Great scenery but limited opportunities
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th March, 2019
There are hiking opportunities around Mae Salong, but bear in mind that most of the surrounding landscape is covered by plantations and orchards rather than wild jungle.
Furthermore, practically all nearby villages—mostly Akha and Lahu—are connected by sealed roads and municipal electric cables so don’t expect anything too traditional or off the beaten track. Finally, as Mae Salong lies atop a steep ridge, anywhere you hike is likely to involve arduous climbs and descents.
There are no trekking agents in town but your guesthouse should be able to offer advice and even provide you with maps, but if you stand on most town cafe terraces you can see all the villages, paths and roads laid out across the valley in front of you anyway. Little Home, Shin Sane and Mr Ho guesthouses would be your best bets for this kind of information.
Alternatively if you’re staying out at Hloyo Village then Akha Mudhouse have some one-day trekking options ready for you but they do cost between 2,500 and 3,000 per person if there’s two of you, with the price dropping to 1,500 and 1,200 per person for three to four or five to six person groups. We didn’t try their trekking, so can’t comment but the prices, like their accommodation rates, strike us as a bit steep.
A convenient hike you can do on your own, though it is along a sealed road, takes you south from the T-junction by the hilltribe market up and down an undulating valley past Lahu and Akha villages to re-join the main highway on the east side of town. The total distance is around 13 kilometres. This can also be done by motorbike and is also the standard route for the horse treks you may see advertised. Note that these are actual Yunnanese ponies, not horses, and have a weight limit, including your gear, of 80 kilograms. The pony trek takes around four hours and costs 500 baht per person but we’ve come across mixed feedback about these rides. Enquire at Little Home, Shin Sane or Mr Ho Guesthouse if you are interested.
Taking the road leading out of town from the morning market leads you to a series of Akha villages at the one, four and eight kilometre marks and continuing down the valley you ought to be able to get back to the main road by way of the giant tea-pot creation at the plantation just east of town instead of having to return by the same route. If more vigorous exercise is required, then try the 1,436 steps up and down the hill to Chedi Santikhiri!
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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