Mae Wang Loop
Table of Contents
The Mae Wang loop takes the traveler up and through the beautiful Mae Wang River valley. It starts in Sanpathong, which is about 18km away from Chiang Mai and easily accessible by road. The Mae Wang Loop is one of those loops that give the traveler a truly Thai perspective to the world and a valuable insight into their way of life.
For travelers that are planning to do this loop by motorcycles or cars, this loop is especially pleasurable because the entire route has tarred roads. The Mae Wang loop is slightly longer than the Samoeng Loop and goes through authentic sights of importance to the Thai heritage and culture.
The best way to travel the Mae Wang loop is by road. The roads around the entire loop are good and offer many breathtaking views on the way. The route also goes through many little towns and villages and will leave the traveler with an everlasting impression of the Thai identity.
The Mae Wang Loop takes the traveler through the Mae Wang National Park, beautiful temples, wildlife camps and many other interesting stops on the way. While doing the Mae Wang Loop here are a bunch of places that are points of interest on the route and must visit tourist destinations.
Mae Wang National Park
The Mae Wang National Park is a very important point of interest on the Mae Wang Loop. Most of the routes around the Mae Wang Loop border or go through the Mae Wang National Park. As the Mae Wang National Park covers the area of Pa Mae Cham, Pa Mae Khan-Mae Wang, and Pa Chomthong. The National Park is about 700 square kilometers in area.
The general terrain of the national park is quite mountainous and rocky because of the large valleys that the national park’s area amasses. And because of the rocky terrain, the national park is also home to a large number of waterfalls and rock formations which add to the grandeur of the entire national park.
The Mae Wang National Park is especially special because it houses five different types of forests within itself. The five types of forests that the national park has within itself are; mixed deciduous forest, dry dipterocarp, mixed dry dipterocarp, hill evergreen forest, and pine hill forest. The difference between these different types of forests, in some parts, are visible to the naked, untrained eye. It is the best place to get in touch with nature and is one of the most peaceful places in Thailand.
The National Park is also home to a lot of Thai wildlife and it is adviced that a local or a guide is consulted before venturing into the forested parts of the national park. The best time to visit the national park is during summer and winter because it can get quite unsafe during the monsoon in Thailand.
Mae Wang Waterfall
The Mae Wang Waterfall is a part of the Mae Wang National Park. It is a large one-step waterfall that is about 10 meters wide and 20 meters high. The waterfall is inset in a background of all the five types of forests of the national park. And is quite a sight.
The Mae Wang Waterfall, because of its height and width, is the perfect place for tourists to indulge in swimming and activities like that. The view of the waterfall is a very relaxing one and is enjoyed by many locals as well. The more adventurous travelers among us, also take up the hike to the top of the waterfall.
The Mae Wang Waterfall is neighboured by many other waterfalls that also falls in the area of the Mae Wang National Park. All the waterfalls around Mae Wang are quite closeby and can all be done in the same visit. The waterfalls near the Mae Wang Waterfall are; the Pha Moen Waterfall, the Pha Deang waterfall, the Mae Phui Waterfall, the Maeng Ang Waterfall, and the Pha Duk Deang Waterfall.
The Mae Wang waterfall is a very popular tourist destination among foreign and local tourists alike. So it has the chance of getting quite crowded during peak season. There are two ways to get to the waterfall, one is by car and the other is by hiking up to the waterfall. A lot of people split the route up to the waterfall in two parts, they bike till closeby and then walk the rest of the way to the waterfall. Beware the waterfall is quite popular among locals as well as foreign tourists and can become quite crowded during peak seasons.
Mae Wang Bamboo Rafting
One of the not to miss activities on the Mae Wang Loop is river rafting. The river rafting in the Mae Wang Loop is done on the Mae Wang River. The place where the river rafting is done is a crystal, clear and clean part of the Mae Wang River. The bamboo rafting on Mae Wang River’s crystal clear water will cure you for whatever you got and is one of the most relaxing experiences that Thailand has to offer.
The rafting experience in this part of the world is different because the rafts are not made of rubber, but bamboo. The bamboo rafts add an authentic feel to the entire experience and are very natural. The rafting can be done with and without a guide but it is advisable to do it with one for safety purposes.
The bamboo rafting activity is an activity that should not be missed out on. The rafting is a once in a lifetime experience and is very relaxing and calming. The spot gets overbooked during tourist season so be sure to make bookings before going there. And each raft can be booked at about 500 baht and each raft can take up to three people plus a guide.
Mae Wang Elephant Camp
The Mae Wang Elephant Camp is a very well subscribed to tourist destination on the Mae Wang Loop. The Mae Wang Elephant Camp allow tourists and animal enthusiasts a safe environment to interact with these gentle giants. The camp also offers informal classes on how to interact, deal and be around elephants.
The interaction with the elephants can be as extensive as the tourists feel fit. Some elephants allow you to ride them and others let tourists bathe them in the water holes and waterfalls on the property. Apart from the elephants, the camp is also known for its hikes and treks around the property which can take hours and end at a vantage point with a view. The treks require proper footwear and it is advisable to go on these trails with a guide. Though you can also go without one, it is always better to have someone with local knowledge along with you on these trails in Thailand.
The locals at the camp also cook authentic Thai food for the visitors and are very well known for its food. The Mae Wang elephant camp is a sanctuary for the elephants in the Mae Wang National Park. The camp is home to more than a hundred Asian elephants and is a very safe environment for people to interact with these historic and gentle giants. The tourists there particularly enjoy bathing the elephants, taking them around the sanctuary and also feeding the elephants their favorite plantains.
Khun Wang Royal Project
Khun Wang is a very popular tourist location among visitors of Thailand as it is famous for the world famous Cherry Blossoms. Contrary to common belief, the Sakura or the pink blossoms is not only native Japanese and is available in Thailand too. In full bloom, the sights one will see in the village are unmatched as their scenic beauty and the sheer look is awe striking. The best time to visit this place is in January or any of the Thai spring months as the trees bear the most blossoms at this time.
Khun Wang is also home to the Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Research Centre. Once a wide expanse of land used to grow opium, now home to the wild Himalayan Cherry. The village has seen a drastic increase of tourists since the place has begun marketing itself as the ideal place to see the wild Himalayan Cherry in full bloom. The wild Himalayan Cherry is called the Phya Sua Khuong in Thai and is in full bloom and best visited in early January.
The sight of these pink Cherry blossoms are usually attributed to being a very Japanese thing, but it is no longer the case. The Cherry blossoms are grown and grow naturally in most Asian countries. The Khun Wang Royal Project grounds is one of those places where the Cherry blossoms bloom in abundance leaving the traveler with a sweet sight that they won’t forget easily.
The Khun Wang Royal Project is not only a tourist destination and a home for the beloved cherry blossom trees. The place is also an agricultural research area where scientists work on providing farmers alternatives to the usual opium plantations. The research also covers how to prolong the life of crop, quality of produce, etc. If this is a field that interests you, hire a guide. They will be able to walk you through the research and the findings that the scientists work on in the area.
When on the Mae Wang Loop, the Khun Wang Royal Project is a place that everybody should definitely stop.
Mae Wang Trekking
As with most national parks and forested areas of mountainous Northern Thailand, the Mae Wang Loop also has a lot of treks and trails around it. The Mae Wang National Park has many, many trails around the area of the park. Most of these trails include the iconic waterfalls that the national park houses within its area limits.
Another interesting thing that these treks have in common is the spotting of hill tribe villages. The Northern parts of Thailand are known for its tribes and their culture and these treks are perfect ways to get a good insight into their lifestyles. These treks usually take the travelers through Karen hill-tribe villages. This particular tribe is said to be very secluded and secretive about their lives unless someone comes to their villages. These treks pose as a good opportunity for the traveler to interact with the original Thai people and understand how their lives are led.
Along many of the trails, it is very common to see a lot of wildlife, most commonly elephants. Trekking in the Mae Wang National Park is a very interesting experience and should not be missed. It is the best way to be close to nature for all the nature lovers. The sights that the traveler will encounter on this trek are like none other.
It is important to be appropriately dressed for these treks and it is essential to have the correct footwear. Thailand is a tropical country and it is important to make sure that all your needs are taken care off before getting started on any of these trails and treks. Another important thing is to make sure that you have the help of a local or hire a guide because it is very easy to get lost in these parts of Thailand. It is always a good idea to have a guide.
The Mae Sapok waterfall is a smaller waterfall compared to the Mae Wang Waterfall but is a beautiful sight never the less. Getting to the waterfall is an adventure of its own. While many people prefer to drive to the waterfall, there are many people that hire bikes to cover the majority of the distance and then walk up to the foot of the waterfall.
On the way to the Mae Sapok waterfall, there is an iconic bridge that is there. The bridge is made of logs of horizontal pieces of wood and is a very popular spot for pictures. The bridge adds to the aesthetics of the waterfall and its approach route. There is also a small temple on the way to the waterfall called the Wat Mae Sapok. Wat Mae Sapok is a lesser visited temple that is far away from the crowded ones of Chiang Mai. But what it lacks in popularity the temple makes up for in serenity and beauty.
The Mae Sapok waterfall is a nice place to kick off your boots and relax. There are many pools around the waterfall that can be used for swimming and cooling off. It is a very popular tourist destination in Northern Thailand. The Mae Sapok waterfall is a small, but beautiful waterfall deep within the Mae Wang National Park. The waterfall is a little inside the forest and so it is usually very quiet and doesn’t get too many visitors.
Huai Manao Lake
The Huai Manao Lake is a lake that most tourists pass by when on the Mae Wang Loop. The lake is inset into a background of mountains and grasslands all around it. The lake is a stop on the way kind of place and a lot of people set up picnic there. The lake is actually a reservoir. The lake has pristine blue waters and has the mountains in its background.
The lake is a place tourist take a lot of pictures and is known for its beautiful mountainous landscape at the back. The lake is actually part of a reservoir and is a stop on the way most travelers of the Mae Wang Loop make.
It is a very popular place for travelers to stop by on their way around the Mae Wang Loop so be prepared to hit some traffic. The Huai Manao Lake is a very picturesque spot because of the mountains behind it and is a very nice stop-on-way.
Namrae Maewang Phairin Resort
Namrae Maewang Phairin Resort is a luxury resort on the Mae Wang Loop. It is one of Northern Thailand’s premier resorts and is known for its healthcare center. The resort is set in the countryside of Thailand and offers many beautiful panoramic views of the mountains and the valley below.
The resort also has a spa and coffee shop on the grounds that many people choose to kick back and relax at. However, if you are not staying at the resort, it can also be used as a pit stop on the way to the next destination. The resort has a good cafe and coffee shop that is usually open long hours. The only downside of this resort is the fact that it is a little off track from the main route of the Mae Wan Loop.
The resort is a luxury hotel so if you are planning to stay here, book in advance because it can become tough to get reservations here because it tends to get booked by tourists well in advance. It is also important to remember that the Namrae Maewand Phairin Resort is a luxury resort and can be a little pricey during tourist season.
The Wat Sapphanyu is a complex temple structure that is built and placed in the middle of a very heavily forested part of Northern Thailand. It is known for its epic architecture and the beautiful views you are privy to from the summit of the temple. The temple was previously known as Wat Nam Bo Tip before it was renamed as the Wat Sapphanyu.
The temple has four big statues of Buddha. The most popular of the four is one in which the deity is depicted sporting a wink. The way to the temple’s summit has a bunch of stairs to climb, but tourists can also get to the temple by car or motorbike. The pagodas of the temple are gold and provide an unforgettable sight for all travelers. At the summit of the temple, the vantage provides a beautiful view of the valley below and the mountains around.
The temple is first hard to reach and is not a very popular tourist destination. But for travelers already on the Mae Wang Loop, it is a must visit site. The temple gets very few visitors and is a welcome change after the other crowded temples in the Chiang Mai region. The temple is best known for its architecture and the picturesque view from the top.