The city is large enough to have all the conveniences of city living (great apartments, a plethora of coffee shops, plenty of restaurants of every possible type, numerous sites to see, and a diversity of people to make for good people watching) but small enough that we can get out pretty quickly to enjoy some peace and quiet.
We discovered Huay Tueng Tao lake in an effort to
stay get in shape (well, in a shape other than round anyway). Unless dodging traffic on narrow roads while sucking back exhaust fumes is going to become the next Olympic sport (which it totally could now that they have ousted wrestling) there isn’t much point to trying to run in the city proper.
Located about 10KM outside of the city (on Canal Road, or Hwy 121 for those interested) the lake sits in the shadow of the mountains and is the perfect place for a quick morning run. It’s about 4KM around. It really feels like running at home, as if passing by golden Buddhas, farmer fields, and jungle swamps while jogging is anything like home. It’s cool, quiet, and relaxing (in the morning, that is. In the afternoon, and on weekends, it is overrun with city folk kicking back and escaping the city heat).
We started right behind the Buddha that looks out from the back side of the lake. We literally just walked into the jungle and followed an irrigation canal until we caught sight of the trail. Probably not the recommended way of starting a hike but then neither is not telling anyone where you are going or not bringing any food. Hindsight, right?
The trail is pretty easy to follow; even easier if you bring along the map from this Beautiful-ChiangMai.com post that details the hike along with GPS files. It’s a circular hike which I enjoy much more than there-and-back hikes.
What was really interesting about the hike was the foliage change throughout. On the way up (and I do mean up, there were some steep sections!) it was evergreen forest/jungle with ferns, bamboo, and plenty of plants that I can’t identify.
Yes, I already colour corrected the photo. I am that red/pink when I exercise. I get the weirdest looks (and the occasional sniggering at) and have often been asked if I’m okay but it’s perfectly normal for me to turn as red as a beet root at the mere thought of moving. I also sweat. A lot. Yep, it’s a pleasant day in the park working out with me.
Disappointingly there wasn’t much of a view at the top. The summit (well, just below it actually) is marked with a crude helicopter pad that afforded a good place to rest but the hazy day didn’t allow much of a view. Bummer.
The path down was on the other side of the hill and the vegetation there was much different than on the way up. It was much drier, grassier, and only partially shaded by small teak trees whose large leaves were strewn all over the path making the steeper sections of down quite slippery.
It gets better. Each clutch of hutches is associated with a restaurant of sorts. Someone will bring you food and beer!! Wandering vendors visit periodically with treats like fruit, nuts, and bugs. Yes to the sugared tamarind. No to the packaged spiders.