Hiking in Chiang Mai

Hiking in Chiang Mai is a popular activity in the northern province of Thailand as it is bountiful in untouched vegetation, meandering rivers, waterfalls, flora and fauna. Trails through national parks and along the many hill tribe villages are quite popular. The many trails range from easy to hard in terms of difficulty and most of them can be undertaken throughout the year barring a few which are open only during a particular season. Here in this article, we will talk about the 7 best trails to go hiking through, the best time to hike in Chiang Mai including the times to avoid and also some tips and tricks to keep in mind.

Here Are the Best Spots for Hiking in Chiang Mai

1. Mae Tang River Trails

Mae Tang River Trails
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Mae Tang river trails are one of the easiest hikes in Chiang Mai to reach the beautiful Mae Tang river. It can be an excellent experience for beginners who are looking to indulge in some hiking in Chiang Mai. You can choose a one day trip to complete the shortest and most popular trail or a two to three day trip through other longer trails to explore more of the surroundings. The trails are covered with dense forests and beautiful waterfalls, and once you reach the Mae Tang river, swimming and bamboo rafting can be excellent experiences and are also very common for tourists. While following the trails, you will also come across a tribal village where you can have a great time interacting with the people and knowing how their daily life is.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the Year
Duration: 1 - 3 days
Difficulty level: Easy

2. Doi Pui to Doi Suthep Hike

Doi Pui to Doi Suthep Hike
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Hike to Doi Suthep from Doi Pui is the perfect hiking experience for cultural enthusiasts. This hike starts from the top of Doi Pui mountain and ends near the Doi Suthep temple. Once you reach the temple, you can continue further by following the hiking trails in the Doi Suthep National Park. While hiking through the trail, lush evergreen forests and hill-tribe villages make this trip more exciting and exciting for tourists. If you are a coffee lover, you can take the chances to try the samples of the earthy flavours of hill-tribe coffee en route. Adventurous people find this hike very favourable, and The Monks Trail is very famous which on average takes almost four hours to finish and the experience is often moderate to hard. The best thing about this place is that you can easily access the city from here.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the Year
Duration: 2 to 6 hours
Difficulty Level: Easy, Moderate and Hard
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3. Huay Tung Tao Circular Hike Trail

Huay Tung Tao Circular Hike Trail
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The Huay Tung Tao circular trail in the Mae Rim area of CHiang Mai takes you around the stunning and picturesque Huay Tung Tao Lake. In this trail of 6.9 Kilometres, you will hike along the slopes of Doi Suthep Mountain and walk across and past the beautiful Dtaat Mook Waterfall. The bamboo huts on the edge of the lake are perfect for post-hike refreshments. It is important to note that this trail is not for the timid and is relatively harder than most trails. It is recommended to keep all the necessary amenities while going on this hike. You can have an insight into the wildlife and you will also find many beautiful waterfalls.

Best Time to Visit: November to March
Duration: 6 hours
Difficulty Level: Hard

4. Doi Inthanon Nature Trail

Doi Inthanon Nature Trail
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In the nature trail though Doi Inthanon National Park, you will reach the highest mountain in Thailand called Doi Inthanon. In this hike, you will travel through the dense forests, over mountain ridges and even across some of the most stunning valleys. Some hiking trails through Doi Inthanon are open throughout the year, but some paths are open exclusively during a particular season. The trails will take you along many waterfalls, villages of ethnic people of the area and much more. If you are here during the winter and want to go on a hike, Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is a beautiful option that is open during the winter months.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Duration: Depends on the hiking trail that one chooses
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Hard
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5. Doi Luang Chiang Dao Hike

Doi Luang Chiang Dao Hike
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Climbing Doi Luang Chiang Dao in beautiful and breathtaking Chiang Dao area is in every avid hiker’s bucket list. This third highest peak in Thailand is approximately a one and a half hour drive north of Chiang Mai city. It is hard to miss the huge limestone cliffs once you reach and the trail has very limited facilities along the way. It is highly recommended that hikers bring camping gear because it is likely to be a two-day adventurous hike. The caves, hot springs, and a jungle temple in the surrounding areas are some of the attractions you will pass. The entire hike is a journey of 16.7 kilometres. The wildflowers that grow in the forest are often the main attraction.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Duration: 2 days
Difficulty Level: Hard

6. Mae Wang National Park Trails

Mae Wang National Park Trails
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National parks are like the best places to experience and indulge in great hiking in Chiang Mai. The path to Mae Wang National Park is famous among tourists. This national park gives you a chance to explore the wild forests and also the natural wonders of it. Some trails here start from the Shan village, and you can go to the Karen village while you are on your way. The Pan Chor Extended Loop is also recommended when hiking to Mae Wang National Park.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Duration: 1 - 2 days
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

7. Green Trails to Lisu Tribe

Green Trails to Lisu Tribe
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The Lisu tribe is well known in the Northern part of Thailand in the Chiang Mai area. If you are interested in knowing more about the tribe, a hiking trip to the place where they live will be perfect. There are homestays available in their area if you wish to spend a day or two living with the tribe. The village of Hmong Pha Mieng is the most famous among the villages of the Lisu tribe.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Duration: About 1.5 hours for hiking
Difficulty Level: Moderate

What is the Best Time for Hiking in Chiang Mai?

Hiking in Chiang Mai
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While hiking in Chiang Mai can be done throughout the year depending on which trail is chosen. It is best to visit during the winter season which starts from November till March. The weather is pleasant, there is almost no rainfall, and humidity is at a minimum.

One thing to note is that the 'burning season' when farmers practise slash and burn agriculture to make way for new crops causes smoke in the region. This occurs during late February and early March. It is best to avoid this period if you are looking to go hiking in Chiang Mai.

Tips for Hiking in Chiang Mai

  • Don’t deviate from your hiking trail as finding your way back can become very difficult.
  • It is important to respect the people living in forests and the tribes, along with the wildlife in it.
  • Do not litter at any part of Chiang Mai not even in the forests.
  • Make sure your hiking kit is complete with all amenities and apparatus along with a first aid kit.
  • If you decide to hire a guide, it is better to research about him prior to the hike.
  • Choose a hiking trail based on the level of difficulty you are accustomed to.
  • Make sure you keep an eye on your children during forest hikes as wild animals roam around some of the trails.

This post was published by Sravya Ronanki

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