Amazing Hikes of Chiang Mai Part 2 – Doi Sam Liam

Amazing Hikes of Chiang Mai Part 2 – Doi Sam Liam

With the temperatures dropping this December it was time to take advantage of the glorious weather in Chiang Mai and don the hiking boots for another day in the mountains.  During a recent rafting trip with 8Adventures we were told about a pyramid peak called Doi Sam Liam (ดอยสามเหลี่ยม) with 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding countryside above the Mae Teang valley and with our appetites suitably wetted we decided that this would be our next target.

We set off on our motorbikes from Chiang Mai city and drove an hour north on the 107 highway to Mae Teang before turning off onto the 3052 which follows the Teang river east, passing the numerous elephant camps and rafting operators which dot this pretty valley.  After a quick bite to eat we drove a short way up the mountain along a bumpy dirt road towards a Lahu village called Huay Koob Kub (ห้วยกุ๊ บกั๊บ) before parking the bikes to begin the hike to the summit.  The village itself is worth a few minutes of your time to wander around, it has some stunning views to the north and south as it straddles a mountain ridge high above the valley floor.  There is a convenience shop if you need to stock up on drinks and snacks but it is quite basic so don’t expect much in the way of food.  There is also a homestay for those wishing to stay the night, we were told by a villager it is 500 THB per person / night.

From the village we headed north along a narrow dirt trail that eventually went from a dual track to single track as it followed the ridgeline through the village farms and eventually into the forest getting steeper and steeper as we went.  The forest was a mixture of pine and deciduous trees which was fantastic for walking through and almost felt like walking in the Swiss alps.  There were plenty of burnt trees in the area, a sign the area suffers from the burning season from April to June.  It was also quite noticeable there was a complete lack of wildlife, again perhaps due to the effects of burning every year.  Despite this spirits were high as we continued the climb up.

Chiang Mai Hiking

After about 90 minutes we started to reach a plateau and could glimpse the summit of Doi Sam Liam through the trees.  We needed to descend slightly and follow the ridge around before the final scramble to the top and after 2 hours from the village we reached the top at 1680m and were greeted by an incredible sight and as per what we were told, impeded 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, the top of Chiang Dao was even visible in the distance looming over every other summit.

Hiking in Chiang Mai

We relaxed on the summit for 30 minutes, taking in the views, taking photos and drone video before following the exact same route down.  As we started the hike after lunch the sun was setting so we had to rush down to make it before dark.  Overall it was a fantastic hike with breathtaking scenery, as most mountains are covered in trees its unusual to have such unimpeded views from such a vantage point and so we marked the end of a successful hike with dinner in Mae Teang before heading back to Chiang Mai.

Things to Know

In total from start to finish the hike was 4 hours going at a fair pace, if you attempt the hike to Doi Sam Liam give yourself 5 hours to walk at a relaxed pace and to spend more time on the summit.  It is possible to take a guided tour with Thai Eco Solutions so contact us for more information about this option, the hike can also be combined with another activity with 8Adventures such as rafting or quad biking.  There are no signs or markers anywhere along the trail so if you’re unsure then we recommend this option rather than going it alone.  The hike was 12km in total and not to strenuous, there is some scrambling over large boulders towards the top but nothing technical.  The elevation gain was 743m.

Doi Sam Liam