Mountain Biking Trails in Chonburi
For years I have been zooming in and out of Google Earth looking for mountain biking trails in Chonburi. Not only is it just an hour from Bangkok but looking on Google there are several mountains and conservation areas with the largest forested area being Khao Kheow. Frustratingly though after several visits we could only find the odd trail that tended to skirt around the forest interior and didn’t really warrant repeat trips as in Khao Mai Keaw, the more well know mountain biking area in Chonburi.
Recently though a friend living in Chonburi was told about a mountain biking trail on the North side of Khao Kheow so we decided to check it out, despite temperatures nearing 40 degrees in April. The parking area at the start of the trail is only an hour from Eastern Bangkok which makes it very convenient for those living in the capitol, and the scenery upon arriving was fantastic with the wooded hills looming in the background and several small lakes completing the scene. There were also several restaurants in the area which allowed us to stock up on supplies before riding off.
We bumped into a local mountain biker just before we set off who explained that there were 3 trails, 4km, 10km and 17km in length so we thought we would check out the 4km trail just to get a feel for the place. The trail from the car park led immediately up into the woods and consisted of well worn single track that despite few markings was easy enough to follow. The track criss/crossed in several places leading to some confusion but we continued to follow our new guide who led us around. The trail is quite technical and my friend with his 29″ wheels struggled getting it around the many tight twists and turns through the trees. The 4km covers a very small area as it switches back on itself time and again so we were never more than a few minutes away from the cars.
When we finished the small loop we took a quick break and stocked up again on water and then headed off to look for the 10km trail. Upon heading up towards the trees, instead of cycling in the woods we veered towards the left and through an open area skirting one of the more picturesque lakes before heading up a hill on what was again well maintained single track. From what we were told a local spends a lot of time maintaining the trails, and apparently is very protective of letting motocross bikers use the trails which would inevitably end up ruining them for mountain bikers. We could not stop taking pictures of the trail so our guide no doubt lost patience with us and wanted to get away, so we said our goodbyes to our new friend and continued on our way. Even though there were signs of sorts, we couldn’t really understand their meaning so we did end up backtracking a little bit. Sections of the trail were really steep too so we had to push quite a bit, despite this the downhill sections were fast and fun if a little short but overall we had great fun exploring.
After we returned to the cars we still had some energy left so we rode our bikes up the paved road further into the interior of the mountains. We continued to cycle past a nice reservoir and through some farms on single/double track curious to know whether it was possible to cross the entire mountain range and come out on the other side of Khao Kheow. If you look on Google earth you can see in the area a straight line that almost looks like a road but this is in fact where they dug a line to put in power cables some time ago. The forest has completely grown back now and so after 2 hours of painfully slow progress which culminated in us carrying our bikes on our shoulders up a dry riverbed whilst trying to hack away the vegetation blocking our way we made the wise decision to turn back and call it a day.
All in all it was a good day out and I am keen to find the 17km trail we were told about, there was clearly a lot more to explore so I would recommend it to anyone looking for mountain biking trails in Chonburi.
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