Chiang Mai – Khun Na Sa Village
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for our five days/four nights Doi Inthanon Trekking Marathon. Time has come to leave the city and look for greener pastures! Check out of the hotel and head out of Chiang Mai towards Doi Lo district south west of the city. Stop at the local market for the porters to pick up fresh locally produced vegetables and meat for the trek. If this day falls on a Saturday we have an option to stop at the Buffalo market in Hang Dong and watch a local livestock auction at the same time as stocking up on food. Arrive at Huay Teun, a small stream running down from the mountain of Doi Lor. We start walking along the stream for an hour and take a picnic lunch on the way. In the afternoon the trekking becomes a little more strenuous as we start gaining elevation on a trail used by the locals, after some two hours the climb gets tougher and we take a rest at a hidden nameless waterfall in the middle of the woods. After the waterfall, we gain altitude even more for another 10 to 30 minutes, depending on our fitness, and we arrive the Karen village of Khun Na Sa for a home cooked dinner and overnight.
Khun Na Sa – Khun Puay
After a local village breakfast, pack up your belongings and head out on another day of adventure. Start walking through the evergreen forest with the occasional ray of sun streaming through thick lush green vegetation. There are two trails for this day, a shorter easier walk of 4 to 5 hours through rice paddies and the origins of the Puay River and a longer more challenging 7 to 8 hours trail which holds the reward of a waterfall on the way!
Both of the trails gives the chance to spot wildlife, especially birds of many exotic species are abundant in this area so binoculars are a good thing to bring. As the day before, our lunch will be a jungle style picnic. Arrive Ban Khun Puay, a Karen hilltribe village of 70 families. Get acquainted with the people in the village and get to know more about the tribe and their lives. Storytelling in and dinner before going back to bed in this hilltribe village beautifully nestled in a valley.
Khun Puay – Khun Wang
From the village of Khun Puay we start walking the hills north of Doi Inthanon National Park between Khun Puay and Khun Wang. The area was earlier subject to the detrimental slash and burn technique, posing a threat to the biodiversity of the whole region. Today more sustainable practices has been adopted by the hilltribes and the forests once again flourishes, which we will experience during our trek. If the season and opportunity allows, we spot some Prunus Cerasiodes or simply Wild Himalayan Cherry. Its light pink tree flower can be seen blooming in the first months of the year in Khun Wang. For the overnight we stay at the Royal Agriculture Research Centre, here at more than 1200 meters above sea level studies on the macadamia nut is performed, which now is grown in the region instead of puppy seeds to produce opium.
Khun Wang – Baan Pamon
Leave Khun Wang and the research center and head out for another day of trekking. Since we are above 1000 meters, the trail takes through a year around evergreen forest, occasionally paired with farming plots facilitated by the hill tribes. The destination for today is Ban Pha Mon a Karen Village located on the northern tip of Doi Inthanon National Park. Local jungle lunch and dinner with the Karen people at the hilltribe village.
Ban Pa Mon – Ban Mae Sapok – Chiang Mai
Off we go! On this the last day of adventure, trekking through the jungle with eyes set on Ban Mae Sapok, a Karen village locally famous for its weaving techniques. Besides farming the main occupation is hand weaving traditional Karen clothing, the village also has an interesting mix of spiritual and Christian beliefs unique to the Karen tribe. If we are lucky there might a ceremony on the day of our arrival such as wrist-binding held in January and February or when the first batch of rice is harvested in August. Lunch at the village and then transfer back to Chiang Mai by private air conditioned van. It is the end of your Doi Inthanon Trekking Marathon.