Chiang Mai, Thailand

Doi Suthep–Pui National Park

Creative Commons License: JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/)

Runners looking for a scenic but serious hill challenge in Chiang Mai head to Doi Suthep–Pui National Park. At the summit of the park is Doi Suthep, a large Buddhist temple that can be seen from the city. From the entrance of the park, it’s 11 km one-way, climbing 650m, with grades of 6-8%. Add the heat factor, and this run is not for the squeamish. Start the run at the park entrance near the Chiang Mai Zoo. The route is along the main park road, Route 1004, which has a decent shoulder. Of course you could also take a can to the Temple and run down. A few options here:

Route 1004. Google Street View

Shorter Route: Run 5 km to Pha Lat Temple and turn around. 300m climb, less steep.

Long Option to Doi Suthep: 10.7 km one-way, 650m gain. Continue along the road from Pha Lat for another 6 km to Doi Suthep , continuing to climb. There are numerous viewpoints along the way.

Short Option to Doi Suthep: 6.5 km one-way, 600m gain. Get off the Route 1004 at Pha Lat and take the forest trail (Wat Sakithaka To Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Off Road Hiking Way). This saves ~4.5 km but has more challenging footing and is steeper.

At the summit, you’ll be rewarded by the site of the magnificent temple (runners should wear appropriate clothing). You can run the return (perhaps using the shorter option) or take a red car back down. Those who are particularly ambitious can continue along the road. It’s another 5.5 km to Bhubing Palace.

Essentials
  • Up to 11 km (6.7 miles) one-way using the longer route. Shorter but more challenging option is 6.5 km one-way. Another option is to run 5 km to Pha Lat
  • 600-650m (1190-2150 feet) gain, grades 6-8%. A serious challenge
  • Near Chiang Mai Zoo