Huay Tung Tao is a fresh water reservoir at the foot of Doi Suthep mountain, just a few kilometers north-west of the Chiang Mai city center. The lake is used for swimming and is a well known picnic area. It’s also the starting point for an interesting hike of about 7 kilometers, which will take you to the Dtaat Mook waterfall and to a helipad with breathtaking views over the lake and beyond.
Photos of the Huay Tung Tao hike
Here are some photos that will give you an idea of what to expect during this hike. There is green jungle on the way leading up to the waterfall. Other parts of the hike are through drier forest areas and include open spaces with good viewpoints.
The starting point of this hike is near the Golden Buddha image on the west side of the Huay Tung Tao reservoir. Geo-coordinates (in decimal degrees) for the starting point are:
Here is a map of the hike.
We start near the Golden Buddha which is overlooking the Huay Tung Tao reservoir and follow the trail in anti-clock-wise direction. The first 2 kilometers are quite easy. At waypoint Y you will cross a stream and immediately turn left following the stream towards the waterfall.
The next 1.5 kilometers from waypoint Y to the waterfall you will be gradually climbing about 150 meter. The trail is shaded as you will be walking through an area with evergreen forest. The foot of the waterfall is at an elevation of about 585 meter.
The Dtaat Mook waterfall has water throughout the year, but is at its best during and just after the rainy season. It’s possible to take a shower under the spray of water. After a stop at the waterfall you take the same track back to waypoint W where you turn right and cross the stream.
The track goes slowly up again until you reach waypoint T, which is a T-junction where you will have to turn right to go to the helipad. (Another option is to turn left here and go down back to the lake.). The way up is a rather steep climb. It is the toughest part of the hike as the trail is quite steep and rough with a lot of branches and bamboo leaves poking your eyes. Over a distance of 1 kilometer you will have to climb about 225 meter to reach the highest point of this hike, which is at an elevation of 775 meters.
When you reach the top of this steep slope, you have reached the highest point of the hike (elevation 775 meters). Turn left here to go to the Helipad. (There is also a trail to the right which will take you to a lychee orchard.) It’s about 500 meters to reach the helipad. The track descends slowly and the Helipad is at an elevation of about 690 meter.
The Helipad is an excellent viewpoint. On clear days you can see all the way to Chiang Dao mountain. After enjoying the view you will follow the track down. This is a long and steep descend through rather dry deciduous forest. In the dry season you may find that part of the undergrowth is burned during one of the many forest fires. From the Helipad you will descend 340 meter over a distance of 1.6 kilometers and reach the dam of the Huay Tung Tao reservoir, which is at an elevation of 355 m. Turning left will lead you back to the place where you started the hike.
The entire hike is just over 7 kilometers long. From the start at the Golden Buddha it takes you 415 meter higher up the mountain to an elevation of about 775 meter. Depending on your speed and how long you rest at waterfall and helipad, the hike will take about 3 hours.
Download the tracks
With the following links you can download the hike. The .kml (keyhole markup language) and .kmz files can be opened in Google Earth. The .gpx file can probably be used in your GPS device.
To download a file, right-click the link and then save it to your computer.
KML: huay_tung_tao_circular_hike_with_waterfall_and_helipad.kml (68,829 bytes)
KMZ: huay_tung_tao_circular_hike_with_waterfall_and_helipad.kmz (15,639 bytes)
GPX: huay_tung_tao_circular_hike_with_waterfall_and_helipad.gpx (112,003 bytes)
How to get there?
From the north-west corner of the Old City take Huai Kaeo Road (Road 1004) until after 2.2 km you reach the irrigation canal.
Turn right and follow the canal road (Road 121) for about 6.7 km.
Turn left (Huay Tung Tao is indicated).
Follow this road (about 2 km) and pay 20 Baht entrance fee. At the T-junction turn left.
Follow this road along the lake for about 1.2 km and park near the Golden Buddha.
Total distance from the north-west corner of the old city to the Golden Buddha at Huay Tung Tao is about 12 km.
See the blue line on the map below (red is the hike):