Doi Inthanon National Park covers the following areas of Chiang Mai province: Sampatong, Chomthong, Mae Chai, Mae Wang and Toy Lop-Sub (Sanpatong, Chomthong, Mae Chaem, Mae Wang, Toi lop-Sub. It covers 482 sq. Km (or 301,500 paradise) including agricultural areas and residential areas.
The territory of the national park consists of high mountains, including Doi Inthanon, which is the highest peak in Thailand (2565 meters above sea level), and Doi Huamodluang – 2330 meters above sea level, and It is also the source of many rivers, such as the Mae Klang, Mae Patong, Mae Pont, Mae Hoi, Mae Ya, Mae Chai, Mae Zaha, as well as the Ping River, where the Phumipon Dam is located and a hydroelectric station is built. The national park has wonderful natural landscapes, a lot of waterfalls, including the amazing Mae I – the waterfall, which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.
Since the National Park is located at 2000 meters above sea level, the climate is cool, the humidity is high throughout the year, especially in the upper heights of the national park. The average temperature at the top is 15 degrees above zero.
Flora and fauna
There are several types of forests in the national park, including virgin forests, pine forests, deciduous forests, and mixed forests. Teak, pine, ebony, mahogany and other types of trees grow here. In addition, in the park you can see rare species of beautiful wild orchids, wild rose, rhododendrons. Doi Inthanon National Park is one of the most important places in Southeast Asia for naturalists and ornithologists. The mist-shrouded upper slopes of the mountains harbor many species of orchids, lichens, mosses and epiphytes, as well as nearly 400 species of birds, and this is more than in any other area in Thailand. The mountains are one of the last habitats of the Asiatic black bear, Assamese macaque, and other rare, and not so much, monkeys and gibbons. Here are also the most common Indian civet, deer and giant flying squirrels, as well as about 75 species of other mammals. Most of the park’s birds live between 1500m and 2000m above sea level, bird watching is best done during the season from February to April. The number of wild animals in the National Park decreases as indigenous tribes hunt them in the limited space of the park. As a result, some species of large animals became extinct. Currently, the following mammals live here: goral, deer, tigers, boars, bears, wild rabbits.
How to get there
You can visit the park as part of an organized excursion, which can be purchased at Chiang Mai travel agencies. You can independently on a rented car or motorcycle. Getting on buses and shuttles is difficult, but you can try hitchhiking. From the northern capital (Chiang Mai) to the top about 110-120 km.
To get to the national park from the city you need to go to the south-west along highway 108 about 70-80 km, then turn onto highway 1009, which leads to the national park. The fork is noticeable, with a big sign on the name of the national park in English (Doi Inthanon national park), the nearest town on the highway before the Tha Sala turn.
Entry to the national park: 200 baht from tourists, 60 baht from local (but if you show a driver’s license of the Thai sample, a work permit (Work Permit) or a study visa, you can arrange to pass at a price for local).
The national park is equipped with a convenient camping, so staying in the park can be stretched for several days, considering that there are a lot of natural and cultural attractions in it.
The cost of camping (approximate): 4-bed bungalow costs 1,500 baht per day (it turns out 375 baht per person).
Tent-place costs about 30 baht.
Natural and cultural attractions of Doi Inthanon National Park.
Mae Ya waterfall. Many call it the most beautiful waterfall in Thailand. Many thresholds occupy a huge area and step by step overthrow the water, forming amazing highlights, rainbows and other lighting effects. This is the first waterfall in the park, located not far from the 108 highway, turning left from the 1009 highway to the waterfall is marked with the same name “Mae Ya Waterfall”. However, it is quite far (12 km) from the road, you need to go through the beautiful countryside.
There is a “check point” in front of the waterfall, where you can buy tickets to the park, get a card and find out other necessary information (you don’t speak Russian there, and you don’t even hope for English – sign language, a sincere smile and separate, clearly pronounced English and Thai words). The ticket is valid throughout the national park, on the way there will be several “check points”, so the ticket must be saved.
Mae Klang Waterfall
Waterfall Mae Klang (Mae Klang Waterfall). This waterfall is located right on the way to the top of Doi Inthanon. There are a lot of cafes near it, as well as shops where you can buy warm clothes (hats, gloves, etc.) there is also a “check point”, where you can buy a ticket, see photos of all the attractions of the park, see the park’s scheme. The waterfall is beautiful, you can get close to it, and we even managed to take some pictures on the rocks at the foot, although the strict sign forbade such maneuvers.
Bricinde cave. Turn on the right side of the track.
Waterfall Vachiratan (Wachirathan waterfall)
Waterfall Vachiratan (Wachirathan waterfall). Turn on it is located on the right side of the road, located near the road.
The waterfall is located on route 1009 on the way to the top of Doi Inthanon. Right on the side of the road is a small parking lot and a wooden staircase – descent into the gorge. The observation deck is equipped at a distance from the waterfall itself, so that you can appreciate its size and beauty in its entirety. However, closer to the waterfall there is no possibility.
Ban Mae Klang Village
At the small intersection is the village of Ban Mae Klang Luang, where you can get fuel for cars or motorcycles, eat and relax. A turn to the left leads to the Sirthum Falls, as well as to the plant nursery of the temperate climate zone, which is a royal project.
If you drive a little further along the highway, then you will see a turn to the right to the camping territory, which is translated on the signpost as “Guesthouse”. Wooden bungalows are equipped with hot water, a kettle, a TV, and even such pleasant things as tea and coffee bags, disposable soap and toilet paper.
At the foot of the waterfall there is a park with gazebos, bridges over brooks, flowers and ferns. Only a section of the waterfall is visible from the park: among the green crowns a wall of water peeps through. Narrow steep paths can go up to the waterfall itself. However, there reigns twilight, high humidity and the sound of falling water.
The nursery created under the auspices of the royal project (Doi Inthanon Royal Project) is located in the village of Kun Klang (Khun Klang) near the campsite. The project was launched in 1979 to help hill tribes develop agriculture and, instead of collecting opium, train them in modern legal farming methods. Here they plant plants of the temperate zone, such crops for coffee, strawberries, roses go to the domestic market. Flower plantations, research laboratories of selection of plants of the mountain tribes “Hmong” are open to visitors. The research station operates under the auspices of the royal project. Tourists can visit in the nursery a charming garden of natural flowers.
Doi Pa Tang Mountain
Further from the village of Ban Mae Klang Luang along the road 1009 in the direction of the top of Doi Inthanon, turn left to the top of Doi Pa Tang.
Huai Sai Lueang waterfall and Mae Pan waterfall
After the next “check point” there is a fork in the road: the main road 1009 leads to the top of Doi Inthanon, turning left (highway 1192) leads to the waterfalls of Huai Sai Lueang and Mae Pan waterfall.
Further the road goes strictly up and up. On the big turn, just below the famous Pramahatath Chedi, there is a viewing platform. This turn is located on an open area of the city, one necessarily wants to press the brake in order to stop and consider the beauty of mountain Thailand. Small steps lead to the observation platform – a monolithic black rock, from where a wide panorama of the nearby mountains opens (unless, of course, the weather allows).
Pramahatath Chedi (Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon)
The huge territory with amazing landscape gardening vegetation is located on Mount Doi Inthanon, not reaching the top about 4 kilometers. The main attraction of this place – two magnificent chedi, standing on a dais opposite each other.
They are built in turn, by the forces of the Thai Air Force. The first was erected in honor of the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibon Adulyadej in 1987, the second in honor of the 60th anniversary of Queen Sirikit and 1992. Two beautiful chedis stand high in the mountains opposite each other. The architectural style of these chedis is not like ancient temples, it is a modern vision of Buddhist art. Tiled materials are successfully combined with numerous mosaics that are very beautifully executed in the old Khmer style. The color range of building materials successfully combines several bright colors, the facing materials are carefully and skillfully selected, which is why the view of the pagodas is not only beautiful, but also very well-groomed. Both pagodas, as well as the territory of a very impressive park here, are similar to the place where they appeared. The gardens of the park are densely planted with ornamental plants, skillful compositions include wooden bridges, cozy benches and originally trimmed trees, and the relief helps to appreciate the beauty created. The lush vegetation of this place provides an abundance of colors, colors and shapes. Without a doubt, this park can compete with European gardens such as Versailles, for example.
Top Doi Inthanon
There is no observation deck on top. Here is a weather station, and a small garden is broken, completely overgrown with moss, and in its very center is an obelisk covered with moss. By order of King Chulalongkorn, who visited the mountain in 1915, the ashes of his father, King Inthanon, 7 of the reigning prince of Chiang Mai (1870-1897), rest here, says a plaque.
Since the military built new roads in the national park, including to the top of Doi Inthanon, now it is convenient to travel by car or motorcycle. For tourists who want to not only see, but also come into contact with nature, there is a 3-day hiking route that starts from the Mae Ya waterfall. On the first night, tourists spend the night in the village of Karen or in the woods, on the second night, the tourists spend the night in the village of Karen Tfupn, on the third night, the tourists spend the night in Pang Somdey before reaching the highest point of Doi Inthanon.
The highest point of Thailand is marked with a special sign. At the top there are souvenir shops and cafes.
Recommend accommodation on Doi Inthanon AT https://thegarden-th.com