Camping Phayao & Chai Prakarn

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by ianyonok, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. My friend Khun Odd in Chiang Rai had finished repainting the petrol tank for my 1959 Thunderbird. I had painted the tank myself last time, about 18 years ago, but for the last few years it had ugly cracks in the finish. He'd done a great job and it looks like new again.
    He has one of the few bike frame straightening jigs in the country.

    The bike was now loaded up and ready for a couple of days out camping. 2 x 21ltr panniers (shelter & sleeping set one side, food and cooking gear the other side), a 20 ltr Ocean bag with clothes etc, folding camping chair plus a little leather tank bag for maps and drinks.
    Too much gear though. Need to reduce this next trip.
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    I rode smaller roads down through Chiang Rai to Pu Kaeng Waterfall, just south of Phan and west of highway 1.
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    A lovely waterfall out in the jungle
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    I hiked up to the 8th and top level to get some exercise.  2016-10-19 14.12.47.jpg /Camping Phayao & Chai Prakarn/Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum/  - Image by:  "ianyonok" at GT-Rider Motorcycle Forums

    Then rode south a bit further down to Mae Chai, about 25klms north of Phayao, then turned east out to the Mae Puem reservoir and National Park.
    I paid 100 Baht to stay the night and found a good spot to sling the hammock with views across the water. I used the smaller standard rain flysheet for this trip, as rainy season is pretty well over.
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    Love the camping chair and it packs up fairly small.
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    Cooking dinner with a view....
    I tried a spinach and cheese pasta, microwavable take away from Lotus, resting on 2 sticks while being steamed warm. Actually it didn't work that well. I had only taken the packet out of the freezer that morning and it had kept quite cold. Also the pack was about 8" long and my billycan is only 4 1/2" diameter. Next time I'll buy the smaller round quick meal packs.
    Sleep was difficult as usual in the hammock, but I managed about 4 or 5 hours which was enough. Next morning headed south and past Phayao, then west on the fast twisty 120. Tarn Tong waterfall, eastern side, was in flow. This dries up for about 8 months of the year.
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    I continued west on the 120 to the 118 at Mae Kachan and then up to Wiang Papao before turning west again on the 1150 to Phrao.
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    It had been a few years since I'd been here and had forgotten just how good the 1150 is.
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    Some pretty remote villages along the way. This one, Bahn Pa Yueng, was way down in the valley off the road. Doubt they get many visitors..
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    This is just part of the road....
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    After dropping down into the Phrao valley, headed north on the favourite 1346, through the Sri Lanna National Park to Chai Prakarn. Took the turnoff east down 5klm of dirt road to the Doi Wiang Pa National Park. Got soaked in a short heavy rain shower just before I got there. The bike has 2 x 19" wheels and Dunlop K70 blocky tyres, so it does OK offroad and in the mud.
    Set the hammock up on the edge of a clearing, away from the lights of the Park buildings.
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    This is a Hennessy assymetric hammock and is sewn so you can lie a little across it and reasonably flat. The rain fly clips on the ridge line so it's easy to set up.
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    There is a sliding pocket inside on the ridge line, for phone and light, or whatever.
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    I had splashed out and bought a lovely Sea to Summit sleeping bag and one of their inflatable mattresses. With an Exped inflatable pillow it is reasonably comfortable, but still an odd concept, sleeping in a hanging nylon bag...
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    The micro cooker set is tiny and light, only $20 for the set. Unfortunately I ran out gas, but cans are available at Tesco Lotus. Seems a can would last about 5 days, if cooking twice a day. The firesteel is a neat gadget and produces a spark even when wet.
    The Sawyer mini water filter, as recommended by rcm273, is fantastic. Makes clean water from anywhere, instantly. I now carry a 1 litre and a half litre plastic water bottle and just fill them up as needed, as I go. Works a treat.
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    The Sea to Summit pocket towel is very useful too. Tiny thing, but good enough as a shower towel and dries out quickly. It's hanging on the hammock ridge line on the right.
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    Next morning I went on the Nature Trail hike.
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    The rangers said I must take a guide, so Khun Chiang came with me and he was great. He had worked there 20 years and knows the park well.
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    These crab like insects were gathered to suck the juice out of this one plant, the day after the rain.
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    Beautiful yellow and black spider... terrible photo...
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    Banana pod orchids
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    At the top of the doi was a small ruined chedi. It looked similar in age to old Chiang Saen, so up to around 500 years old or less.
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    The view looking west across to Chai Prakarn in the valley
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    Caterpillar moths gathered together for protection.
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    We hiked from the higher open forest and down into the thicker jungle alongside the river
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    It was at about this point when Khun Chiang said we must detour. We could see a large wasp nest hanging over the trail. So we trekked down to the river and followed that along for a while.
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    All he was carrying for a 2 hour hike was a tripod and decent camera in a bag.
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    Thicker jungle as we got lower, then came out at the waterfall.
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    One of the many strange insects..  2016-10-21 10.51.50.jpg /Camping Phayao & Chai Prakarn/Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum/  - Image by:  "ianyonok" at GT-Rider Motorcycle Forums  2016-10-21 10.52.03.jpg /Camping Phayao & Chai Prakarn/Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum/  - Image by:  "ianyonok" at GT-Rider Motorcycle Forums
    Again, I paid 100 Baht to stay the night, use the bathroom etc and gave Khun Chiang 400 Baht. It was a great little hike.

    There is a trek you can do in this national Park; a 3 day, 20 klm hike, to the top of Doi Wiang Pha (approx 1800m altitude) and back. The mountain is one of the peaks forming the border between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces. 1st day hike halfway up and camp. 2nd day hike to the summit of the mountain and camp. 3rd day hike back down and out again. There is nothing out there, so it's proper wild camping and need to carry camping & cooking gear plus food. You pay the guide 1200 Baht for 3 days and about 1500 Baht for the pickup, to take you to the trailhead and back when you return. I have no experience at this type of trek, but definately an adventure I want to do, so am now looking at lightweight rucksacks and better footwear to do this one.
    If anyone wants to join....? let me know....... but don't all rush at once... hahahaha....
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. wow Ian.....awesome!
     
  3. Thanks Goran.....
    .....does that mean you are interested in doing the 3 day hike up the mountain....?
     
  4. 3 days hiking.....gulp :eek: I love moto-camping but 3 days just hiking would be too long hehe
     
  5. That Doi Wiang Pha national park is huge, but you seldom hear much about it; so thanks for some info + the trip report.

    You guys camping really blow me away, as I've never considered any of that in all my time riding in the North - to soft & to unfit perhaps.
    Hats off to you.

    Perhaps we could start off a "Top Camping Gear" thread?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. I thought you were going to say that you had to take the cat for a haircut that day...... hahaha...
    Yes, it's a weird thing to want to do, I know. Not sure I like hiking at all, but the idea of summitting some of the mountains here really appeals, plus days of escape out in the bush...
     
  7. Camping is an odd thing to do really. Accommodation is cheap here so it's not about that. It's escapist and a bit anti-social. But if you love nature it is marvellous. Poor sleep, no fans or aircon, lots of bugs, poor internet if at all. But some of the locations are just stunning. Always cooler than in a town too.
     
  8. Great stuff Ian.

    I would be up for the hike.. It isn't only about the riding :)

    Cheers
    Brian
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Hi Brian, Fantastic. Would be quite an adventure and something different. Better to to go with someone else or a few people. I'll email you.

    David, I forgot to mention that the Doi Wiang Pha National Park has over 100 people and rangers working there. Just the Headquarters zone has over 60 people. They also have 2 large houses for groups to stay in.
    Early in the morning, a pickup truck left full of rangers with M16s, going out on anti-poaching patrol I assume.
     
  10. Have you got the GPS co'ords for the 2 campsites mentioned ?

    It would be easier to trace your routes and I'm not averse to a bit of camping myself
     
  11. Hi Lakota,
    Yes, sure;
    Doi Wiang Pha NP; 19°40'46"N 99°11'42"E
    Mae Puem NP; 19°21'05"N 99°52'11"E
    If you have any camping trip reports or tips and tricks to share, that would be great. Thanks
     
  12. Thanks Ian. It's very difficult to find these campsites. Not on any Map , OSM seems to show the tracks to them though.

    It does take some discipline to actually camp here with the abundant Cheap accomodation and lack of fairy Lights and Poo Ying
     
  13. Almost every National Park site seems to have camping available, definately the Headquarters. All the big waterfalls too. I found those 2 sites because they were marked as NP sites on the GT-Rider Chiang Rai map. Doi Wiang Pha NP is also marked on the excellent Thinknet North Thailand map and so are many other NP sites. Many also marked on Google Earth but sometimes written in Thai. Looks they are not marked on the Thailand Street GPS map.
    Know what you mean about reasons not to camp. Why would anyone do it..?
    But there are sights and wildlife to be seen in some parks, that you just won't see anywhere else. Also, in this crowded world, a little quiet and natural solitude are most satisfying sometimes.
     

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