Sankamphaeng - Mae On - Mae Kampong - Huai Kaeo Pottering Around

DavidFL

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To the east of Chiang Mai - the valley runs out & up into the hills & mountains of the Jaeson National Park.

There's a magic road
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Route 1252 running through Jaeson national park & it has featured on GTR here before
The NEW 1252, A Great New Loop

R1252 sort of runs from N-W to S-E from R118 the Chiang Rai highway to link up with R1035 the Lampang - Wang Nua highway.
But you can also get onto R1252 from the Sankamphaeng - Mae On - Huai Kaeo area on a couple of roads.
These areas are renowned for their community forests & strong conservation practices + coffee.
The forests are superb, there are abundant waterfalls, plus loads of coffee shops to tempt you.
Chuck in a few ziplines for tourists & it is a extremely popular day trip from Chiang Mai.
You can easily spend all day (& another) out here riding on steep winding roads & in some magnificent forest.

Its only 40-45 kms to the foothills & you are in a magic environment.
The quickest way out is via R1317 the airport - Sankamphaeng highway.
And it's generally flat all the way out to the hot springs
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You may well be focussed on the road ahead plus your destination of the hot springs or the hills of Mae Kampong & not notice a sign for Wat Doi Photiyan in Mae On.
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Wat Doi Photiyan is a stunning beauty & well worth a little side trip to check it out.
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Its only 1.5 kms from the turn off & the road is good all the way.

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A couple of Buddhas along the way
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Wat Doi Photiyan
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The main chapel
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The pillars of Wat Photiyan have stunning murals - Tibetan style - and are very beautiful, with fine work even on a close inspection!
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Supposedly the artist hired for the work came from Lamphun

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more to come...waterfalls, forest, hot springs & coffee shops.
 
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DavidFL

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After Wat Doi Photiyan the next stop should be the hot springs.
The official Sankamphaeng Hot springs are the ones to visit for a day trip, but if you are going to stay the night & indulge yourself then the Sippa Hot Springs Resort is the one.

Sippa Hot Springs Resort - the place to stay over night
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Should you choose to spend a night at the hot springs check out these Mae On eating options
Mae On area restaurants]

The official Sankamphaeng Hot Springs
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WOW! Its a few years since I've been the main hot springs resort & what a fantastic job they have done landscaping & beautifying the place.
It really is a super spot for a family outing or a pleasant soak in the hot springs.
Plus they have a very pleasant restaurant with good food & some bungalows for an over night stay.

The hot springs gardens
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the bathing stream to soak your feet in - extremely popular
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Loads of shade to sit under
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The big hot pool for boiling eggs
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Then if you are tired of it all, kick back & get a nice massage
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or take a swim in the under cover pool
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If you need some privacy there bungalows for 300 baht an hour = the top value IMHO - well worth it. Go for it!
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The bungalows have aircon, TV & fridge.
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The Spring restaurant for a healthy bite to eat
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Highy recommended for a day trip from Chiang Maii
 
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DavidFL

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If you come from the "Other end" off R118 at Pong Din you are on R3005 which runs across to connect with R1317 the airport - Sankamphaeng - Mae On - Huai Kaeo road.
The route # change over occurs in Huai Kaeo village, at the turn off to Mae Kampong.

The turn off is 25 kms out from the outer ring road.
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Then your on R3005
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R3005 is a beautiful winding rural back road
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Just 1 kms along R3005 there is a turn of to the right to the Dong Yen arboretum.
It's worth a look, beautiful trees

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On the cway in here I made a wring turn & ended up on a private property.
It was a sprawling property with magnificent Japanaese - Korean style building all made out of timber.
Absolutely beautiful they were, but before I could rattle off a few snaps I was politely asked to leave & not take any photos.
But I wonder what the hell is going on there.

A snap of a "tree house" & the tennis court on the way out
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If you look closely on the right, you can just see part of one of the magnificent buildings.


more to come pottering around Huai Kaeo - Mae Kampong
 
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DavidFL

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Back on the R3005 heading towards Huai Kaeo & after 700 metres there is the Phu Rintara Resort
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Continue along the R3005 & on the left is the old Pong Din Hot springs, but now renamed the "Doi Saked Hot Springs"
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Now under a massive renovation - there's baht to be made, perhaps a la the hugely successful Sankamphaeng Hot Springs
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getting ready for cold & high season maybe.

Another 800 metres along R3005 is the "seemingly abandoned" Hot Springs Valley housing estate. Its always been a mystery to me. Beautiful location & grounds, but failed with just one or two occupied houses.
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does anyone know the story?
 

DavidFL

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After the Hot Springs valley its back on R3005 up over a hill
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and take a left onto R4076 , the Pang Hai road.

The Pang Hai road steeply climbs into the mountains & some really nice forested hill country.
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7.5 kms up the hill you can turn off to Thep Sadej waterfall
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Its only 1 kms but the road is a gem, steep narrow winding roller coaster concrete strip
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Overgrown in places
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The road ends up in a small concrete car park & off you go on steep descent, slimy steps to keep you alert
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The waterfall is small & probably a nice picnic spot at the right time of the year.
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.
 

DavidFL

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Come back out to the R4076 & continue up the mountain.
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The Pang Hai Coffee shop is a welcome rest spot
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Finish your cuppa & carry on up the 4076.
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Another 2 kms climb & take a right some more waterfalls
The road is an other delightful country lane
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Tad Mok is the 1st waterfall beside the road
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Doi Tone Waterfall is another
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but it hardly worth the sign I thought?
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or maybe I missed something?

The next waterfall is signposted Tab Sadet
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Clearly sign posted without any distance mentioned.....

The trail to the waterfall is a beauty & a gorgeous hike through some nice forest.
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However it did seem to go on & on & on
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such that eventually I gave up with my gammy knee playing up.
Oh well lets hope someone else who enjoys nature wants to take a nice ride have a go.

Eventually the little road runs out in a village somewhere near the top
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and you've come in just on 3 kms from the R4076.
Back you go again.
 

DavidFL

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Back on the 4076 & light rain starts falling & its time to bail out of ascending.

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Pass through Pang Hai once more & it seems easier noting the abundance of coffee shops, confirmation that the area is very productive or coffee
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A full retreat to the R3005 & make another left to head towards Mae On / Sankamphaeng.
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It's only 4.7 kms to the Huai Kaeo junction & the Mae Kampong road R40174
You turn left onto R4074 & it goes up into he hills just like R4076.
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The Mae Kampong area is famous as a Community Based Tourism Centre with numerous activities & natural attractions
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4.1 kms up the hill is the renowned Tharn Thong Lodge
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The Tharn Thong Lodge is probably the oldest resort / accommodation in the area.
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Tharn Thong has big spacious grounds
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and several types of bungalows for accommodation
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there's also a large comfy restaurant
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Across the street from Tharn Thong is the I Garden Coffee
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4,4 kms further on up & over the big hill is the funky ramshackle Sawang Kata Coffee

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confirmation of the amount of coffee grown plus Thai entrepreneurial spirit, making something out of nothing.
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but the Sawang Kata has a nice location beside a stream & a small weir.
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