Also known as “The Roof of Thailand“, Doi Inthanon National Park covers an area of 482.4 square kilometers in three districts of Chiang Mai province. The area is covered with lush green forest, waterfalls and the drive up the mountain rewards you with amazing views. Cool climate lovers should visit the park during December to February, which is winter and you also get a chance to see the blossom of Siamese sakura flowers all over the area.
The park is part of the Himalayan mountain range, elevation ranges between 800 and 2565 meters with the highest peak at Doi Inthanon which is the highest mountain in Thailand. The main attractions of the park are the summit of Doi Inthanon for its spectacular views of early morning, several waterfalls, few trails and the two chedis (stupas) dedicated to the king and queens 60th birthday anniversaries. Most of the waterfalls within the park have relatively good flow of water all year round but the best season for water flow is during the rainy season from May to November. One of seasonal attractions of the park is the blossoms of Siamese sakura flowers covering trees in pink during late January and Februari. The park is also one of top destination in the country for birders.
Attractions of Doi Inthanon
Park Headquarters & main campsite
Doi Inthanon Headquarters is situated at km 30.8 near the Ban Khun Klang village of Hmong (Meo) tribe. 500 meters west from the Headquarter there is a market with few restaurants around, there is also an ATM nearby Headquarter.
The camping area and bungalows are 500 meters north from the junction nearly 400 meters east of the Headquarter. Camping gears can be rent at the entrance to the campsite. There are no restaurants in that area, the nearest options are around the Headquarter and the market.
Doi Inthanon Summit
Located at km 48 at the end of road 1009, with 2565 meters above the sea level it is the highest peak in Thailand.
There is a shorter nature trail opposit the ranger station on the main road to a sphagnum bog, a good location for birdwatching of some exciting highland birds.
Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon
Two Chedis on the main road 5 km wouth from the top of the main summit of Doi Inthanon. Naphamethinidon, meaning ‘by the strength of the land and air’ was build in 1987 to honour 60th birthday aniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Naphaphonphumisiri, meaning ‘being the strength of the air and the grace of the land’ was build in 1992 to honour 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit.
Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail
Starting from the main road just few hundred meters north of the two chedis, this 2.5 km long circular trail must be accompanied by a Hmong Tribe guide. The hike is moderate to walk, clear and well maintained. Part of the trail is along a mountain ridge with beautiful view over west. The very rare Chinese gorals are relatively common along this trail but sighting is rare, a lot of attempts needed to eventually see one. It costs 200 THB to hire a guide, there are always few of them waiting at the trailhead on the main road.
Due to many resident birds Doi Inthanon is a good place to see birds most of the year apart from July to October. The best time is around February to April when the big winter migration to Thailand happens which also is the breeding period.
See the markers on the map for few spots with info about typical birds found in the area.
Doi Inthanon National Park has number of waterfalls, most of them easily accessible from the main road through the national park, only few hundred meters off from the road. The waterflow is good all year round but most impressive during the rainy season May to November. During the cold and hot seasons the water is more clear and more suitable for swimming if possible.
Mae Chaem Road
The road west from the junction to the road to summit at km 38 has several great views.
A limestone cave not too far away from the visitor center, accessible from km 9 (1 km north from checkpoint at km 8) with less than an hours trekking from the main road. It has two chambers with a spacious one in entrance.
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