This a walk / run of around 18 kilometres with almost no asphalt is always in the Thai jungle with some beautiful waterfall at the end.
As it is not a return trail i suggest you to reach the beginning by taxi to avoid to have to get back to the beginning to collect your scooter or bicycle. The fare is about 100baths for the taxi. It allow to avoid the crossing of Chiang-Mai which is very polluted.
Ask to go to Suthep road and be sure to begin after the Chiang-Mai outer ring road.
At the end of Suthep road you will see many blue signs. Turn right and keep left until the beginning of the trail, on the left before a metallic gate in black and white, it’s at the rear of a small bicycle garage.
The trail is very pleasant up to a small temple complex (unknown name, not in Goggle map neither in Bing map) with Buddha cave , small waterfall, Buddhist monks, many terraces, and probably a nice view (too bad whether for me to check).
From this temple, I wasn’t able to catch the trail but it’s not a big deal as after less than one kilometre on the tarmac, I was back in the jungle for a rather steep ascent on a kind of clay stair.
Then you will reach the bottom of the steps to the Doi Suthep temple. You can climb all the stairs but it may be not a good idea to try to visit the temple as your running suit may be considered as offensive in this sacred place.
The place is good for a small meal before going down. I purchased a kind of rice sausage. Not very good for a paleo diet but very tasty.
The next part of the trail begin on the left of the first platform of the stairs. The beginning of the trail was rather tricky to find. Avoid the stairs and the concrete road along the public toilet. The trail begin on the left, just before the first bamboo hut.
There is a small sign which forbid to go on this trail without an authorization from the park authority. I’ve decided to ignore the warning and learnt at the bottom that there is a fine of 500 bath for the offender.
Along this nice path you will encounter some nice waterfall (Sai Yoi falls and and Montathon falls) you will reach a kind of waterfall park (Montathon fall park).
After this park you will reach the main road from Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep. Follow down until a small bridge. The trail begin just before the bridge. I wasn’t able to pursue due a flooded river and I had to get back to the main road up to a kind of new park with nice view on the suburb of Chiang Mai and a very rocky landscape.
The trail end there with a kind of taxi station with a lot of way to go back fuelled to Chiang Mai.
I found this track in Open Street Map and loaded it in Locus, an Android app which allow to follow a track even if you are off-line.
New route of 2014
In 2014, I went back in Chiang Mai and I’ve recorded a slightly different route. It always go through the Doi Suthep temple.
I begin very early this run. The roads are not already crowded.
Beginning early in the morning allow you to avoid the heat of mid day and to see the Buddhist monks wandering along the streets to get their food for the day. I’ve also seen many people squatting before monks while they where declaring something.
As my guest house in Chiang Mai (Kavil 2) is very cheap, the lobby is not open at 6 in the morning. I took my first shot of café in the street. A kind guy in a VW T3 was just opening his coffee shop.
I was still in Chiang Mai while I took this picture. Odd this confrontation between jungle and car ?
At the level of the red taxi, you will have to turn right.
It is now time to enter the jungle. One year before there was a bicycle garage at this place. The trail begin on the left, before the barrier.
This picture is taken from the first temple on the trail. I don’t know the name of the temple. The midst on Chiang Mai may be less present in the dry season ?
Like in many other Buddhist temple, here is the Buddha cave.
In enjoyed the scenery. Looks a little bit like Angkor no ?
I don’t know the name of this one. Nice view on the trail to Doi Suthep.
A last view of the jungle and the mountain.