• A green paradise

    Here a waterfall comes tumbling down a rocky outcrop. Ahead, lies a pine forest full of pungent woodland scents. Further on, steep slopes bristle with clumps of giant bamboo. Then comes a path edged with tropical plants and wild flowers. Banana plants, palms of every sort, interlacing lianas… Vegetation overflows in all directions, in an explosion of colour. An intense, brilliant green invades the paths, charges up to the passes and cascades down the slopes to the river beds. Ultra Sauvage passes through a paradise which counts as one of the most.

  • Running through the deepest jungle

    This is undoubtedly one of the high points of the course. For anyone who has not yet experienced it, plunging into the depths of the jungle is an experience like no other. Running under a thick canopy of trees and climbing plants, in a green shade, intensifies physical sensations. The absence of an horizon and the density of the vegetation make you lose all sense of direction. In the silence, broken only by birdsong, the beauty of the vast ancient trees creates a hypnotic atmosphere. The run takes on an almost sacred quality, infused with solitude and total concentration.

  • In the fertile valleys

    To emerge from a long stretch of jungle into a wide valley is like taking a sudden lungful of air after a long period of holding your breath. Paths become wider, the light comes back in all its force, the horizon unfurls. Lower down, the first roofs of a tribal village can be seen. And all around, as far as the eye can see, there are rice-fields carved into the hillsides, like huge staircases of greenery. At a moment like this you feel an overwhelming temptation to slow your pace. But in the distance, soaring upward through the delicate wraiths of blue-grey mist, the next peak is already calling. Doi Chiang Dao is still far away; the pace picks up again...

en Français
4-6 December 2015

Reviving old tribal paths to create the wildest Ultra Trail in Asia


In a magical wilderness

Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

November marks the end of the rainy season in Thailand. Before the dry period sets in, a perfect window for running opens up. Paths become navigable again, yet nature, still imbued with humidity, reveals itself in all its incredible exuberance. The 150-kilometre course gives access to the remotest of areas, in a succession of magnificent landscapes and contrasting surroundings.

The people of the High Country

Those brightly dressed men and women whom you meet in the course of the run, living in primitive villages that cling to the mountainsides or are lost in the depth of distant valleys - who are they?

Most of them are not Thais by blood, and their mother tongue is not the Thai language. Their roots are elsewhere, in China, Laos or Burma – countries which their semi-nomadic ancestors left for safer, more fertile lands. They do not have a nation of their own; they simply have a tribe, an ethnic group, be it Hmong, Karen, Lahu, Lisu or Akha. Each tribe has its own language, culture and traditions, handed down through the ages.

For a long time, they were despised and passed over. Today they are given more respect. Some of them have moved closer to the cities; they send their children to school and live in greater comfort than their ancestors. But others still live apart, away from the world, and have little contact with outsiders. It is always a surprise and a privilege to meet them.