Doi Jong or Doi Chong depending on your transliteration is located in Lampang Province 60 km south of Lampang City. This was quite a remote place as many Thais from Lampang didn’t even know where it was (even if I showed them the Thai word for it). I found very little information in English regarding the hike so I wanted to write a post to share with the next intrepid traveler.
Four friends and myself headed out from Lampang on a Saturday morning for the mountain. I had previously called and made reservations for tents with the ranger station earlier in the week. They don’t really speak any English so you’ll need some decent Thai to talk to them. It was about an hour ride (50km) to Sop Prap district where you will need to turn and head West for the National Park. There is no sign for the park turn off going south bound. I made the mistake visiting a few months earlier for a day trip and went 30km past the original turn off. Once you get into Sop Prap, the turn is about midway into the town. You can either ask people or drive down to the end of the town and circle back. You’ll see the sign going north bound. After then turn off, its another easy 10 km to the base of the park. Once there, there is a nice lake and tents you can rent to just spend a nice day by the water.
We rolled up thinking we could rent some tents and follow up the trail to the top. We found out once we got there that we would have three ranger escorts all the way to the top. No tents were necessary because there was a cabin up top. We thought this ranger thing was kind of weird but after about 10 minutes on the trail we realized there was no trail. You need an escort if you hope to find your way up there. Its important to call ahead so they have the staff ready. These guides were free also. Free machete wielding, moonshine drinking Thai dudes that took us up to the mountain cabin.
We placed the sleeping bags and pads we rented (50 bhat for both) in our backpacks and headed off for the five hour trek to the top. Painful is too nice a word to describe the intense 9km hike directly uphill to the cabin. If you’re in decent shape you’ll do fine, but we struggled. It was worth it when we finally made it though.
Up top there was a great view. They had a cabin with some elevated boards to throw our sleeping pads on. We all slept next to each other on this long boarded area. Sleepover style! The cabins also collected rain water that was safe to drink (we all tested it). So just bring enough water to get up there. 3-4 liters per person is good.
The walk back down was quite painful on the knees, but much quicker than going up there. We left around 9 and were back to the base by noon. We bought the guides a bottle of whiskey for their hard work and set off back to Lampang.
I think the coolest part about the trip was the remoteness of it. There was no trail up there. You can only go with a guide. The guides said they usually bring a group up every weekend and occasionally bring foreigners. It was really cool being up in the forest knowing we were truly out somewhere in the Thai jungle. No paths. I haven’t done any hiking like that in a long time.