Trail Running in Thailand

Trail Running in Thailand

  • Posted by: ASA Admin
  • June 29th, 2016
  • Categories: Land Sports

Trail running in Thailand

Trail running, which consists of running and hiking over trails rather than roads or running tracks has been growing in popularity all over the world in the last few years and more recently, trail running in Thailand has been becoming a popular activity thanks to an abundance of well-trodden trails and spectacular scenery.  There are also growing numbers of organized trail running races and it is easy to find a Facebook group catering towards the casual or competitive trail runner.    The increase in popularity of trail running is reflected in the increase in participation of triathlons and adventure racing during the last decade or so and the growing awareness of the environment can also be attributed to the growing popularity of trail running.

What Are The Benefits of Trail Running?

Trail running benefits you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  The feeling of running through a quiet forest or across a mountain pass cannot be matched by running in urban areas and is part of the reason for the rising popularity of trail running.  Running on roads is notoriously hard on your knees, shins and ankles because of the force being transmitted from the surface through your body.  Because trails are generally softer there is more give and thus less force being transmitted.

Trail running provides a break for many peoples every day routines and a release from stress from work, noise from traffic and congested urban areas.  The time spent in nature provides a spiritual connection when you feel part of nature.

Then there are the health benefits.  Varying terrain can provide a solid workout for a number of muscle groups and by the very nature of trails this is always changing.  Start slow however, a trail doesn’t have to be the side of a mountain, it can be any off road trail and once you start conditioning your muscles and improving cardio ability you can progress to more challenging trails.

Where to go Trail Running in Thailand?


Trail running is popular in a number of areas, generally where expats are concentrated such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket and although the sport is becoming popular with Thai’s, the majority of online groups will be moderated by Westerners.  You would think in a city is urbanized and flat as Bangkok that it wouldn’t be possible but just an hour and 30 minutes away there are some hills in Chonburi province which serves as the base for trail running enthusiasts based in Bangkok or Pattaya.  These trails were first created by motobikers, followed by mountain bikers and are now popular among trail runners in Thailand.

Khao Mai Keaw is one such example of a great trail used by runners, located just South of Khao Kheow, Khao Mai Keaw is a small cluster of hills consisting of forest, farmland and undulating terrain between 10km – 20km in length.  If you can’t escape the city Club 11 is a 3km off road trail located in Ladprao and although geared towards mountain bikers it is also popular for trail runners who want to squeeze in a few laps before work or on weekends.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is perhaps the home of trail running in Thailand thanks to endless mountain ranges and off road trails, this province will keep trail running fans busy for years!  There are to many trails to list but the centre of the trail running scene is Doi Pui Suthep National Park, which overlooks the city.  Thanks to the proximity of this mountain, trail runners can leave the comfort of their homes and be on the trail in no time and with dozens of single track and double track trails crisscrossing the mountain there is plenty to choose from.   For the fitter runners you can gain 1300m from the city to the summit and despite no summit views because of the forest, there are plenty of stunning vistas on the way to the top.

The area between Huay Tung Tao lake and Mae Rim is also popular for runners.  The trail is only several km long and with no real climbs this is a good option if you are strapped for time and if you are new to the sport.  Again the trail is used by bikers so just be aware of other trail users.  Bare in mind if you are visiting Chiang Mai between February to May there will likely be smog issues due to forest burning so it is advisable not to over exert yourself during this time of year.


If you’re looking to do trail running and more in Chiang Mai, Fresh Start Fitness and Weight Loss Boot Camp incorporates trail running into their numerous packages for guests.


Phuket has a mountainous interior which makes for good trail running.  The Phuket Hash House Harriers is a running group based in Phuket organizing weekly runs that take place every Saturday.  This popular club welcomes people of all ages to join and aside from the running is a great place to meet people and socialize after the run.  Runs take place all over the island, from mountainous jungles such as Kalim hill to stunning headlands with ocean vistas such as the trail at Patong headland.

Where Can I Find Out More About Trail Running in Thailand?

There are various Facebook groups which is perhaps the best place to find a community of like minded individuals looking for information on trail running. Trail Running – Thailand is one such group with over 2000 members as of July 2016.  There is a Facebook page dedicated to trail running in Chiang Mai called Chiangmai Trail Running and a popular Thai language page, check out 4Trails Thailand.