It can get pretty warm at this time of year in Chiang Mai, especially from midday onwards, making those long exploratory rides we love so much not quite as fun. Short and sweet is the order of the day during the hotter weeks and they don’t come much shorter or sweeter than the ride to Ob Khan National Park.
Although people have been riding this route for some time now, the recent re-surfacing of a couple of key, previously very sketchy sections, make this seem almost like a brand new ride.
We usually start the ride from the regular PTT / Cafe Amazon meeting point on Canal Road (highway 121) about 600 metres south of the intersection with Suthep Road. We head south for a couple of kilometres on the main road but then turn off and from then, it’s scenic back roads almost all the way. There are a few twists and turns on the next section to avoid the main road so it’s a good idea to take a map or follow someone who knows the route.
We flirt with the foothills of the southernmost part of Doi Suthep so the ride is pleasantly undulating with four or five short hills to get the heart pumping. Ridden hard, this is an excellent short training ride with the rolling terrain providing natural ‘intervals’.
The 8.5 kilometre stretch leading to the park is particularly pleasant and the short descent from the checkpoint to the turn off to the park entrance on brand new, smooth tarmac is exhilarating. This is a ‘there and back’ ride. There is nothing of any note at the park entrance and the ride is short enough that we generally don’t require a stop, so we usually re-group and head home the way we came.
Facts at a glance
Distance: 60 kilometres
Elevation Gain: 897 metres
Terrain: Rolling with some short hills
Type: There and back
Road surface: Moderate to excellent.
Traffic: Moderate to quiet