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

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. #1 DavidFL, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    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
    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

    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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  2. #2 DavidFL, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    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



    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
    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!

    The bungalows have aircon, TV & fridge.


    The Spring restaurant for a healthy bite to eat


    Highy recommended for a day trip from Chiang Maii
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  3. #3 DavidFL, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
    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.

    Then your on R3005

    R3005 is a beautiful winding rural back road

    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



    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
    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
  4. Back on the R3005 heading towards Huai Kaeo & after 700 metres there is the Phu Rintara Resort

    Continue along the R3005 & on the left is the old Pong Din Hot springs, but now renamed the "Doi Saked Hot Springs"

    Now under a massive renovation - there's baht to be made, perhaps a la the hugely successful Sankamphaeng Hot Springs
    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.




    does anyone know the story?
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  5. After the Hot Springs valley its back on R3005 up over a hill

    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.

    7.5 kms up the hill you can turn off to Thep Sadej waterfall

    Its only 1 kms but the road is a gem, steep narrow winding roller coaster concrete strip


    Overgrown in places


    The road ends up in a small concrete car park & off you go on steep descent, slimy steps to keep you alert

    The waterfall is small & probably a nice picnic spot at the right time of the year.

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  6. Come back out to the R4076 & continue up the mountain.

    The Pang Hai Coffee shop is a welcome rest spot



    Finish your cuppa & carry on up the 4076.

    Another 2 kms climb & take a right some more waterfalls
    The road is an other delightful country lane


    Tad Mok is the 1st waterfall beside the road


    Doi Tone Waterfall is another

    but it hardly worth the sign I thought?
    or maybe I missed something?

    The next waterfall is signposted Tab Sadet

    Clearly sign posted without any distance mentioned.....

    The trail to the waterfall is a beauty & a gorgeous hike through some nice forest.



    However it did seem to go on & on & on

    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

    and you've come in just on 3 kms from the R4076.
    Back you go again.
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  7. 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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