× Note: Sanctuaries are different to National Parks in Thailand, Thailand currently has established 39 sanctuaries and access is more restrictive as their role is as a sanctuary for wildlife rather than a park for the nation. Some sanctuaries do allow limited access to tourists.

Doi Mon Chong/Jong (Om Koi Wildlife Sanctuary)

17 Jun 2022 09:10 - 29 Aug 2022 22:38 #5797 by wvwv
I rarely get to North Thailand, maybe once a year.  It's something different; cooler air, scenic roads and more accessible forest.  Doi Mon Chong was fogged over on my visit.  Being a long way from Chiang Mai or anywhere else, I'm not sure I will ever make it back this way to see the views first-hand.  In the absence of any pictures from the top, here are a couple of TAT photos to start:

Credit Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Credit Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Apparently the summit (above) is supposed to look like a lion's head.  No, me neither.

The roads to get here are well-paved but really remote, you can drive for dozens of km without seeing anybody or passing any villages.  It's typical North Thailand landscape - patches of forest interspersed with farmland, In June much of it was brown and barren, I guess after burning.


Doi Muser Viewpoint is the last stop before you get to Doi Muser Village.

This village is a hilltribe village, the Hmong I think.  A lot of them wear the traditional dress, it's like a completely different country.  Around Chiang Mai some of them wear it too but they mainly do it for the tourists, some people refer to those villages as human zoos, especially the long-neck Kayan tribe, because of all the tourism.  I spent 3 or 4 days driving through Tak Province and many people were walking the roads, miles from anywhere, one guy barefoot (not a monk) and another woman in the rain going up a neverending hill, a small child walking slowly alongside her and a baby against her chest wrapped in a shawl.  You'd never see anything like that in central Thailand.  I've seen other photos of the women porters who carry your bags up Mon Chong sleeping outside on the mountain, no tent no nothing, they are really tough people.

Doi Mon Chong has been officially closed since January 2022 after an elephant attack on a tourist.  www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/224...ight-elephant-attack  So I was not sure if I'd be able to find a way up.  I thought the drive would be a nice trip even if I couldn't get up Mon Chong.  I knew of two routes, one from Doi Muser and another from Ban Huai Poo Ling.  I had a look at the Doi Muser way first but there was a checkpoint after driving into the forest for a few km.  The guy was in the middle of a shower and came running out in just a towel to stop me from passing.

The Huai Poo Ling route is not checkpointed or staffed, there is just a sign.


It was late in the day so I needed to find somewhere to sleep first.  I asked at Omkoi WS HQ which is 5-10km away; they wouldn't allow it.  I tried in Mon Chong Village but there were no hotels and nowhere to pitch a tent.  I wanted some shelter because my tent isn't waterproof.  In the dark I settled on what I thought was some kind of hut raised off the ground, like the ones you see in the middle of ricefields.  In the morning I realised it was a vacant cow shed, on the right you can see my neighbour 😄  I think they store straw on the top part and the cow goes underneath.


So onto the trail, normally they will drive you up the steepest section in 4x4s so you only have to walk the last 6km which is much flatter.  But if you have to walk it as I did, it is very tough, the gradient is a consistent 20-40%.  I think the Ban Doi Muser way is less steep.


My GPS track walking from Huai Poo Ling (in reverse):


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Somebody else's GPS track who took a 4x4 both ways.  Looks like they started at the Doi Muser way and went down the other way, or vice versa.


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17 Jun 2022 09:58 #5798 by wvwv
Whichever way you go the walk from the parking area is about 6km.  If you walk as I did the walking distance will be 10.5km each way or a half marathon in total.

Although I didn't see any views, I did see lots of mushrooms!  They were everywhere on the walk up through the forest.  The 4x4s are driving through all this so the track is wide and easy to follow.











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17 Jun 2022 10:05 - 09 Sep 2022 07:28 #5799 by wvwv





This was all I could see at the summit:


Some kind of grouse?


There was elephant activity all along the ridge, this is the campsite area with some elephant poo:


Here is another write up with some nice images, I liked this one of 100+ monks walking over the mountain.  I believe you can follow the track on past Doi Mon Chong down the other side, I looked for that track but couldn't find anything obvious.


Credit Kepkrapao

In rainy season there are lots of leeches, I took a break to scrape all these off my legs and onto the tree.


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19 Jun 2022 09:19 - 19 Jun 2022 09:21 #5800 by Paul T
Looks like a Mountain bamboo partridge, Bambusicola fytchii.

Some kind of grouse?


The following user(s) said Thank You: wvwv

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16 Mar 2023 09:23 #5889 by wvwv
This mountain is open again now after the elephant attack but there is still the seasonal closure every year. For those wanting a guide there is a facebook page which offers tour packages and they can pick up from chiang mai as well if necessary.



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