Chiang Mai has a lot of amazing waterfalls. The best thing about this city is that you don’t have to go very far to find them. Doi Suthep National Park is the whole area just to the west of Chiang Mai. The 1600m+ mountain dominates the western skyline from the city and there are so many gems within the forests just waiting to be discovered.

The famous pilgrims trail, which leads from the bottom of the mountain to the Doi Suthep Temple can be incorporated into this hike otherwise it can be done from the National Park Camp Ground. I usually ride my motorbike to the starting point of the second part of the Pilgrims trail so that it cuts the loop a bit shorter but in my opinion the 2nd part of the Pilgrims Trail is much nicer higher up. Here is a link to where the 2nd part of the trail starts.

From the starting point you just go up the steep section of the trail and carry on until you hit the main road. From here you just keep going straight up the road until you reach the temple area. Once you have made it up to the temple there is a path that you have to take to from the back side of the temple to start the hike to the waterfalls. You go up the first stairs from the road and then it flattens out before you turn right and go up the 300+ stairs to the temple. Instead of turning right to go up the stairs you go straight towards a small shop and you’ll see a little path going straight through the shop and out the back.
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You go through here but once you are through you’ll see some stone stairs going up. Do not take these stairs. Turn right and you’ll see a small shed. You go through the shed and you’ll see the start of the path. There is some rubbish on the trail but it isn’t for long before it opens up into a beautiful forest trail. If you want to see the GPS data please follow this link to the strava data. A great app to have on your phone is one called Gaia GPSYou can download all sorts of trails and can zoom right in to see real close up views of where the trail goes. Here is the link for the Gaia GPS gpx route.
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From here there are some fallen trees that you’ll have to negotiate. One you will have to crawl under to get through. This top section is quite flat with a few small obstacles but not too bad. You’ll come to a fork in the path and here its best to go right so you can head down and to the waterfalls. If you go straight on then its a different trail and you’ll end up somewhere completely different.
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After the fork is where the path becomes steeper and it’ll start to get a lot hotter. Chiang Mai heats up a lot in the morning so its best to start this hike as early as possible. I started at 520am just as it was getting light and finished back at the start of the Pilgrims trail at 730am. You just follow the jungle trail until you start to hear the waterfall and here you can have a swim if you like, or just sit and relax and watch the waterfall and listen to nature. I thought I would get lost at this part as the trail as it isn’t clear but there are some signs pinned to trees pointing you in the right direction. Once you are past this first waterfall then it is impossible to get lost.
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The 2nd waterfall you’ll come to is quite small, around 3m tall and very good for a shower if you are feeling hot. The 3rd waterfall on the trail is the best one. A single waterfall around 6m high. The whole area is very beautiful and if you’ve decided to come early you’ll have the entire place to yourself. From here its a short downhill walk to the campsite and then a 2km walk back to the main road.
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Of course if you didn’t want to do the whole 10km loop you could just go to the campsite and hike from there to the waterfalls but I think that the higher elevations and forest is certainly worth your time.
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If you’re wanting to do this hike or have done it please comment below. I’d love to know how you went.