Doi Inthanon National Park is a stunning natural wonder located in Thailand. The park is named after Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand, standing tall at 8,415 feet (2,565 meters). The park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Doi Inthanon National Park offers visitors a chance to explore the lush, green forests, stunning waterfalls, and picturesque landscapes. Visitors can hike through the park’s many trails, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The park is also home to several hill tribes, and visitors can learn about their unique cultures and traditions.
Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer stay, Doi Inthanon National Park has something for everyone. From camping and trekking to sightseeing and cultural experiences, there are countless activities to enjoy. So, if you’re planning a trip to Thailand, be sure to add Doi Inthanon National Park to your itinerary.
Why Visit Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, hikers, and adventure seekers. Located just 37 miles from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, this national park is home to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon, standing at 8,415 feet (2,565 meters) high.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities in Doi Inthanon National Park, including hiking, trekking, bird watching, and exploring waterfalls. The park offers several hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty, making it a great destination for both experienced hikers and beginners.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Twin Royal Pagodas, which were built to commemorate the 60th birthdays of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. These pagodas offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it a great spot for photography enthusiasts.
Another must-see attraction in Doi Inthanon National Park is the Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail, which takes visitors through a beautiful forest of rhododendrons and other flowering plants. The trail also offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and visitors can stop at several viewpoints along the way to take in the scenery.
For those interested in cultural experiences, a visit to the Karen Hill Tribe Village is a must. Visitors can learn about the traditional way of life of the Karen people, including their unique weaving techniques and coffee production.
Best Time to Visit
Doi Inthanon National Park is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on one’s preferences and priorities. The park experiences three distinct seasons – dry, wet, and smoky.
The dry season, which runs from December to April, is the most popular time to visit. During this time, the weather is cool and dry, making it ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. The skies are clear, and the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are spectacular. The air quality is also at its best during this time, making it a great time for those with respiratory issues.
The wet season, which runs from May to November, is characterized by frequent showers and thunderstorms. The rainfall can make hiking trails slippery and muddy, but it also brings lush greenery and vibrant flora to the park. The waterfalls are at their most impressive during this time, and the streams and rivers are full. The wet season is also the best time for birdwatching, as the park is home to over 300 species of birds.
The smoky season, which runs from February to April, is the least desirable time to visit. During this time, farmers in the surrounding areas practice slash-and-burn agriculture, which creates a haze that can obscure the views and affect air quality. It is not recommended to visit the park during this time.
How to Get There
Doi Inthanon National Park is located in Northern Thailand and is easily accessible from Chiang Mai. Visitors can choose from several transportation options to get to the park.
Driving to Doi Inthanon is a popular option for those looking for a more independent and flexible mode of transportation. The park is approximately a 90-minute drive from Chiang Mai and is part of the Mae Hong Son Loop, a scenic route that passes through several picturesque towns and villages. Visitors can rent a car in Chiang Mai or join a guided tour that includes transportation.
Joining a guided tour is a convenient and hassle-free way to visit Doi Inthanon National Park. Many tour companies in Chiang Mai offer day trips to the park that include transportation, a guide, and entrance fees. Visitors can choose from group tours or private tours, depending on their preferences and budget.
By Public Transportation
For budget-conscious travelers, taking public transportation is a viable option. Visitors can take a yellow songthaew, a shared taxi, from Chiang Mai to the park for around 140 baht each way. However, this option may not be suitable for those who are not comfortable with long and winding roads.
Entrance and Fees
To enter Doi Inthanon National Park, visitors must pay an entrance fee. The fee is THB 300 for adults and THB 150 for children. There is no additional fee for vehicles.
Visitors can pay the fee at the park’s entrance checkpoint. The checkpoint is open from 5:30 am to 6:30 pm daily. It is important to note that the fee is valid for one day only. If visitors plan to stay overnight in the park, they will need to pay the fee again the following day.
The park accepts cash only, so visitors should make sure to bring enough Thai Baht with them. There are no ATMs or currency exchange facilities within the park.
It is recommended that visitors keep their entrance ticket with them at all times while in the park as they may be asked to present it at various locations.
Doi Inthanon National Park offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From hiking and trekking to bird watching, there is something for everyone.
Hiking and trekking are popular activities in Doi Inthanon National Park. The park has several trails that offer varying levels of difficulty, from easy walks to more challenging treks. Visitors can explore the park’s lush forests, waterfalls, and mountain peaks while enjoying the fresh air and stunning views.
Bird watching is another popular activity in Doi Inthanon National Park. The park is home to a diverse range of bird species, including the rare and endangered Green-tailed Sunbird. Visitors can spot birds along the park’s trails, at the park’s bird-watching stations, or by hiring a local guide.
In addition to hiking, trekking, and bird watching, Doi Inthanon National Park offers a range of other outdoor activities. Visitors can go camping, fishing, or take a leisurely walk around the park’s gardens and orchards. The park also has several picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Doi Inthanon National Park is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. The park offers a range of hiking trails that vary in difficulty and length, making it accessible for all levels of hikers. Here are some of the most popular hiking trails in Doi Inthanon National Park:
Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
The Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Doi Inthanon National Park. This trail is an easy 2-hour hike that takes you through a thick forest and opens up to a panoramic and unobstructed view of the landscape below. This trail is perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the park without having to hike for too long.
Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail
The Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail is a moderate hiking trail that takes you through a beautiful forest and ends at a stunning viewpoint. The trail is approximately 3.2 kilometers long and takes around 2 hours to complete. Along the way, you will see a variety of flora and fauna, including birds, butterflies, and wildflowers.
Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail
The Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail is a short and easy hiking trail that takes you through a beautiful forest of rhododendrons. This trail is only 360 meters long and takes around 30 minutes to complete. Along the way, you will see a variety of birds and butterflies, making it a great trail for birdwatchers.
Wildlife and Nature
Doi Inthanon National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife and flora. Visitors can explore the park’s nature trails to get a closer look at the park’s natural beauty. The park is home to several species of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
One of the most iconic animals found in the park is the Chinese goral. These small antelopes are known for their distinctive curved horns and are often spotted on the park’s nature trails. Visitors can also spot other mammals such as macaques, civets, and deer.
Birdwatchers will be pleased to know that Doi Inthanon National Park is home to over 360 species of birds. Visitors can spot birds such as the Himalayan buzzard, the white-browed shortwing, and the green-tailed sunbird. The park is also an excellent place to spot pheasants, with several species found in the park.
Reptile enthusiasts will also have plenty to see in Doi Inthanon National Park. Visitors can spot snakes such as the green pit viper and the keelback snake. Lizards such as the Asian water monitor and the Bengal monitor can also be seen in the park.
The park’s nature trails offer visitors the chance to explore the park’s natural beauty up close. One of the most popular trails is the Angka Nature Trail, which is a 2.5-kilometer loop trail that takes visitors through the park’s lush forest. The trail is home to several species of birds and offers visitors the chance to spot the Chinese goral.
Doi Inthanon National Park is home to several stunning waterfalls that are definitely worth a visit. Here are some of the most popular:
Wachirathan Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the park, and it’s easy to see why. With a height of over 80 meters, the waterfall is a sight to behold. Visitors can enjoy the view from a platform near the base of the falls, or take a short hike to the top for a different perspective. Swimming is not allowed due to the strong currents.
Siriphum Waterfall is another popular attraction in Doi Inthanon National Park. The waterfall is not as tall as Wachirathan, but it’s still a beautiful sight. Visitors can take a short hike to the base of the falls, or climb up to the top for a different view. Swimming is not allowed due to the strong currents.
Mae Ya Waterfall
Mae Ya Waterfall is located in the southern part of the park and is known for its multiple tiers. The waterfall has a total of 8 levels, with the highest tier reaching a height of over 30 meters. Visitors can swim in the pools at the base of the falls but should be careful as the rocks can be slippery.
Pha Dok Siew Waterfall Trail
The Pha Dok Siew Waterfall Trail is a short hike that takes visitors to a beautiful waterfall in the park. The trail is relatively easy and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Along the way, visitors can enjoy the lush greenery and the sound of the flowing water. The waterfall itself is not as big as some of the others in the park, but it’s still a lovely sight.
Camping and Accommodation
Doi Inthanon National Park offers visitors the opportunity to stay overnight and experience the beauty of the park at dawn and dusk. There are several options for camping and accommodation within the park.
The Dong Son campground is the main camping area in Doi Inthanon National Park. Visitors can rent camping gear on-site, including tents, sleeping bags, and mats. The campground is located amidst high pine trees and comes with bathroom facilities, including a hot shower. Visitors can pitch their tents at one of the set campsites.
For those who prefer more comfortable accommodation, there are several options within the park. The park headquarters offer several bungalows for rent, ranging from basic to more luxurious options. Visitors can also stay at the Mae Klang Luang village, which offers homestays and guesthouses.
There are also several accommodation options outside of the park, including hotels and guesthouses in the nearby town of Chom Thong.
Doi Inthanon National Park is surrounded by several local villages that offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the hill tribes. Visitors can explore the villages, interact with the locals, and learn about their customs and traditions.
Mae Klang Luang Village
Mae Klang Luang Village is a small hill tribe village located in the heart of Doi Inthanon National Park. The village is home to the Hmong people, who are known for their colorful clothing and intricate embroidery. Visitors can take a stroll through the village, visit the local market, and purchase handmade souvenirs.
One of the highlights of Mae Klang Luang Village is the Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail, which takes visitors through a beautiful forest to a viewpoint overlooking the village. The trail is easy to navigate and suitable for visitors of all ages.
Karen Village is another hill tribe village located near Doi Inthanon National Park. The village is home to the Karen people, who are known for their skilled weaving and unique culture. Visitors can observe the traditional weaving process and purchase handmade textiles and clothing.
One of the main attractions of Karen Village is the coffee plantations, where visitors can learn about the coffee-making process and taste the local brew. The village also offers several trekking trails that take visitors through beautiful forests and waterfalls.
Food and Drink
Visitors to Doi Inthanon National Park can find a variety of food and drink options available throughout the park.
For those looking for a quick and easy lunch, there are several small restaurants and food stalls located near the park entrance. These vendors offer a range of Thai dishes, including noodle soups, curries, and stir-fries. Visitors can also find a selection of snacks and drinks, such as fresh fruit and coconut water.
Coffee lovers will be pleased to know that there are a few coffee shops located within the park as well. These cafes serve up a range of hot and cold drinks, including coffee, tea, and smoothies. Many of these cafes also offer light snacks and desserts, making them a great spot to relax and recharge after a long day of exploring.
It’s important to note that while there are food and drink options available within the park, visitors should also bring their own water and snacks, especially if planning on hiking or spending an extended period of time in the park. Additionally, visitors with dietary restrictions or allergies may want to plan ahead and bring their own food to ensure they have suitable options available.
Cultural and Historical Sites
Doi Inthanon National Park is not only a natural wonderland, but it is also home to several cultural and historical sites that are worth exploring. Visitors can immerse themselves in Thai culture and history by visiting the park’s temples and pagodas.
The Twin Pagodas, also known as the King and Queen Pagodas, are two chedis located at the summit of Doi Inthanon. They were built to commemorate the 60th birthdays of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. The pagodas are beautifully designed and offer stunning views of the surrounding area. Visitors can climb up to the top of the pagodas to get a panoramic view of the park.
Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphapholphumisiri are two temples located in Doi Inthanon National Park. Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon is a beautiful temple that houses a holy relic of the Lord Buddha. The temple is also home to a large prayer hall that is adorned with intricate carvings and murals. Naphapholphumisiri is a modern temple that was built to honor the 60th birthday of Queen Sirikit. The temple is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.
Visitors to Doi Inthanon National Park can learn about Thai culture and history by visiting these cultural and historical sites. The Twin Pagodas and temples are must-see attractions that offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Thailand.
Viewpoints and Scenic Spots
Doi Inthanon National Park is a nature lover’s paradise, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can explore the park’s many viewpoints and scenic spots to take in the stunning scenery.
One of the most popular viewpoints in the park is the summit of Doi Inthanon, which stands at an impressive 2,565 meters above sea level. From here, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is also a great spot to watch the sunrise, as the early morning light illuminates the landscape in a spectacular display of colors.
Another must-see spot in the park is the rice fields, which offer a glimpse into the daily life of the local hill tribes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the fields, or simply sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
For those who love hiking, the park’s cloud forests offer a unique and fascinating experience. These forests are home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Visitors can explore the forest on foot, or take a guided tour to learn more about the flora and fauna.
The park is also home to several impressive rock formations, which have been sculpted by the forces of nature over millions of years. Visitors can marvel at these natural wonders, and imagine the powerful forces that created them.
The Royal Project
The Doi Inthanon Royal Project is a sustainable agricultural initiative that aims to provide alternative livelihoods for local communities while preserving the natural resources of the region. The project was initiated in 1979 by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and has since been expanded to cover an area of over 8,000 hectares.
The Royal Project features a variety of gardens where visitors can see the different crops and plants being grown. The gardens include a flower garden, a fruit orchard, and a vegetable garden. Visitors can also learn about the different agricultural practices being used in the project, such as hydroponics and organic farming.
In addition to the gardens, the Royal Project also has a research center where scientists and researchers study new agricultural techniques and develop new crop varieties. The research center also offers training programs for local farmers to help them improve their farming practices.
The Royal Project is not only a great place to learn about sustainable agriculture, but it also provides an opportunity to support local communities. Visitors can purchase fresh produce and handicrafts made by local farmers and artisans at the project’s market. By buying these products, visitors are directly supporting the livelihoods of the people who live in the area.
Tourist Information and Guides
Doi Inthanon National Park is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the natural beauty of Thailand. Visitors can choose to explore the park on their own or with the help of a guide. Guides are recommended for those who want to learn more about the park’s history and ecology.
There are several tour companies that offer guided tours of the park. These tours can be done as a group or as a private tour. Group tours are a great way to meet other travelers and can be more affordable than private tours. Private tours offer more flexibility and can be tailored to the interests of the group.
The park has a variety of things to do, including hiking, bird watching, and visiting waterfalls. Guides can help visitors navigate the park and find the best spots for these activities. They can also provide information about the park’s flora and fauna.
Visitors should be aware that there is an entrance fee to the park. The fee is 300 baht for foreigners and 50 baht for Thai nationals. The fee includes access to all areas of the park.
Overall, hiring a guide can enhance the experience of visiting Doi Inthanon National Park. Guides can provide valuable information about the park and help visitors make the most of their time there.