Doi Inthanon National Park Tour
Doi Inthanon National Park is the highest summit in the country and during the winter season the temperature on the top of the mountain can drop to 0 Degrees Celcius. This mountain is the endpoint for the Himalayan mountain range which traverses Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand; it reaches 2,565 meters above the sea level. Within an hour drive of Chiang Mai town are numerous places that can provide that picture perfect postcard spot. Due to the difference of temperatures in high and low altitudes, the mountain supports more than one type of forest: the lower part of the mountain has plants that grow with light and heat whereas the top part of the mountain has plants that grow with humidity and the cold. Rare plants grow in these forests including Sphagnum Moss and the Delavay Rhododendron.
Doi Inthanon National Park has much to offer visitors besides its natural beauty. For centuries the area has been home to various hill tribes who still reside there and maintain their ancient way of life. At the base of the peaks you will find Hmong villages, where the people continue to tend their fields as they have done for hundreds of years. The only change is the crop. Thanks to the Royal Project, these people have switched from cultivating opium poppies and now grow other commercial crops such as vegetables and flowers. Visitors are welcome to the Royal Project, which is located right near the rangers’ station.
The high elevation and abundance of water have blessed Doi Inthanon with a rich biodiversity that is unique in Thailand. Its lush forests include Moist Evergreen, Pine Forest and Mixed Deciduous. At the base of the mountains cleared agricultural land is interspersed with deciduous trees, which lose their leaves at the coming of the dry season. At higher elevations the deciduous forests give way to large swathes of tropical evergreen, which maintain their emerald hue all year round. Doi Inthanon is home to a large and colourful array of flowers, as well. Vanda Orchids, Phycastylis and Rhododendron can be found growing wild all over the park.
Inthanon National Park is also home to a wide variety of animal species. Although many of the large animals are no longer found in the park it is still home to a number of different species. Asiatic Black Bears, Barking Deer and Chinese Flying Squirrels can be seen, living alongside a large variety of primates including Gibbons, Macaques, Leaf Monkeys and over 30 species of bats. Doi Inthanon National Park is also the best locale in Thailand for bird watching, with over 300 different species making their homes among the trees.
Things to do in Doi Inthanon National Park
Trek at Doi Inthanon : This is a real jungle trek for nature lovers and for people who wanted to learn about nature, culture, and walking for botanical, birds, insects and butterflies. Otherwise it’s suitable for people who want to have plenty of time to spend in the forest and in the villages, to be with people with no botanical, birds, insects and butterflies. Otherwise it’s suitable for people who want to have plenty of time to spend in the forest and in the villages, to be with people with no rush and away from civilization.
Where to trek ?
Ban Mae Klang Luang is an ethnic community of Karen (or Pa Paa Ka Yor in ethnic Karen). The fourth highest peak of Doi Intanon (Intanon Mountain) is in the boundary of this village. This peak is situation at an elevation of 1,88l meters above sea level. The forest landscapes in Ban Mae Klang Luang area is coniferous forests alternate with hill evergreen forest. Ban Mae Klang Luang trekking trails are ideal for naturalists seeking for peaceful moments or getting to know villagers’ way of life.
Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is one of the most beautiful and rewarding walks in the park is a new trail which begins a short distance up the main summit road from Napamaytanidol. This short trail, winding through pristine forest for about 2.5 km, allows the hiker to experience the natural beauty of the forest at first hand. Rhododendrons, commonly found in the Himalayas, are found along the trail and they are in full bloom from Dec-Feb. Trekkers on Kew Mae Pan route should seek permission from the park headquarters at km31 for safety reasons. A group of not more than 15 people is recommended. Food consumption is not allowed while trekking. This nature trail is closed for reforestation from 1 Jun-30 Oct.
Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail, a combination of the highland peat swamp and hill evergreen forest situated at the mountaintop, features a special eco-system found nowhere else. Follow a 400-m-long wooden bridge; you will be introduced to a unique atmosphere of the Himalaya.vAncient tall lichen-clad trees hidden amid seas of fog and rare species of flora and fauna together with hundreds of birds have enticed visitors to the Ang Ka for many years.The birds’ annual feast begins in the cold season when wild flowers, especially red Rhododendrons, dotted the forests. Green-tailed sunbirds, chestnut-tailed minlas, rufous-winged fulvettas and several others are commonly found here. This is a real bird lovers’ paradise.
Summit of Doi Inthanon : Almost at the top of the mountain the road will terminate at a car park from here it is a short 5 minute walk to Thailand’s highest point and the true peak of Doi Inthanon. There is a large sign marking this posit and having your picture taken under this seems to be the most popular activity. The peak is still well forested so there are no views from this point, you will get better views a bit further down the mountain and the Royal Pagodas.
Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon : The King and Queen Chedis: Erected in 1987 and 1992 respectively, the King and Queen Chedis are located on the summit of the mountain. The chedis are popular among locals who come here to offer their prayers along with flowers and incense sticks as a way of showing respect to the royal couple. The views are stunning and the gardens are breath taking. There are escalator services for those who do not want to make the climb up to the summit. There is an entrance fee of 40 Baht.
Hmong Market : you shouldn’t miss shopping for handmade products, temperate vegetables, flowers and freshly picked fruits from tribal sellers dressed in colourful embroidered costume at Hmong Market. They wear Black trousers with a dark jacket with embroidered collars and green, white and blue stripes on their long sleeves. Traditional rice growing and gardens in the hills is being replaced by emphasis on other cash crops cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries which were introduced as a substitute for opium growing. Hmong are involved in several royal projects such as the Doi Inthanon Royal Project which focus on crop substitution.
Royal Agricultural Research Station : A project initiated by his Majesty King Bhumipol, The Royal Agricultural research Station was initiated to help raise the living standards of local hill tribes who reside in the park (mainly Karen and Hmong). Of interest to the visitor would be a walk around the research greenhouses displaying research in progress of flowering plants , fruit trees and other marketable crops. From the grounds of the research station an impressive cascading waterfall can be viewed in the distance.
Khun Wang Cherry Blossom : If speak of ”Sakura” are you still thinking about Japan? But in reality, the beautiful cherry blossoms, Sakura isn’t being seen only in Japan. Several people commented that a ”phaya Sua flower” which crops up at Chiang Mai Royal Agricultural research Center (Khun Wang), Chiang Mai, Mae Wang is as beautiful as Sakura in Japan. Therefore, it is known as the cherry blossoms, Sakura even in Thailand now.
Siriphum Waterfall : The Waterfall was formerly called “Lao Lee Waterfall”, which was named after the headman of a nearby tribesman village. After that Mr.Ror.Vor. Jakthong Thongyai, a former Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, named the Waterfall “Siriphum” to enhance the prestige of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen. The Waterfall is located near km 31, Chomthong-Doi Inthanon Raod. This is an imressively high waterfall visible from a long ways off.
Wachirathan Waterfall : The spectacular Wachiratharn Waterfall is located in Doi Inthanon National Park, halfway up the mountain. This scenic spot is excellent for picnics and is reached by a short, easy trail from the parking area. The waterfall has a steep drop of 50 meters with a large cascade plummeting over the edge into a deep pool below, creating a misty veil of great beauty.
Mae Klang Waterfall : The Mae Klang Waterfall is the first waterfall you might encounter on the road going up to the top of Doi Inthanon National Park. Because of its easy access, this unusual waterfall has been visited by Thai people for many years and they continue to come in large numbers on any sunny day in the year to swim, picnic and relax in this beautiful setting. The rapids and waterfall spill over a wide exposure of granite and can be approached closely. Visitors are asked to exercise caution around the waterfall area and while swimming either above or below the falls. A well-maintained trail leads up the side of the waterfall, and continues to the Visitor Center and beyond.
Mae Ya Waterfall : Mae Ya Waterfall, or Nam Tok Mae Ya, is one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls in Chiang Mai. The fresh water splashes down over 30 tiers of rocks and boulders into small clear pools. Mae Ya Waterfall is a beautiful, fanning cascade, dropping down an ever-widening series of steps. The water tumbles down a 100 m cliff in a series of spectacular leaps and National Park officials estimate that the Mae Ya River plunges more than 250 m at this point. The main falls is about 40 meters high.
How to get to Doi Inthanon National Park : To get to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai take route 108 towards Chomthong. Follow this road for 57 km (35 miles) and turn right onto route 1009 (Chomthong-Doi Inthanon Road). Follow this road for 31km (19 miles) and you will arrive at the entrance of the park (trip time approximately 90 minutes). Once in the park you can explore it on foot or in a vehicle. While the climb is tiring, it is a great way to experience the entire park. The ranger station at the entrance to the park is well equipped and can provide maps, guides and information on the park.
Entrance Fee : The entrance fee is 300 THB for foreigners (children 150 THB) and 50 THB for local tourists (children 20 THB).