A long time ago, a relic from the Buddha—a bone from his shoulder that held magical powers—was buried deep in a sacred temple perched atop a mountain. The temple of Doi Suthep and the legend of its relic attract thousands of visitors every day, though on this trip, you’ll embark on a pilgrimage of your own to find other treasures hidden amongst the stillness of the mountains, the sanctity of the forests and the thrill of exploring what’s around the bend.
From the bustling city of Chiang Mai to the bucolic hills of Huai Nam Dang National Park to the summit of Thailand’s highest peak, get ready for an adventure that is every bit as sacred as the temples you’ll visit along the way. This expertly crafted itinerary connects well-known mountain bike trails with century-old footpaths and long-forgotten trade routes, rediscovered by meticulously scouring maps, speaking with local tribesmen and searching with pickax and machete in hand, Indiana Jones-style, for singletrack gold.
Luckily for you, after all that adventuring, you’ll feast on mouth-watering Thai cuisine, soak in natural hot springs, relax with legendary Thai massages and stay in serene accommodations. You’re in the ‘Land of Smiles’, after all, and every day will have you grinning from ear to ear.
Is This Ride For You?
You love a mix of different types of riding; from tight, windy singletrack to fast and steep downhill trails to adventurous backcountry doubletrack. You’re up for a few challenging climbs along the way if it means being rewarded with incredible views and long, thrilling descents. Elevation won’t be much of a factor on this trip; the highest peak we’ll reach is 2200m/7200ft, and we’ll be pointing our bikes down from there. You love travelling to experience a new culture, to see a different way of life and to get out of your comfort zone. Most of the trails we access throughout this trip are in very remote areas, accessible only by rugged fire roads and jeep tracks in various states of disrepair. Not for the faint of heart! Our vehicles can handle it, but can you?
DAY 1. Arrive in Chiang Mai
Welcome to Thailand! We’ll meet you at Chiang Mai International Airport and transfer you to our hotel in the old town. We’ll build our bikes and in the evening, we’ll enjoy an assortment of Thai cuisine for dinner.
If possible, it is advisable to arrive a day or two early in Chiang Mai to properly adjust to the time difference. Spend some time strolling around the old temples and markets, and rid yourself of any jet lag after the long flight with a traditional Thai massage.
DAY 2. Into the Mountains
After breakfast, we’ll review the week’s itinerary and then embark on a 2‑hour drive to the Mae Lao — Mae Sae wildlife conservation area.
We’ll start with an easy and scenic morning ride; a mix of fire roads and natural singletrack, and have a tasty lunch at a local restaurant.
The afternoon ride will be a long, thrilling descent mostly on singletrack. We’ll enjoy dinner at a favourite restaurant near the end of the trail, before heading to our simple yet wonderful bungalows for the night, located on the mountain top of Huai Nam Dang National Park.
DAY 3. The Sea of Mist
Set your alarm for sunrise; you won’t want to miss the spectacular show. Waking up above the clouds the locals refer to as “The Sea of Mist” is a sight to behold.
After breakfast, we’ll shuttle deep into the Huai Nam Dang National Park to embark on an epic ride: a fun roller coaster of natural singletrack. We’ll call in at a remote hill tribe settlement on the way to a well-deserved lunch. Time and lungs permitting, a shuttle and short ride, mostly downhill, can be added in the afternoon.
We’ll transfer to Pai, a lovely hip town best known for its street markets, health spas and bohemian atmosphere, and we’ll check into our beautiful glamping resort for the night.
DAY 4. Tracks of Pai
Today we’re at a more relaxed pace. After breakfast, we’ll transfer a short distance outside Pai for a remarkably scenic ride through the wide-open countryside.
Enjoy beautiful panoramic views before descending a super flowy trail through the forest that will take us all the way to the outskirts of Pai. From there we ride back into town for lunch.
In the afternoon, we’ll start heading back to Chiang Mai. Along the way we’ll stop for another short, roller coaster ride in the Mae Lao — Mae Sae Preserve.
Day 5. Chiang Mai Vistas By Day and Night
Today we’ll transfer to the San Kuu ruins high up on Doi Pui, and pedal up to the summit.
We’ll ride two trails in the area: the short but very technical north ridge and the trail leading west. After a late lunch, we’ll visit Wat Doi Suthep, a remarkable 14th-century golden temple and a must-see for anyone visiting Chiang Mai.
For the more adventurous among us, we’ll have an optional night ride down Doi Suthep Mountain! We’ll strap on night lights to handlebars and helmets (provided by us), and take an easy but fun trail down, mostly on fire roads with some fun singletrack sections, with great views of Chiang Mai at night along the way.
Day 6. The Karma Trail
Well rested, we’ll transfer southwest to the Mae Wang National Park, home to Thailand’s highest peak (2565 m).
The morning ride strings together several short and punchy climbs and descents and ends with an incredible, long flowing downhill that ends at an old temple.
The afternoon ride shares the descent but we approach it from a different direction and take care of the elevation gain from the comfort of our support vehicles.
Day 7. The Roof of Thailand
Today we’ll don our trekking shoes for a challenging, strenuous 700m vertical hike through the lush forest on the north side of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest peak. We’ll arrive at a rocky outcrop and an ancient, long-forgotten stupa. Once we reach the summit at 2200m, where we’ll break for a picnic lunch to take in our surroundings.
Luckily for us, a merry band of dedicated local porters will carry our bikes up a different trail. Once reunited with our steeds, we’ll navigate our way down a spectacular trail offering breathtaking views, with an unforgettable ridge along the way.
The afternoon ride has a sizable climb, but the descent is a fast, flowing trail that ends near a unique temple with steep stairs.
Day 8 Rivers and Waterfalls
We’ll shuttle high up to a remote village, and visit the local hill tribe school. After sharing high fives with enthusiastic kinds, a shaded fire road climb and descent will lead us to a secluded farming community. It marks the start of singletrack heaven.
A short but super steep lung buster separates the two parts of the descent. The ride continues in a dried-up riverbed and then an undulating dirt road that takes us behind the national park gates. Lunch will be served in front of the spectacular Wachirathan waterfall.
The afternoon ride starts with a challenging singletrack climb that merges with (and repeats) the morning’s descent. We’ll get picked up at a scenic area just past the riverbed before transferring back to Chiang Mai.
Day 9. DH Dreaming
Today is a well deserved downhill day. We strap on (at a minimum) knee pads, double-check our brakes, and spend a day shuttling downhill runs of Doi Suthep mountain.
The natural trails here are long, steep and gnarly, but we will guide you down at a comfortable pace. Trail selection will be made depending on the trail conditions, but a typical day would include the local favourites: Gee’s House, Bamboo and ATV trail.
In the evening, we’ll revel over a delicious celebratory dinner and reflect on our adventures.
Day 10. Farewells
After breakfast and our final goodbyes, we’ll drive you to the Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) a few hours before your departure flight.