Doi 360º Ban Mae Tho, Chiang Mai
I guess not many of you have heard about Doi Mae Tho 360º.
The main reason is that.. it is newly opened. Doi Mae Tho just started to welcome all the tourists to experience its beauty not long ago!
Doi Mae Tho 360º is not far from The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho in Hot District, Chiang Mai. Therefore, if you make it to The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho, you shouldn't miss to go up to the top of Doi Mae Tho for an incredible view. This place offers such a wonderful ambiance where you can enjoy the panoramic view. The air is pure and the light wind is just nice. You can even gaze the star all over the sky at night!
To get to The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho
All vehicles are able to reach The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho. You need to use highway number 108 which passes Chom Thong District. Once you arrive in Hot District, you need to take the right turn. Then you will pass Op Luang National Park before arriving at The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho. The total distance is approximately 160 kilometers from downtown Chiang Mai (there is no public transportation to get here but you can rent a car or a motorbike from downtown Chiang Mai).
- Room at The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho - 150 THB per person
- Renting a tent - 150 THB per tent, sleeping pad 30 THB, and sleeping bag 30 THB
- Sherpas service - 300 THB (in case you have many belongings)
- 4WD private service - 1,000 THB for a round-trup from The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho
- Meals at The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho - 80 THB per person for breakfast, 100 THB per person for lunch, and 150 THB per person for dinner
- The only mobile phone signal that works here is AIS
Please contact The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho for more information, call 088-4344902
Getting ready before going up to Doi 360º
3 PM: The journey from The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho to Doi 360º gets started. We contact The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho to go up to Doi 360º. We rent a tent (can accommodate up to 4 people) at 150 THB, a sleeping pad (30THB), and a sleeping bag (30THB). Apart from these, you must not forget to prepare foods before going up to the top of the mountain either.
To get to the top of Doi 360º from The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho, you need to be led by a local tour guide only because it is newly opened and the local tour guides know the trail best. The tour guide will take care of you the entire trip including giving you all suggestions while getting up there. You can reserve this service in advance with The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho. The road to get to Doi 360º is pretty tough since it is unpaved, steep, and along the slope of the mountains. That's why it is required a car such 4WD as an example (contact The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho for a round-trip 4WD service which is 1,000 THB). However, we will use motorbikes this time and we ride them to the campsite.
It is about 9 kilometers to get to the campsite from The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho. You need to be very careful while riding on this road, as it is not in a good condition. The road is also along the mountain slope so if you miss the turn you may fall down the mountain.
Our local tour guide rides a motorbike in front of us to lead the way. After a journey of 4 kilometers, we have arrived at the first stop, grassland savanna. Grassland savanna is a mountain covered by grasses and their flowers. You can view everything from all angles here. It is also a good time for a short break so my ass can rest as well. My ass is hurting as the road is completely rough..
This is the atmosphere at grassland savanna where the area is widely opened and you can see everything around you. Even though it is late in the afternoon, I still feel refreshing up here.
Then we continue our ride for another 3.6 kilometers before reaching our campsite. For those who would like to hike to the top of Doi 360º, you can camp here. It is approximately 2.3 kilometers from here to the top of the mountain. You can whether hike up in the morning for the sunrise or in the afternoon for the sunset as you like..
This is the general view of the campsite. There is also a campfire here where you can cook.
The green net on the left-hand side in the photo below is a simple toilet. There is no proper modern one up here. Anyway, it is going well with the adventurous atmosphere.
It is time to hike up Doi 360º!
"Time waits for no man".. We park our motorbikes and start to follow our tour guide into the forest. We need to make up sometimes because we would like to reach the top before the sunset. The trail is pretty steep so you should be fit and don't forget to bring some water along too!
Some parts of the trail are steep while some are not. There is also a narrow path where both sides of it are sloped down so you will feel as if you were walking on a dragon's back.
The trail continues to be higher and higher up and the surroundings are getting more and more beautiful so we stop along the way for a photo shot.
Almost 45 minutes, I see a shadow of a high mountain with no tree. It looks similar to a shadow of one side of a pyramid in 45 degree. We are almost there, we are almost at the top of the mountain.
There is a Thai flag at the top of Doi 360º. I can see the flag flying in the wind from far away and we have made it to the top right before the sunset.
The atmosphere up here is totally nice. It also offers a 360-degree panoramic view of mountains, one after another.
We have walked to the top. We rest for a bit while looking back at the trail we were on.
Even though the walk is a bit tiring, the view you have got up here from all angles will blow your tiredness away.
Before the sunset,.. it is time to admire the nature surrounding us. The view of mountains, a 360-degree panoramic view you have got, everything is truly peaceful. I can only hear the cold wind that hits my body.
After enjoying the view and the nature for a while, it is time for the sun to say goodbye to the day…
The space up here is limited. Hence, you need to be careful while standing and looking for a spot to capture the memorable moment.
The sun is gone. The darkness takes over together with the cold.
Once the sky is getting dark. We start to see the stars and the moon up in the sky.
Camping, Stargazing, and Campfire Party
6 PM: Before it is getting very late.. our tour guide starts to lead us back down to the campsite. I have got to tell you that everything is in the dark, I can barely see the path. Only two flashlights we have that light up the way. This is the time I learn that we would get lost if we are here on our own because all the paths look the same. It is totally difficult to know the direction in the darkness. That's why.. a local tour guide is necessary. Local tour guides know the trail best and they can give us all the important suggestions throughout the trip. We walk quite fast on the way down even we fall down for a few times as the path is steep and it is dark. You need to be very careful because you may fall down the mountain in some parts of the trail. Lastly, we have finally made it back down to the campsite and will set up the tents right away.
The tent is up and it is time to recall those skills learned when we were the Boy Scout. We need to make a campfire and cook with a hand of our tour guide who takes care of everything so well.
Simple menus are served tonight such as instant noodle, boiled eggs, and grilled pork. They are all simple but just perfect for the moment like this.
Our tour guide uses the wooden sticks found nearby to skewer the marinated pork.
Then he grills the pork on the light fire before it starts to give a good smell. The smell is kind of a good appetite..
We are the only group of people camping here tonight. This gives such a good level of privacy and we can truly enjoy the peaceful ambiance all for ourselves. We can only hear the wind. Moreover, the sky is full with the stars and we can see them clearly since there is no household light. We enjoy our dinner by the campfire while talking and sharing our stories.. Then we go to sleep once it is getting late. So another day of travel experience has noted down in memory!
Remarks: I would like to thank all the staff at The Royal Project Foundation Mae Tho who have assisted us throughout the trip especially P' Chat, Nong King and last but not least Nong Go who is our tour guide leading us to the top of Doi 360º and prepared a special meal for us!
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