Ride with us


There are iconic climbs right at the edge of some cities that local riders are fortunate to have as a road cycling playground minutes from their homes. We heard of Norton Summit in Adelaide, Flagstaff in Boulder or Tibidabo in Barcelona, but here in Chiang Mai we’ve got Doi Suthep and Doi Pui, and we couldn’t be happier.

Doi Suthep-Pui is the name of the national park situated in a forested mountain range that spans from the heart of Chiang Mai city towards the North West. The silhouette of this beautiful mountain can be seen from any part of town and it has become an icon for local residents and road cyclists alike.

As the name of the ride suggests, the road that climbs up this mountain leads effectively to two summits: the closest it’s Doi Suthep at around 1,000 meters above sea level, featuring a complex of Buddhist temples with golden pagodas and spectacular views of Chiang Mai city. Continuing via the same road there is Doi Pui Summit, the highest point of the road at almost 1,600 meters of elevation.

A road cycling trip to Chiang Mai must begin riding this local climb, that starts right from the Chiang Mai University Campus. This area can be easily accessed from the city center straight via Huaykaew Road. The official climb to Doi Suthep is 10.8 km at 6% average starting from Chiang Mai Zoo and ending at the temple Stairs. This climb is featured yearly as the closing stage of the local road cycling race Masters Tour of Chiang Mai.

It’s a relatively long climb that suits more powerful riders rather than pure lightweight climbers due to its shallow average gradients. The aero factor can be quite important as well, since average speeds cycling up Doi Suthep are somewhere between 17 and 20+ Kmph.

The first part of this climb is firstly steady at 6-7%. There are a few temples on the left hand side so the sight of monks in bright orange robes walking down with their alms bowls is common early in the morning. As the road climbs up a couple of kilometers in twists and turns, a few gaps between the dense forest let the cyclist get a glimpse of the city in the distance, diminished by the effect of the altitude gained.

On the way up, the road is 2 lanes wide with a generous shoulder used by runners and passers-by. There are barely more than 500 meters of straight road before it continues spiraling against the mountain sides. Over the halfway point, after 6.1 km there’s a viewpoint on the left hand side to behold the city of Chiang Mai and a vast valley that extends to the East.

The climb sustains relentlessly until kilometer 8.3, the only downhill and flat stretch that lasts for about 300 meters, enough for a short breather. Just 2.5 kilometers to go to the temple, but don’t push too hard, there is a nasty surprise waiting for the cyclists as they negotiate a narrow hairpin close to the top, the last 450 meters of road are a 14% wall so save a bullet for this one.

44 Km

1290 m

2:30 hours

1 stop

2-2.5 W/kg

Avg 17 km/h

Max 14%


Download .GPX file

Once at the base of Doi Suthep temple there are a few stalls to buy water and fresh fruit smoothies while hanging out with the local cyclists. From here, the road to the top of Doi Pui ascends 540 meters over 7 km at an average gradient of 8%. Although a bit steeper, this part of the climb feels more pleasant with very few cars and an even thicker jungle foliage.

The nasty bit comes with a long kilometer at 11% when passing by the Bhubing Palace, the holidays residence of the King of Thailand, but it’s quickly followed by the last 2 km over a stunning butter-smooth road where the Tree tunnels are so dense that it can get quite dark even at noon.

If you pull over on the left hand side 300 meters before the summit, you will find an eye-melting view of the mountain ranges that extends Southwest towards Doi Inthanon. At this altitude, in winter, the temperatures can be as low as 5 Celsius, so it’s always a good idea to pack a gilet for the descent.

A little cheeky bonus: after the summit, the road continues another 5km mostly downhill towards a little tribal village named Baan Khun Chang Khian. More than half of this road is gravel (with pretty big stones) but it can be tackled on a road bike provided it’s not raining. Right at the entrance of the village, there’s a nice local cafe where they serve delicious brews with beans locally produced and roasted by the tribal community.