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Kyle C

Travelled to 18 countries / regions

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Currently living in Chiang Mai

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Asia > Thailand > Chiang Mai > Doi Suthep Temple > Useful Info
Updated on Sep 20, 2018 Useful Info

How to hike up to the Doi Suthep Temple (along Monk's Trail)

  • While many tourists don't know about this trail, it's quite popular among expats who live in Chiang Mai to hike up to the Doi Suthep temple (Wat Phra That Doi Suthep) along what's called Monk's Trail
  • This is a 2.5-6 hour activity depending on how far you want to go and if you want to hike down as well. The entire way is in the forest and parts of it is along a creek with some nice waterfalls here and there so I definitely recommend doing it. The view of the city is also very nice
  • Overview: the trail has 2 sections
  1. The first section takes you to a small temple (called Wat Pha Lat), and take no more than 1 hour each direction; many hikers just hike to this point and turn around. This is not the Doi Suthep Temple. This temple does not have a view of the city
  2. The second section is more strenuous, going up more steeply from the small temple of Wat Pha Lat to the main Doi Suthep Temple. This section will take 2-2.5 hours from Wat Pha Lat. This stretch and the Doi Suthep Temple itself will offer great views of the city
  • What to bring:
  • A backpack
  • 1-2L of water
  • Bug spray (if you attract mosquitoes)
  • Camera
  • If you go within a few days after it rains, wear shoes that you don't mind getting muddy
  • Where to start:
  • The starting point of the trail is tricky to find. It doesn't help that this trail is so under the radar that many locals don't know about it
  • The trail entrance is at coordinates 18.798111, 98.942361. In terms of how to get to the starting point, here's a map:

User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple

  • Points on this map:
  1. Taxi drop off here at Chiang Mai University's Suthep Road Gate - coordinates 18.793389, 98.953306: this is a big enough landmark that you can ask your red taxi driver to drop you off here. If you're taking Grab, literally type in "Chiang Mai University Gate" and pick the Suthep Road gate. Picture (from Google Streetview):User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple
  2. Turn right when you see these signs - coordinates 18.794512, 98.948603 (also, the road ahead straight ahead of you becomes visibly much much narrower):User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple
  3. Turn left when you see this fork - coordinates 18.796799, 98.948127 (road straight is flat, road to your left is uphill; so you should go uphill; if you bicycled here, this might be a good place to park unless you want to bike uphill for the next few hundred meters):User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple
  4. At the very end of the road is trail entrance (coordinates 18.797988, 98.942388). If you're motorbiking, you can park here. Picture:User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple
  • More tips on finding the entrance:
  • You can try to get your Grab/taxi driver to drop you off at the trail entrance (i.e. point 4 on the map), but it's not a major landmark. It's not even a destination option in the Grab app. However, you might be able to show Google Maps to your driver and he might be able to figure it out
  • I know people who had been advised by some blogs they read to go to the Chiang Mai Zoo Rear Entrance because that's pretty much where the trail starting point is. But don't do it. Unless you speak good Thai, you probably won't be able to communicate it well to the taxi drivers, who will invariably take you to the zoo main entrance, which is very very far away (this is what happened to me)
  • When to go:
  • The 2 officially suggested times to go is before 9am and after 4pm. Otherwise it's too hot during the day. I personally enjoy doing it in the early morning (e.g. starting the hike at 5:30-6am). In Chiang Mai temperatures start to rise pretty quickly around 10am
  • I know someone who did it at 4am to see sunrise from the Doi Suthep temple. Chiang Mai is quite safe and it's fine to do this at night, but just make sure to bring flash light or headlamp. I also don't recommend doing it if it's your first time
  • Avoid going there it it rains, or if it rained the day before. Parts of the trail can get very muddy in these situations
  • What to expect during the hike:
  • From the starting point, the entire trail will be marked by orange ribbons tied to trees. It's super obvious and you won't miss it. Like this:

User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple


Some photos of the hikeUser submitted photo of Doi Suthep TempleUser submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple

User submitted photo of Doi Suthep TempleUser submitted photo of Doi Suthep TempleUser submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple

User submitted photo of Doi Suthep Temple

Comments

Roman

Travelled to 3 countries / regions

2 Months Ago

Thanks for this, used it today!

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