Chiang Mai Running Retreat
Train and relax in the wild mountains of Chiang Mai
After our successful Taiwan Training Camp last year, Gone Running has joined with Thailand Mountain Trails and The Green Race to bring you the CHIANG MAI RUNNING RETREAT.
This trip will be awesome for runners who want a:
- Challenging trail adventure on wild tribal trails;
- Jungle running weekend escape to refresh and recharge; or,
- Solid weekend of cooler-weather training for that big upcoming European race!
We offer a 2-day (Fri-Sun) or 3-day (Fri-Mon) options with 3-day trippers running an extra day in the hills around Chiang Mia plus some free time to relax and explore.
The trip has been put together by Thailand Mountain Seb of Thailand Mountain Trails, who has lived in Chiang Mai since 2013, runs Objectif TGR1 and knows the local trails like the back of his hand!
To get a flavour of the trip, please check out the photos from last year's test trip here.
Fri 30 June
- Arrive at Chiang Mai (3-star hotel with swimming pool)
- Welcome dinner and drinks
Sat 1 July
- Breakfast and hotel then transfers
- 29km trail run with 1,500m D+ (see route here)
- Thai lunch in village
- Dinner and overnight in Lahu hilltop village
Sun 2 July
- Breakfast at village
- 29km trail run with 2,100m D+ (see route here)
- Transfer back to Chiang Mai airport or hotel
Mon 3 July
- Breakfast at hotel
- Trail run around Chiang Mai - 22km and 25km options
- Afternoon free time - massage, old city, swimming pool...
- Transfer to airport
You will need to book your own flights and we recommend the following direct flights with HK Express - and booking early to avoid price increases. Current pricing is below HK$2,000 return including taxes, but will increase as more people sign up.
- OUT - Fri 30 Jun UO753 HKG-CNX 1650->18:40
- RETURN - Sun 2 or Mon 3 Jul UO754 CNX-HKG 1930->23:15
All major in-country expenses are included: hotels (twin share), meals, transfers, running nutrition, running guides (1 guide per 7-8 runners) and safety car.
The cost is HK$1,950 for the 2-day trip and HK$2,750 for the 3-day trip. To reserve your spot, please make payment here and write the following in the Special Instructions field at checkout:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport or HKID
- Phone number
- Mailing address
- Emergency contact and number
- Any dietary requests
We can refund 75% until 31 May, then 50% until 15 June, then no refund after 15 June, which reflects our committed costs up to those dates.
To maintain the pace and safety of the group, we ask that you only register if you are an intermediate trail runner or better which, as a guide, would be a sub-20 hour HK100 (or equivalent).
We recommend all runners purchase their own travel insurance.
For any questions, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
DETAILED RUNNING PROGRAMME
DAY 1 & 2 -“IN THE HMONG AND LAHU HIGH COUNTRY”
Thailand Mountain Trail has spent several years investigating the most remote mountain trails in Northern Thailand before creating TGR1, the first GR footpath of the country. Thanks to their extensive knowledge of those areas and long relationship with local people, their organisation is the only one to bring runners in those mountains. This 2-day programme will bring us to the last part of TGR1 until Chiang Dao, the highest mountain range of Thailand. We will discover a mysterious and fascinating mountain barely known to tourists.
1st DAY: WELCOME TO THE HMONG HIGH COUNTRY
We start the 1st day by tackling a remarkable, dense bamboo jungle, acting as a natural frontier between Karen country and Hmong country. While the former live in the valley, the latter live in the high country. After a long and slow climb, the village of Mong Ngo, with its bamboo houses nestling against the mountainside, appears at 1,300m above sea level. The view all around is imposing and wide. We are surrounded by an ocean of greenery until we reach the lovely village of Kio Bua Ha.
After passing this village, the route follows a magnificent river for 10 kilometers. First it’s only a stream that runs in a wild jungle, then it’s a big river alongside the famous Mae Taeng valley. After 4 kilometers, we turn left to follow another stream and come back to the jungle until it comes out at a waterfall.
On arrival at the village of Kup Kap, our overnight place, we get a wonderful and wide view over the valley of Mae Taeng. It’s a great reward after a steep 2k climb from the waterfall to reach this Lahu village located on a ridge at 1100m. We will enjoy the scenery until the end of sunset, before having dinner with a local family. We will sleep here in bamboo houses built in the purest traditional Lahu style.
TOTAL OF THE DAY: 29K & 1,500M+
2nd DAY: RUNNING OVER A SEA OF GREEN MOUNTAINS
From Kup Kap on the 2nd day the run is mountainous, and the atmosphere is more alpine. We leave the village by running a path down for 2km. The biggest challenge of the day is now waiting for us: 800m elevation gain in 2 kilometers on a steep ridge to conquer Doi Pha Sam Liam (1,650m). At the summit the reward is huge. As far as our eyes can see, we can enjoy a sea of green mountains all around.
Continuing on a ridge in a beautiful pine forest, we arrive at Doi Pakhia (1,680m) and can observe for the first time the massive mountain range of Chiang Dao. Standing out against the sky, it is the only alpine mountain in Thailand. With a profusion of lesser peaks and ridges, it is also the most imposing and beautiful one.
In the Hmong village of Pakhia, we will make a break at the foothill of the mountain range before tackling the final part. Depending on the time of the year, we go through or around the massif from south to north. Whatever the route, we will go up for another tough 700m elevation gain on a steep path. It will give us a unique opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of sheer cliffs and spectacular rock walls before going down on technical trail to the final village of Na Lao Mai
TOTAL OF THE DAY: 29K & 2,150M+
DAY 3 -“ON THE TOP OF CHIANG MAI”
This route, at the doorsteps of the city, was discovered three years ago and is one of our favorites. It has everything to please good trail runners: a long way up to the highest summit of Chiang Mai, some great running parts in jungle and open views on the valleys and mountains.
The trip leaves Chiang Mai on a trail alongside a beautiful stream. After enjoying a nice view on the city at the sunrise, we climb straight up into the forest on a wild trail. The muscles are still a bit cold when the path goes steeper. For 7k and 1,100m+, it’s a regular climb in the forest and the jungle until we reach the Hmong village of Chang Khian.
After a short break to refill water and get a local coffee, we enjoy a great way down in a bamboo jungle. The undulating path is dense and technical on some parts. In many places it is punctuated by cut or fallen bamboo tree trunks. As we emerge from the jungle, we can see the mountain ridge in a tooth shape surrounding us. At its top stands the summit of Doi Pa Klong, the objective of the day.
After a new climb and a run alongside the ridge, finally we reach the summit at 1,650m high. On the east side, the view over the valley of Chiang Mai is panoramic and imposing. On the west side, as far as we can see, it is an ocean of green mountains. We will make a break here at the top of Chiang Mai to enjoy some food and rest before the last drop.
The last part of the route leads us down to the end through a beautiful tropical forest. After having climbed 1,850m elevation gain, we let our legs recover slowly from the effort on this comfortable part. We enjoy a very nice run down to Ban Doi Pui, the final Hmong village .
TOTAL OF THE DAY: 25K & 1,850M+
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