Which area would allow me to trek to hilltribe villages via a scenic route and also enjoy some adventure activities? Thanks, Donna
There are many trekking routes in Chiang Mai. Some are short hikes near the city and take only one afternoon to complete. There are also many long treks, the most attractive of which is Doi Chiang Dao, located at the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary to the north of town. This route takes you to visit the ethnic hilltribe villages of Chiang Dao and requires a strenuous walk up the mountain ridges to the top. Every trekker must obtain a permit to enter the wildlife sanctuary area. On the way back, many trekking companies stop at Mae Tang River for whitewater rafting and to visit elephant camps.
For a more remote trek, go to Mae Hong Son's Mae Sariang and Sop Muai districts. Here, surrounded by nature, trekkers can spend a night at Lawa and Karen hilltribe villages. Again, many people end the trekking trip by heading out for a rafting trip at Mae Sam Lap and exploring the border between Thailand and Myanmar.
Another rare gem for trekkers in Chiang Mai is Doi Mon Jong in Om Koi Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in Chiang Mai’s Om Koi district, it borders Mae Sariang. The highest peak, Hua Sing, is one of be the last few places in Thailand where you can spot rhododendrons blooming in the sun during winter. This forest is home to many species of wildlife including sambar deer and barking deer. It’s a less visited district of Chiang Mai and most of its residents are ethnic Karen. To go trekking here, you need to get advance permission from Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary at the Musoe Unit.
Enjoy your trek.
I plan to stop at Nong Khai on my way to Laos to visit Phutok, a temple perched on a mountain. It's called Phutok. Can you tell me where exactly it is and the best way to get there from Nong Khai town? John T.
Phu Thok is located in Sri Wilai district of the new province called Bung Kan. This new province separated from Nong Khai in 2010 and now comprises eight districts.
The sandstone mountain surrounded by dense forest was discovered by the Buddhist monk Ajaan Juan. In 1969, he led village devotees to start building a wooden staircase around the hill and this was completed five years later. The stairs to the mountain top are divided into seven sections, and each section has its own rock formations and rest areas. Parts of the ramshackle stairs have since been renovated, but the sacred feel of the remote temple still lingers. The temple is a meditation centre and a place for religious affairs. Visitors must be calm and pay respect. The official name of the temple is Wat Chetiya Khiri.
The temple is located 185 kilometres from Nong Khai town. You need to travel to Bung Kan district on highway 212 and then turn right on to highway 222 to Sri Wilai district to reach Phu Thok. If you use public transport, catch a bus to Bung Kan first, then a song thaew to Ban Chaiporn. Another song thaew will take you to Phu Thok.