Feb 11-12, 2020
Trekking Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint
Location: Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint, Umphang, Thailand
One of the DIY attractions in Umphang is the Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint (aka Doi Hua Mod) - a scenic view from a hilltop 9 km away on paved road, and 1 km on foot by loose-gravel trail path. My last hike was the Monk's Trail in Chiang Mai. This would be a good one to try.
I allotted 2 hours of trekking there, but when I realized I could borrow the hotel bicycle from Dayt (hotel owner), I thought I'd be there in 20 minutes, so I started late. Big Mistake! I didn't realize that most of the way was uphill. My bike didn't have gears and it was really just a simple bike with questionable road-worthiness. I ended up pushing my bike almost the entire time, which took me longer. After 6 km of pushing, I realized that I would already run out of sunlight on the way back. I miscalculated badly. I had to turn back. Pushing my bike up the hill for 6 km with nothing to show for it? Frustrating! The ride back was all the way down but even that was a concern - would my brakes hold-up? I had to feather my brakes when it was going too fast.
By Hitch Hiking
Still not deterred, I thought about hitching the following day. While waiting for a ride at Highway 1090 at 8:30 am, I got to talk to Sain, a gentleman who owned the 40-room Wiriya Village. He was kind enough to flag down a vehicle for me and talked to the driver to give me a ride. It was really nice of him - it was a signature Thai kindness that has benefitted me so many times in the past. The Thais are simply endearing people.
Surprisingly, the pick-up truck dropped me off at KM 9, still 1 km short of the access point on Google Map. But there was already a visible trail going up the peak. I just assumed that there was more than one. I started climbing up the steep trail. It was sandy, stony and slippery. My flat-sole rubber shoe was not ideal so I had to be careful. It wasn't a long climb, but I got winded out. Gone are the days during my active membership to the UP Mountaineers when I would carry a third of my bodyweight for 2 days to a mountain's peak. Climbing down was even trickier as all climb-downs are - I was more careful. It would be unsafe to climb this without sufficient light (as in catching the sunrise or climbing down after sunset).
I guess it would have been more dramatic if I arrived shortly before sunrise or sunset, but no, I was there at 9:30 am when the sun was already high. The view was more mountains, with its mountain range horizon layered over each other. There seemed to be a thin fog draping over the range, although it was already hot, so I'm not sure what that haze is. I've seen some bonfire remains, so I'm sure it would have been a good overnight campsite. This reminds me of the stunning mountain views I've seen during my travels - the fog-draped village of Antadao in Sagada, Philippines, the open mouth of Mount Kanlaon in Negros Occidental, Philippines.
Apparently, there is no one Hao Kua Mot peak. There are many and equally as many access points to it. But they are more or less clustered together. I arrived at 9:30 am when the sun was already high up and it was hot with no shelter. Ideally, it would be good to be there either for the sunrise or sunset. However, getting there when there is not much light or coming down when the sun has already set could be tricky as the trails are sandy and slippery. Perhaps the other trails would be better. I've only tried this one.
This adventure brings back the joy of travel again...meeting Good Samaritans (Sain, Dayt and the pick-up truck drivers), hitch-hiking, trekking to a summit and getting to enjoy a great view. Life is good. Thank you Umphang and thank you to all my Good Samaritans!
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
(Feb 12, 2020) Wow trekking
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Next stop: Food in Umphang
Umphang Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Visiting the Pasak Vipassana Temple, Umphang, Thailand Feb 14, 2020
- Food in Umphang Feb 10-15, 2002
- Trekking Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint Feb 11-12, 2020
- Exploring Umphang, Thailand Feb 10-15, 2020
Umphang Travel Info
Mae Sot to Umphang (and back) by bus
Getting to Umphang
From the Mae Sot Divisional Market (Burmese Market), I boarded the blue songthao (going to the border) and got off at the Bus Station near the airport (B20, 10 mins). At the bus station, I went to platform #5 Umphang, and boarded the blue songthao (departure times 07:30 after every hour until 13:30, B140, 5.5 hours). The first 2 hours was on flat, the following 2.5 hours was a dizzying mountain twist like a pretzel road, and the last hour was still curvy, but not as tight. One boy threw up at all the luggages in front of him, to the chagrin of the passengers! Best to have your Google Map activated when nearing Umphang so you know when to get off closest to your hotel before the songthao reaches its final stop. Better yet, show the driver where your hotel is, and he's likely to drop you off the doorstep.
Leaving Umphang for Mae Sot, go to the blue songthao depot at the Umphang Walking Street (see map). Departures are every hour beginning 06:30 to 13:30, B140, and only 5 hours! It should take you to the market and then to Mae Sot bus station near the airport (I don't really know since I alighted at Robinsons).
What to Do in Umphang
The main attraction of Umphang are the multiple waterfalls (Thi Lor Su, Thi Lor Jor, Thi Lor Lay, Se Pala, Pitu Grow), rafting, caving (Tha Kubi Cave), hot spring, and trekking. There's is not much within the town proper. Tour rates usually start at B1500/person and can go as much as B4000/person for multi-day trekking.
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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