The Tour Of Chiang Dao
The main target about creating TMT01 was to find a route from Chiang Mai to the highest mountain range of Thailand, Chiang Dao. Standing out against the sky, on the 1st time we discovered this mountain where rock and jungle meet and blend, we were fascinated. With several summits at 2,000 meters high and a profusion of lesser peaks and ridges, this mountain barely known from tourists is definitely the most beautiful one in Thailand.
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This trip will lead us in the highest mountains of Thailand on the last part of TMT01 all around Chiang Dao summit. We will hike across and behind the massif in remote areas. On old trails very few local people know, we will cross the only three hill-tribe villages of the area. It’s a perfect trip to discover Chiang Dao from another side and when the Conservation area is closed 8 months a year.
Characteristics of the Trip
6,450 THBAll-inclusive price
Trek & Discover
Finish: Na Lao Mai (2h transfer)
90% single-track trail, 10% double-track trail
Highlights: High mountains, Hmong, Lahu, Lisu villages
1 Night in bungalows in a Hmong village
Duration: 7 hiking hours a day
Pick up & Drop off at your hotel (city center)
Available all year round
Closed: April / May
From the bottom, we can already observe the spectacular mountain range that overlooks us 1000m higher. We are pleased to be just at the foothills of high cliffs and various peaks and feel the unique atmosphere of this mountain range. The beginning of the route is steep and technical until we reach a pass, the only way to go across the massif.
The trail now flows on a plateau through rocks and tropical forest in a majestic alpine décor. While turning on the right to follow the trail, behind us in the distance stands the summit of Chiang Dao. We continue to walk in the wild forest surrounded by various peaks. Soon the atmosphere changes and after a typical tropical rain forest, we enter a dry forest more open. We will stop for a break in a wonderful place in the middle of pine trees.
The last part of the day is going down into the jungle before we reach the Hmong village of San Pakhia. Long time ago, the village was located just at the foothills of Chiang Dao summit. Hmong people grew poppy crops at the top of the different summits. With the development of the Royal project, they moved and started growing substitute crops. The village is now at a lower level with a unique view on the mountain range. We will sleep there in bungalows for the overnight.
In the morning of the 2nd day, after a long way down on a dirt road, we must tackle with a steep path in the forest. This is the most difficult part of the route. For some unknown reasons, local people have traced their path straight up in the mountains. Until we reach the ridge of the mountains, it’s a long succession of soft and steep slopes. It requires some strength to finally stand at the top.
Finally we reach a long ridge with a beautiful view on the mountains. At the beginning of the ridge, on the South side, we can observe the Hmong village we left in the morning; we will be surprised to see how far we have hiked. At the end of the ridge, the North side offers a wonderful panorama: the Lady Mountain stands in the distance on the left; the Chiang Dao mountain range offers its best side on the right.
The last part of the route goes down back to the valley. The descent is long, technical and steep. It goes through forest and jungle. After reaching a 1st Lisu village we will hike up again to reach the 2nd village, Na Lao. We will stop there at the foothills of Chiang Dao massif before driving back to Chiang Mai.
Ban San Pakhia is one of the few villages located in the Chiang Dao area. Hmong people like to stay high in the mountains; first they settled just at the foothills of the summits then moved to this location to create a bigger village. It has now 80 families who live mostly from growing oranges. TMT has established long relationships with the inhabitants: Pakhia was the 1st village where we implemented the ‘Sport for Kids’ project in 2015. We had the privilege to build with the head of the village the bungalows in front of the mountains where we will stay at night.