Thailand: Sacred Forest and Islands

DATE: Jan 25th – Feb 6th 2020 – 11 days (Limited to 16 people)

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Thailand: Sacred Forest and Islands

You will have to join us in Chiang Mai airport, accessible directly from Bangkok. This 10 day trip is really a 2-in-1 expedition.
The first part will drive you through the highest steep Chiang Mai mountains, inside the sacred forest. Sharing your itineraries with the Hill tribes and their temples is challenging, but definitely worth it. During 5 days you will experience one of the most amazing trail tracks in the world, enjoying alpine summits & panoramas & out of path itineraries. We bet that your night with the Hill tribes in bamboo houses will never be forgotten.
The second part will make you enjoy the wonderful Koh Pha-ngan island to the fullest, far from touristic flows. This 3 days trip is less challenging and will allow you to end this expedition in more relaxing conditions, with amazing beaches and comfortable environment. We’ve partnered with locals that have worked hard to make this part unforgettable. Let us tell you that they met our expectations, as they will meet yours.

Activities include: participation to tribes’ activities, temple tours, thaï massages, snorkeling, stand-up paddle etc.

Get a detailed view of what’s awaiting you

Detailed itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday: Welcoming in Chiang Mai

Depending on your flights, you might want to come to Thailand sooner and spend a few days in Bangkok. Either way, we will meet in Chiang Mai the Saturday for a welcoming dinner at Chiang Mai Gate Hotel. We will brief you about the whole trip with the whole team and you will spend the night in a big comfortable accommodation, as you will during all the trip.
Run: optional
Meals: LD 

Day 2 - Sunday: On the top of Chiang Mai

After enjoying a nice view on the city at the sunrise, we climb straight up into the forest on a wild trail. For 7k and 1’100m+ it’s a regular climb in the forest and the jungle until we reach the Hmong village of Chang Khian, from where we enjoy a great way down in a bamboo jungle.
As we emerge from the jungle, we can see the mountain ridge in a tooth shape surrounding us. At its top stands the summit of Doi Pa Klong, the objective of the day.
After a new climb and a run alongside the ridge, finally we reach the summit at 1650m high. We will make a break here at the top of Chiang Mai to enjoy some food and rest before the last drop.
The last part of the route leads us down to the end through a beautiful tropical forest. After having climbed 1’850m elevation gain, we let our legs recover slowly from the effort on this comfortable part. We enjoy a very nice run down to Ban Doi Pui the final Hmong village.

Run: 25k & 1’850m
Meals: BLD 

Day 3 & 4 - Monday/Tuesday: The Two Alpine Summits

The Day 3 of the trip leads us to the summit of Doi Chiang Dao. It is the only alpine mountain range in Thailand, the most imposing and the most inaccessible. From the start at the foothills of the massif there begins a long climb through rocks and tropical forest in a majestic alpine décor. After a long break to enjoy the scenery at the summit, we run back a different route on a long technical way down until the valley.
After 1500m elevation loss, we cross a first Lisu village, and then we reach the village of Na Lao Mai. Our local partner has developed strong links with this village. Then, we will come back to the hotel (30min transfer).

In the morning of the Day 4 we continue our trip by entering the large valley of Nong Khatae.  one of the best places to observe the high mountains of Thailand while no other tourists have never heard of it.
After a wonderful way up in the jungle across large rocky boulders, we enter deeply in the valley of Nong Khatae.
The way up to Doi Nang Non is steep and narrow and offers at the top a great view on the valley and the small Lahu village. We then tackle a long way down until the Thai village of Ban Tham, and come back to Chiang Dao.

Runs: 42k over 2 days ; +2500m gain
Meals: BLD 

Day 5 & 6 - Wednesday/Thursday: The Great Escape to Chiang Dao

We start the Day 5 by tackling a remarkable, dense bamboo jungle, acting as a natural frontier between Karen country and Hmong country.
After a long and slow climb, we get to the village of Mong Ngo, with its bamboo houses nestling against the mountainside, and then reach lovely village of Kio Bua Ha.
We then follow a magnificent river during 10 kilometers, first as a stream, then becoming a river alongside the famous Mae Taeng valley, going up to a waterfall.
The arrival to the village of Kup Kap, our overnight place is definitely worth every effort. This Lahu village is located on a ridge at 1100m. We will share dinner with a local family, and will sleep here in bamboo houses built in the purest traditional Lahu style.

From Kup Kap on the Day 6, the run is mountainous, the atmosphere is more alpine. We leave the village with regret by running a path down for a couple of kms. The biggest challenge of the day is now waiting for us: 800m elevation gain in 2 kilometers on a steep ridge to conquer Doi Pha Sam Liam (1650m). We then follow a path until the Hmong village of Pakhia, we will make a break at the foothill of the mountain range before tackling with the final part, going down on technical trail, to take transport back to Chiang Mai.

Runs: 50-60k over 2 days ; +3000m gain
Meals: BLD

Day 7 - Friday: Transfert to Koh Phan-ngan

Day 7 is dedicated to recovery and transfert to the 2nd part of our trip: Koh Pha-ngan island.
After a first hard part across steep mountains, in the sacred forest, sharing with the hill tribes, we will give you the opportunity to enjoy another delightful side of this wonderful country: paradisiac islands far from touristic flows. The runs will be lighter to end this long trip in a sweeter way.

Run: optional – for recovery
Meals: BLD 

Day 8-9-10 - Saturday/Sunday/Monday: complete tour of Koh Pha-ngan

This 3 days trip to Koh Pha-ngan has been designed for you to enjoy fully the island and what it has to offer.

Day 8 will drive you until the top of the Island in a one time climb. The paths are wild and we will have to cut our way with a machete (don’t worry, we take care of this). From there, you will enjoy a view at 360° around the island. Needless to say that this is wonderful.

Day 9 is specially designed (or un-designed) for you to enjoy this wonderful Island. You’ll be able to go on your own to satisfy your adventurer’s needs. Otherwise, we will plan for you a day around a beautiful snorkeling spot, stand-up paddle and recovery Thaï massage.

Day 10 is the last running day of the expedition. It will bring us to a beach that used to be only accessible by boat. Fortunately, our local partners cut us a new way, that make this beach accessible for us, and unknown to everyone else. Even if the run is relatively flat (+700m), this will definitely be one of the summit of your trip.
We’ll come back to the accommodation to enjoy our last dinner together.

Runs: 13k ; optional ; 14k ; +700m gain per day
Meals: BLD 

Day 11 - Tuesday: Time to go back

We’ll get up early to head back to Bangkok, where our trip ends. Those who want to stay further in this amazing city, will be provided with a lot of tips.
Run:  :'(
Meals: B 

Useful information

Running Requirements

All levels are welcome, as long as you consider yourself a runner. The first part is harder than the second one, designed to let your body relax and enjoy the island. Daily run maximums are showed under stages details, and there are no minimum required nor time restrictions. We made sure that various Checkpoints were inserted all along the race. No daily run is mandatory. Flat runs options are available any day (except for one) for recovery.

Running equipment: a detailed list will be provided 3 months before the trip starts, but no specific equipment is required for this expedition. 

Costs & Conditions

The price for this trip is $2,200
A $500 deposit is required to secure your spot.

  • 91+ days from the trip start date : Deposits are non-refundable
  • 61-91 days from the trip start date: 50% of total payment refunded**
  • 60 days or less from the trip start date: No refunds

**This only applies to participants who have paid their balances on time. If you do not pay the balance by the due date and cancel after the fact, we will retain your full deposit

Group size & Runner/Guide ratio

The group size limit for this trip is 16. In addition, you will be accompanied each day by 2 guides + a medic, with at least the 1 founder of Albera. The ratio runner / guide is maintained under 1/5. 

Thailand FAQs

Why Thailand ?
This expedition is very particular for us, because it’s our homeland. Exiling ourselves in other regions of the world, we wanted this area to be the first on our expeditions’ list. This particular area has the advantage of pairing wonderful elements: famous terraced vineyards from Collioure & unique Medieval towns ; the end of the Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean Sea on one of it’s most beautiful place (Côte Vermeille) ; French art de vivre with traditional Catalan culture.
We will make you belong.

Why do we land in Barcelona ?
Barcelona is the biggest airport in the expedition’s area. From there, we ensure that most of the citizen of the world can join us in a 1-stop flight. Also, we heard that Barcelona was a nice city, some of you might enjoy an early arrival and/or late departure…

What’s included in the trip cost?
The trip price includes pre-trip communication, airport transfers from/to Barcelona, all accommodation during the trip (5 nights in a wonderful Villa, 2 nights in traditional mountain huts), all meals (BLD) & snacks, hot beverages & juice with breakfasts, water and some local snacks for the runs. Transportation, drivers, experienced guides (us), for organized & supported runs and an Albera Expeditions backpack & goodies shirt. To sum up, pretty much everything is provided between Barcelona & Barcelona ! For travelers wanting to discover Barcelona and the surroundings, we will provide you with some useful tips, do not hesitate to ask !

What isn’t included in the trip cost?
The cost does not include your flights to/from Barcelona & travel insurance. Why ? Because runners are coming from all around the world, and everyone will have a different schedule and travel expectations. However, if needed, we can set you up with a local travel agency that will provide you exactly what you’ll need.

DATE: Sept. 2019 – 8 days (Limited to 14 people)

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