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  1. #1
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    Default Camping trip in northern Thailand

    Well we have just returned from a 9 day trip to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces. Everywhere was busy because of the New Year but we did all we set out to do. Firstly we drove all the way to Doi Inthanon and camped at the National Park there for 3 nights. It was very busy but this is probably Thailands best park. We visited the top of the mountain, though our diesel truck didn't like the last 1000 feet or so. Visited the chedis for the King and Queen though the Queen's is being renovated at present. There are 5 major waterfalls on the mountain and without doubt three of them are the best I've seen in Thailand, though unlike Erawan you are not allowed to wade or swim in them. I had been before on a day trip from Chiang Mai but it was better to have 2 days on the mountain with the freedom of our own truck.

    One day went around in a loop around the south of the mountain and stopped at Ob Luang National park which is a largeish canyon cut by a river and there are some cave drawings from a few thousand years ago to see and a climb to a viewpoint, worth the small walk though the wifes boots fell apart on the walk back to the car, also in the same National Park (a drive of 15 km N.E) there is a hot water spring where you can buy and boil your own eggs.

    After this it was time to move to Doi Suthep, had problems getting to the National Park due to protests from locals against Baht buses. Visited the temple again very busy and had to pay a farang fee to enter the actual temple don't remember doing that last time. Then it was on to the waterfall Mae Sae. It is an easy walk to all 10 levels but the falls are not so special after the others at Doi Inthanon. We visited Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens a little further on then decided to return to Chiang Mai for shopping and temples.

    Next day we visited Bo Sang and San Khanpheang did some shopping at the arts and craft village Bo Sang and went to the hot springs where everyone boiled their eggs (again) in the springs. You bathe here in a hot bath and let the healing power of the water take away your pains it did little for my back ache but left me smelling of sulphur for day or so.

    Next it was on to Chiang Rai province and I will post that later.

  2. #2
    Member สมาชิก Maka's Avatar
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    Just did the same kinda of trip.
    We do it as a family every Christmas and New year, however this year we decided to go early and come back home just north of Bangkok before New Year.

    Did Doi Suthep camping 2 nights, this was on the 22nd so we were the only people there...
    Then we went to Chiang Rai for 2 nights, stayed in a hotel in the center, did the usual things around there.
    Then cam back to CM, visited a friend in San Khanpheang for a night

    Then went off to
    Doi Inthanon for a night camping, Kilometer 26 turn left down a steep small lane and there is a wonderful little camping place on the right as you go up the hill, it's next to a small stream.

    Did the usual there, a bit like the OP, then headed to CM for one night in a hotel, near the night bazaar and back home...



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    hmmmm...only camped once in Thailand..Seems a bit odd to camp when accomodation can be so cheap..Did not like camping..too hot..but I guess in the mountains it would be cool..
    You can camp in any wat ..temple ..for free..or small donation ..if you ask nicely. This is where I camped on a cycling tour....Don't know why so called back packers don't?

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    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Linne's Avatar
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    why are the locals upset about baht buses ?

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    The songtels are being given sole right to drive up Doi Suthep..no private cars allowed to drive up and park.....not sure what the outcome is..

  6. #6
    R.I.P. colin244's Avatar
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    I read somewhere else it was due to over crowding by private cars so limited to public transport which makes sense.

    colin 244

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    The local traders at the temple area feel that if only baht buses are allowed up people will not be able to buy a lot of goods to take home with them, therefore depriving them of a living. There does seem to be a long standing problem with baht buses in Chiang Mai as they are the only public transport and every time anyone wants to set up an alternative proper bus routes they bring the city to a standstill. A book I read referred to them as mafia. The road in question is not really that busy except for a few days each year, its just the baht buses being greedy again.

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    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Linne's Avatar
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    ah yes the baht bus mafia reminds me of activities in Phuket

  9. #9
    Member สมาชิก Maka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tudorowen1 View Post
    hmmmm...only camped once in Thailand..Seems a bit odd to camp when accomodation can be so cheap..Did not like camping..too hot..but I guess in the mountains it would be cool..
    It's fun with kids, nice in the nature, and at this time of year yes nice and cold,....

  10. #10
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    Part 2 Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

    Traveled to Chiang Dao and thought it would be different to visit a cave, Had to rent your own guide with light, the cave system is quite hot but good. Then it was on to Ang Khang and a very dodgy drive to the top, the road is steep and full of hairpin bends but the surface is good. The campsite is at the top "The highest in Thailand" and the views from it are special a wonderful spot indeed. Carrying on from the summit there is a botanical garden in the valley which is nice but you have to return by the same route.

    Next day it was on to Mae Salong the "Chinese" town on the mountain of the same name. Drove up to the viewpoint above the town and visited some temple there again tremendous views. After that we drove down towards the main road1089 passing tea plantations one had pickers in the field and didn't mind you joining them for a photo.

    Next was Doi Tung and a visit to the Queen Mothers Lodge and gardens a nominal charge then a little farther on is a couple of chedis and more nice views.

    Golden Triangle was next and a dodgy boat trip which ended up in Laos, it would be no problem even though my passport was in the car fortunately there was no immigration and all went well, the boat was quite fast and like the cave the kids loved it.

    After that it was time to head for home (Sattahip) we stopped at the white temple just south of Chiang Rai city, which is very nice and free. They are still building more but it doesn't spoil it.

    Last night we camped at Phumi Phon dam north of Tak town nice area this too and I would like to spend some time in Tak, Kamphaeng Phet areas in the future, maybe tie them in with a visit to Sukhothai.

    The temps at night were between 6 deg c on the mountains and 14 at the Golden Triangle !8 at Tak. As to why we camped and not stayed in cheap acomm. We had 3 kids and would have needed 2 rooms. Tents give us more freedom. The kids love camping and being close to nature. This was not our main holiday as we are heading south in April so cost is also a factor. Most importantly if you had seen the views from our tent on Ang Khan you would not need to ask at all.

    The wife sorted out all the tickets and entry fees and as far as I am aware I didn't pay falang prices except at at the temple at Doi Suthep.

    David

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    R.I.P. colin244's Avatar
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    Excellent trip report DAS and we have also done the Chiang Dao bit (wifey is called Dao so had to apparantly ) we stayed in CM then CR where the hotel was called Rim Kok (after the river it sits upon I was told but the farangs staying there seemed amused by the name.

    We had the same boat trip down the Mekong by the sound of it ending up in Laos (market town on the river bank selling dodgy cigs, booze and snakes etc in bottles) but were sold an entry ticket (visa apparantly) to go ashore with a 2 hour time limit.

    A good area to explore although we did hotels not camping.

    colin 244

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    It will be nice to use hotels again, but with our kid and the wife's nephews, it's not really viable to use one room in a hotel and I wouldn't trust the two boys in their own alone so tents are easier. Yes I remember the snakes in bottles at the market but I did what I always do when I see something cruel like that, walk straight out of the shop, not stopping to look at other items, maybe one day they will stop this cruel trade.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ sumrit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAS View Post
    After this it was time to move to Doi Suthep. Visited the temple again very busy and had to pay a farang fee to enter the actual temple don't remember doing that last time.
    Last time I visited the Temple at Doi Suthep, about a year or so ago, they wanted to charge 'a farang price' for me but when I produced my Thai driving licence as ID they charged me the Thai price. I can't remember if I've had to show my licence on previous visits (about five) but I've always paid the Thai price.

    I've (almost) always paid the Thai price on production of my Thai driving licence. The only place that refused was at Wat Phra Keow in Bangkok. I think it was about six years ago and we were taking some of my wife's family who'd never been there before. They insisted I must pay 100 baht even though the Thai price was only 20 baht. My wife complained that I lived in Thailand and they were the only ones charging me the 'tourist price. She also added that I had visited there before while none of her family had. I was showing them the Temple yet had to pay more. The lady apologized and said she couldn't do anything about it, but then pointed to a sign that said 'if a Thai was taking a foreigner to visit the Temple the Thai could go in for free'. She then offered to charge me 100 baht and give all six of the family 'showing me round' a free ticket. Seven of us for 100 baht instead of the 140 baht we had been asking to pay. I just said thank you very much and gave her the 40 baht difference as a tip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAS View Post
    ....there are some cave drawings from a few thousand years ago to see .....
    What do they depict. Interesting. What was Thai society in the time of say Roman Britain? I wonder.

    Richard
    It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are

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    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ prikphet's Avatar
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    Food, no doubt

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    The paintings are dated from about 4000 to 5000 years ago and most show hunting scenes, men killing elephants and deer. I seem to remember someone had put hand prints on the wall, its not in a cave but a sort of overhang. So you could say food.

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    Thank you for your report David , enjoyed reading it , lovely part of Thailand .

  18. #18
    Member สมาชิก Maka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sumrit View Post
    Last time I visited the Temple at Doi Suthep, about a year or so ago, they wanted to charge 'a farang price' for me but when I produced my Thai driving licence as ID they charged me the Thai price. I can't remember if I've had to show my licence on previous visits (about five) but I've always paid the Thai price.

    .
    The Temple at Doi Suthep is free for Thai people, well for the last 5 years since we've been going there it has been.
    I just show them my work permit and walk in.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ sumrit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maka View Post
    The Temple at Doi Suthep is free for Thai people, well for the last 5 years since we've been going there it has been.
    It could well be Maka. My wife usually gets the tickets for everything and I just remember her coming back over to me for my licence so I didn't have to pay the 'farang' price. I just assumed there was a cheaper Thai price. I didn't realize it was free.

    We were at the entrance at the bottom at the time so maybe it was the 'lift' system they've got there that we paid for. With my back problems there was no way I'd be able to walk up to the Temple these days.

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