Crazy Horse Buttress is 34km from Chiang Mai moat. Most likely you will need a motorized vehicle for the commute if you choose to stay in Chiang Mai. Heading east towards San Kamphaeng via Route 1317, you will see signs for Muang On Cave and San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. After you reach Mae On town, watch out for a small blue sign that says “Muang On Cave, 1km” and the turn-off for the crag is 200 meters ahead on the left side. A wooden board decorated with the pictures of the King and the Queen and colorful flags marks the entrance to the road.
After 500 meters on the dirt road you will reach the parking lot and from here you can access all climbing areas via clearly marked trails.
Since we stayed in Mae On, our suggestions are limited to this area.
- Places to stay: Jira Homestay and Restaurant (tel: 085 029 5304)
Only 100 meters away from the turn-off road for Crazy Horse Buttress, it is the closest lodging to the crag. You can almost roll out of bed and be at the base of the crag. The hospitable owner speaks good English and is very helpful. You can borrow their yellow scooter or a bicycle to get around free of charge. They have 2 airy bungalows and 1 house, with shared bathrooms. At the price of 300 Baht and being the closest lodging to the crag, it is the best value around this area so don’t be surprised if you find no room available. However, if you have your own tent, you can also camp here for 100 Baht. We camped for 4 nights before a bungalow became available.
There are other guesthouses, homestays and resorts in Mae On, for example La Bhu Salah (081 403 6441) which is 1km away from the crag and Mon Kaew Guesthouse (086 912 4175) which is a bit more than 2km away, or swanky On Sen Spa and Health Resort (053 037 074) which is more th 5km away. However, they are more expensive (from 600 Baht to 2600 Baht) and further away from the climbing, hence defeating the purpose of staying in Mae On at the first place.
- Places to eat:
Jira Homestay and Restaurant offers made-to-order dishes, which come in abundant quantity at a reasonable price.
We got most of our meals from Baan Sahakorn Market. It opens from noon and won’t be in full swing till later in the afternoon. There are stalls selling various types of cooked thai dishes. Upon ordering, your dishes will be put in individual plastic bags and tied up with rubber bands for take away. It costs 20 Baht per bag, and you can eat very well with the combination of a couple dishes. Since the market mainly serves the local population who frequent the stalls on a daily basis, we didn’t encounter any food safety issues.
There is a restaurant on the way to Baan Sahakorn Market, but since all of our needs were met by shopping at the market or eating at Jira, we couldn’t offer further insight into the matter.
Transportation Between Mae On and Chiang Mai:
- Yellow sǎwngthǎew/songtaew
The yellow pickup truck departing from Baan Sahakorn Market street corner takes one and half hour to reach the east side of Chiang Mai moat, but it only costs 50 baht per person and departs every 20 minutes from 5:00am daily. Before you catch the songtaew from Chiang Mai to back Mae On at the same spot where it drops you off, don’t forget to check the sign for San Kamphaeng Hot Springs on the truck and make sure you don’t miss the last truck at 5:40pm.
Songtaew stop in Chiang Mai
- Tuk tuk:
If you manage to miss the last yellow songtaew, it is not the end of the world. Other than spending the night in Chiang Mai, you can find a brave tuk tuk driver to take you back to Mae On. It is much more expensive than the yellow songtaew and it takes some haggling to settle the deal (from 300 baht to 600 baht).
- Red truck
The last resort is expensive (from 800 baht to 1000 baht) but if you can find enough people to car pool, it’s not a bad deal.
Best Time to Visit:
Between November and February. During this time, the nights are cold enough to wear a warm jacket and the days are pleasant to climb in shorts.
- Hot-Headed 6b a fun tour on horizontal stalagmites
- It’s Great To Be Alive 6b+
- All Quiet on the Eastern Front 7a
- Morning Glory 6a+ more for the unique climbing experience in a cave
- Magic Drop 6b balancy climb that reminds us of Hong Kong
- Blood, Love, and Steel 6c balancy and technical
- Fire In The Mind 6a
- Black Hole Sun 6b+
- Sage 6a
- Serial Drilla 6b+
- A Song of Stone 6c
- The Chimney Sweep 6a
- Happy Birthday 6b