The Old Pilgrim Trail
Thailand Mountain Trail has spent several years to investigate the most beautiful and the most interesting mountain trails of Northern Thailand. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of areas and people, we are the only agency in Chiang Mai to bring runners on those trails.
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This route at the doorsteps of the city was discovered three years ago and is one of our favorite. It has everything to please all trail runners: a good elevation, some great flat parts, a changing atmosphere from jungle to pine forest and some local features as temples and tribe villages.
Characteristics of the Trip
2,050 THBAll-inclusive price
Run & Relax
Finish: Ban Doi Pui (1 hour transfer)
90% single-track trail
Highlights: Temples, Jungle, Hmong villages
Station in Hmong villages
Duration: 5-6 running hours
Pick up & Drop off at your hotel (city center)
Additional day available on request
Available all year round
Details of the Day
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 previously used by pilgrims. In just a couple of minutes, it’s a complete change of atmosphere. It’s difficult to imagine we just left the city and we are now in a wild tropical forest. We follow the orange ribbons made from monks robes that mark the path until the temples.
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 kilometers 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 5 kilometers lead us through the jungle again on a nice trail down to the finish point. It’s maybe the most pleasant part of the trip. After a long and difficult climb, we enjoy a comfortable downhill on an easy trail surrounded by tropical trees, bamboo and banana trees. We can relax the legs and increase the speed without any effort until we reach a beautiful garden that marks the entrance of the final Hmong village.