Chiang Mai: Trekking the Historic Opium Trail on Doi Suthep
Our guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for your Doi Suthep trekking which we have labeled “Trekking the Historic Opium Trail”. Drive to Suthep Mountain. First we will visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, arguably the most famous temple of Chiang Mai, before the crowds arrive. Walk up the 300 steps up to the temple from where you have a majestic view over Chiang Mai. We continue to Doi Pui Village, a Hmong community, close to top of Doi Pui (Doi means mountain in Northern Thai language).
Your guide will tell you about the turbulent history of this community. In the past the village was involved in opium cultivation. Nowadays the village is a major tourist attraction on Doi Suthep. We walk around the village before we meet our local Hmong guide who will accompany us on our hike to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai in the Mae Sa Valley.
This hike through Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National park will take about 5-6 hours including many stops to take pictures and enjoy the forest and views. Our Hmong guide will share his knowledge of the forest with us and will tell stories of the past. After a walk uphill we will arrive at an open area with fantastic views on both sides of the mountain. We will stop briefly to look at a footprint of Buddha before enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic spot. We will continue through the forest to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai. This village is the largest Hmong community in Northern Thailand and gets very few visitors, a marked contrast with Doi Pui Hmong Village. You will learn about a very interesting project of FORRU, the forest restoration unit of Chiang Mai University. Drive back to Chiang Mai. Your guide will drop you off at the hotel. Here your Doi Suthep trekking ends.