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Doi Luang National Park Mountain Trek

31 May 2019 18:05 - 06 Mar 2020 22:17 #5226 by wvwv
This national park is about half way between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.  There are a few other treks in the area like the Chiang Dao trek (3rd highest mountain in Thailand) and Doi Langka Luang which is a multi-day hike across 3-4 different summits.

This trek is typically done with a guide starting from the south end of the path.  It's best done in my opinion point to point i.e. not a round trip, but that of course isn't possible if you left a vehicle at one end.  I'd done it the other way around in the rainy season (so starting from the east side of the park) a couple of years ago but only got to Doi Nok, which is a really strange shaped rock that you can summit with the aid of some ropes, a few hundred metres below Doi Luang.  I think this trek is officially closed in rainy season but I was by myself that time.  I'd left my girlfriend at the bottom so was in a bit of a rush to get back hence turning around before Doi Luang.  It rained a lot on the way up, which I don't mind, I saw a small wild boar, and only came across one leech which I thought was very good going for rainy season.  One memory is emerging from the jungle into the tall grass at the summit which was almost head height.  That path up through a valley runs alongside the river which is marked on google maps as Phatretnark Waterfall.  From the start point to the mountain ridge is about 4-5km but it's uphill all the way so it's hard going.  Doi Nok and Doi Luang are not much further along the ridge.  The start for this easterly point is approx 19.1570204,99.7765496.  The road is a dirt road and eventually it comes to the start of the trail which is marked by loads of colourful flags and other such Buddhist paraphernalia.  When I went this way there were some fallen trees across the road which means I had to walk the last stretch of the road to the start and there were some sideroads which confused me a little.  Once at the start it is obvious you're there though and the trail is easy to follow throughout, no chance to get lost.

The start point for the south part of the trek (probably the recommended place to start) is 19.069206,99.7725739.  The path literally starts from the main road.  There aren't any signs on the road so you will miss it if you don't drive very slowly, but there is a national park 'rules' sign 20 metres onto the path (i.e. no fires, no weapons etc) so you will know you're on the right path.  On the other side of the road is a parking area where you could leave a car or bike.  Not sure how safe a bike might be there as it's not a busy road and no houses or shops nearby to leave a bike either.

All the following pictures are from a more recent visit a few months ago.  I'd planned to climb Chiang Dao then Doi Langka then Doi Luang over the space of a few days.  In the end I skipped Doi Langka. If you do the Langka trek with rangers they space it out over 3 nights and 4 days and charge 13000 baht per group and really for me it's a 2-day trek.  I did meet a ranger with Thai group at Doi Nok who looked a little perturbed but he didn't say anything perhaps because of the language barrier.

A lot of smog spoiled the views a little but that's dry season in Northern Thailand for you.  When you get high up it's visible as a sort of layer on the horizon.  Phayao Lake clearly visible from summit.  Great views along the whole ridgeline (south path).  No views from the jungle valley (east) path.

There is a rubbish and human waste problem at the summit.  No toilets so everybody just covers their poo with tissue paper.  Most people stay overnight at Doi Luang and then descend through the jungle valley the next day.

In terms of animals, boar seem to be common here but I didn't see any this trip.  Reports of tigers eating cattle in the area but that's a long time ago so probably no tigers left.

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13 Jun 2019 09:14 #5240 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Doi Luang National Park Mountain Trek
Great write up with very clear instructions. Good job!

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16 Jun 2019 16:33 #5241 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Doi Luang National Park Mountain Trek
I will second that, fantastic write-up

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20 Jun 2019 17:27 #5246 by wvwv
Replied by wvwv on topic Doi Luang National Park Mountain Trek
found some rainy season pictures from the first time I went ...


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