Doi Inthanon National Park
Chiang Mai Attractions | Chiang Mai attractions
Doi Inthanon National Park is home to Thailand's highest peak, Mt. Doi Inthanon, which climbs to more than 2,500 meters and offers superb views as well as stunning waterfalls and entertaining birdwatching.
The park is best visited between November and February, but remember the high mountain air can get quite chilly at any time, and it is advised you take a pullover.
There are three main waterfalls which can be fairly easily visited, Mae Klang, Wachiratan and Siriphum. Namtok Mae Klang is the largest of the three and the easiest to visit and with picnic and swimming possibilities it is a pleasant place to rest up. The next fall, Namtok Wachiratan, is nearly 21 km en-route to the top, and is supposedly the most powerful of the three but not as big as Mae Klang. Last but not least is Namtok Siriphum with a clear and serene fall, though hardly close to Niagara. It is probably the least visited of the three and the route takes you past a number of hilltribe settlements. These falls are very popular, especially at weekends, and there are numerous food stalls at the car park.
Last stop before the summit is Napamaytanidol Chedi which was built in 1989 to celebrate the King's 60th birthday. It is a very modern looking wat, worth a visit for some thing a bit different from the average temples you see everywhere.
Walking on Doi Inthanon
The easiest walk is the short Aangka Nature Trail near the visitor center at the Summit.
The best walk, however, is the Giw Mae Pan trail (approximately 4 km.) which starts and ends opposite the KM.42 stone (a board with a map has been put up at the start of the trail). The trail leads through evergreen forest before emerging onto a grassy range along the west facing ridge. Views on clear days are superb.
The area around the Mae Pan Falls (R1192 KM.6) is also pleasant for walking and camping, but permission is required to enter other areas of the park. The remaining mammal species that include primates, deer and small cats are under constant threat from encroachment and hunting.