Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park (Doi In) is a national park in the Chiang Mai Province of Northern Thailand.

Understand

This is a place well worth a visit when you are in Chiang Mai. It is easily done in a day trip. It is about 115 km from Chiang Mai.

Doi In is the highest mountain in Thailand, at 2,599 m (8,527 ft), just a little higher than Australia's highest (Mt Koszciusko) which is 7,310 ft (2,228 m), and although it is relatively cold up at the summit, it never snows.

Landscape

Doi Inthanon is a part of the Himalayas, which ranges across Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and ends in northern Thailand. Complex mountain ranges and a mild climate characterise the area with a moist and dense summit forest. Doi Inthanon is interesting for ornithologists. The summit forest is the source of important tributaries of the Mae Ping River. Meo and Karen hill tribes inhabit the park.

Climate

Temperatures are about 10-12 degrees Celsius during the day (there is a thermometer at the top).

Get in

To get there, you can either drive yourself, hire a car through your hotel or a travel agent, join an organised minibus tour, or be a little adventurous and hire a songthaew for the day.

Travel 58 kilometres west of Chiang Mai via Hwy 108 to Chom Thong, then turn right into Hwy 1009 and continue a further distance of 48 kilometres along Hwy 1009 to the summit. A good asphalt road takes visitors up, but is rather steep, thus the vehicle must be in a good condition. Visitors pay an entrance fee at km8.

A songthaew (two bench pickup truck) will cost you about 2,000 baht for the day, including petrol (ask first!).

A minibus tour will cost around 1,100-1,200 baht with an English-speaking guide. The trip includes a visit to the peak, two waterfalls, twin chedis, a royal development project, and a Karen village (somewhat uninspiring). The price includes all entry fees. It is far cheaper to book direct with the tour operator rather than through a hotel or agent. The tour is from approximately 08:30 to 16:30. All fees and a so-so lunch are included and you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel (costs as of Jun 2011 using Journey Tours of Chiang Mai). The Journey Tours operation is professional and has very safe drivers. It is likely the other operators have similar standards. Make sure you book your planned itinerary with all potential stops before you hire the driver or he will charge you extra.

It takes two to three hours to get there.

Fees/Permits

You will pay an entry fee for each person (not the driver, if it is a hire), and also the car entry fee. For foreigners the fee is 200 baht, for Thais, 20 baht, and for the car, 30 baht.

See

Visiting Doi Inthanon is possible throughout the year. The best period for viewing waterfalls is May-Nov. The best period for viewing wild flowers is Dec-Feb. The best period for ornithologists is Nov-Mar.

As you drive up the winding road to the top it will become steadily cooler. At the top you can walk around and check out the sights there. There is a shop for souvenirs and also for drinks and snacks, as well as toilets. In the rainy season, there are near-perpetual clouds here, so you might see little.

On your way back you will stop at the twin chedis (stupas) on the right side part way down near the top. The view is tremendous, the chedis are well worth a look, and the gardens are beautiful. There is an entry fee, but it is reasonable. Escalators are available to those who do not want to walk up the many steps.

On the way back to Chiang Mai, you may also want to visit either the Ganesh Temple/Museum (well-worth a look even if you are not Hindu or Buddhist),or the umbrella factory (very touristy.)

Do

There are nature trails on Doi Inthanon, each providing different views of the diversity of plants, reforestation, the importance of tributaries, the origin of caves, hill tribe agriculture, and bird watching. Walking trails range from 1 to 8 km. Each trip needs approval from the Chief of the National Park and a trekking leader is needed. The service is obtained at the park office at km31.

Sleep

Lodging

Accommodation, restaurants, and camping sites are available at the park headquarters at km31. Tel: +66 53 355728, +66 53 268550, +66 2 5620760 for reservations.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, August 22, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.