children.



    This happy young group of Thais offered my friend and I a beer on our way back down the mountain. A beer never tasted so good.



    But, after a while I got bored with the easy stuff and started clearing out the upper trail with my machete.







    Lots of work opening the old trails..



    And some of the trees are too big for my machete. When one of these falls down I have to find a way around it.


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    This is a rough drawn map I made of the general area. It is a 12 km drive from the bottom of the mountain at Huay Keaw waterfall to the temple at the 3/4 point. The palace is another 3 km further on, but after the palace the paved road becomes VERY narrow with just barely enough room for two small trucks to pass. Beyond the narrow, twisty road down to the Hmong hill tribe village the upward road becomes a narrow, one way track that gets a little scary when two vehicles approach each other. It's bad enough for just 2 scooters to pass. The road goes over the height of land and then down to another Hmong village on a mostly gravel road. It is possible to go around on this track and come out at Huay Teung Thao reservoir.


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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PeteGill's Avatar
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    Ian if our paths cross again in CM, and I hope they do. I am sure as hell going to talk you in to taking me on one of your hikes....

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    Quote Originally Posted by josho View Post
    great little read there Ian i agree with you 100% mate, i just wished i discovered the place sooner rather then later.
    I visited CM on my last trip, not really knowing what to expect, but found it to be very much to my liking. And I hardly got out of Loi Kroh rd/Night Market area! I blame Stu and his Downunder bar for that though.
    This trip we have Doi Suthep very much in our sights, among some other attractions. Something I wanted to do last time, and won't be doing this time unfortunately, is riding the Mae Hong Son loop over a few days. Maybe the next time I visit CM when Moo Uaon is in town...

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GC Chris View Post
    +1.

    I visited CM on my last trip, not really knowing what to expect, but found it to be very much to my liking. And I hardly got out of Loi Kroh rd/Night Market area! I blame Stu and his Downunder bar for that though.
    This trip we have Doi Suthep very much in our sights, among some other attractions. Something I wanted to do last time, and won't be doing this time unfortunately, is riding the Mae Hong Son loop over a few days. Maybe the next time I visit CM when Moo Uaon is in town...
    Combined biking & hiking day trips ending back at DUP would be good... ~ Oct/Nov/Dec when temps are cool.

    Was that you, Ian, that ran a Doi Suthep outing on TV?
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Lamai Beach Bum Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน bacwaan's Avatar
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    no doubt CM is a magical city...its just missing a beautiful beach is all 555

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Forbes View Post
    This is a rough drawn map I made of the general area. It is a 12 km drive from the bottom of the mountain at Huay Keaw waterfall to the temple at the 3/4 point. The palace is another 3 km further on, but after the palace the paved road becomes VERY narrow with just barely enough room for two small trucks to pass. Beyond the narrow, twisty road down to the Hmong hill tribe village the upward road becomes a narrow, one way track that gets a little scary when two vehicles approach each other. It's bad enough for just 2 scooters to pass. The road goes over the height of land and then down to another Hmong village on a mostly gravel road. It is possible to go around on this track and come out at Huay Teung Thao reservoir.

    If you branch off to the left (not far after the palace) and head down the narrow windy road to the the Doi Pui Hmong Hill Tribe Village,left through their markets,there`s a trail that goes all the way down to the southern part of the Samoeng road. Part way along (see green arrow on link below) there`s a lovely little trail that branches off and up to the right and rounds the summit of Doi Pui under the forest canopy and over some bubbling little brooks and eventually down to Huay Teung Thao reservoir. Part of it we call the Turtle Trail.
    Parts of it are 1500m elevation and there`s always a cool breeze blowing through the valley just below the summit.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Cippy's Avatar
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    I keep meaning to make it over there, it would be a nice Drive through the mountains from the Baan. I have heard a few people rave about the scenery to the east of the city.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post
    Combined biking & hiking day trips ending back at DUP would be good... ~ Oct/Nov/Dec when temps are cool.

    Was that you, Ian, that ran a Doi Suthep outing on TV?
    No, that was a friend of mine's red headed daughter. She went through a messy divorce about a year ago and came to Thailand to get her head straight. I sort of took her under my wing.

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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PeteGill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacwaan View Post
    no doubt CM is a magical city...its just missing a beautiful beach is all 555
    That can be just a short plane trip away 5555
    I have lived by the sea for 30 odd years. But I do love mountains too. I could easily base myself in CM and do the odd trip away to the sea.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacwaan View Post
    no doubt CM is a magical city...its just missing a beautiful beach is all 555
    I know where your coming from baca.

    But for the outdoorsy/got some projects going types it`s a great area to live and explore.
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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    On the Turtle Trail..



    Map...
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    The part of the trail I took under as a project was above where the creek crosses the road. There obviously was a lot of work done on the creek a long time ago. There is evidence of small, old dams to conserve the water. Most of the little dams are now silted in, but they still add to the environment.
    There is a little dam just behind this photo...



    There are a whole series of waterfalls all the way up. Some of the better ones have names.



    When I first started cutting trails in November it was almost impossible to get through the jungle and nobody was walking the trail. But as I extended the trail further up the mountain I started meeting other hikers. The only down side of that is the local Thais would bring in their food and leave their garbage behind.



    One day I met an Israeli man and we spent the day together hiking up to Monthathon falls. We followed the creek to where it hit the road at the falls. If you take the road you have to pay 200 baht Park entrance fee. It was hard to follow the old trail because blow downs and bamboo filled in the old trail. I just cut my way around it. We even got a bit lost coming back down and had to circle around a canyon section.





    It worked out pretty well because we found some waterfalls that we wouldn't have otherwise seen.





    On my next trip I brought some plastic bags to wrap around tree limbs to show the way. It's not always evident when criss crossing the creek.






  19. #19
    Platinum josho's Avatar
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    looks like i will have to swing by and have a look at this area in October Ian. ive already booked some downhill mountain biking at Doi Suthep, and im venturing north of CM to Chiang Dao with a TG friend of mine.
    Last edited by josho; 7th May 2013 at 17:01.

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    Thanks for your additions, Moo Uaon. As you obviously know... it's a special area for residents of Chiang Mai who are not afraid to explore a little. I'm still only scratching the surface. I've done the Samoeng Loop dozens of times and I'm still finding new places to explore. I'm slowly working my way to Pai over the back roads... as if the main road to Pai isn't "back-road" enough. I now carry a little brush saw as well as my machete. It cuts through those fallen trees much quicker if you are using a motorbike. A chain saw would be great, but who wants to pack a chain saw on a motorbike.

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