Doi Inthanon National Park is set in the mountainous region west of Chaing Mai. It contains the Doi Inthanon mountain which climbs to the highest point of Thailand, its peak sitting 8,415 feet above sea level. Due to the high altitude of the park, the temperatures remain fairly low all year round, offering a refreshing break from the usual heat of Thailand.
Doi Inthanon is a popular tourist destination. It is a park of great natural beauty and historical significance, with rugged mountains, lush forests, crashing waterfalls, sprawling agriculture, charming villages, diverse wildlife, royal monuments, and a pleasing selection of cafes and restaurants. Over the years, the park has embraced the rise in tourism, and a number of roads and pathways have been built, making the terrain easily accessible to visitors.
Getting to Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon is pretty easy to get to, especially if you are based in Chaing Mai, although there is convenient public transportation from Bangkok to Doi Inthanon. If you wish to take public transport, there are songthaews (passenger vehicles adapted from pick up trucks) which take 2.5 – 3 hours to reach the park from Chaing Mai. Be warned that songthaews are not known for their comfort!
You can also get there in a car or motorbike. A drive from Chaing Mai will take approximately 90 minutes, and once there you are welcome to use your vehicle to explore the park. The best option is to book it as part of a package tour. We will get you there quickly and comfortably, and show you the best of what Doi Inthanon has to offer. You can find out more in our 14 Days Ultimate family package tour
Things to Do, Places to See
There are many exciting attractions waiting for you once you arrive at Doi Inthanon national park. From beautiful mighty pagodas to vibrant markets, there is something for everyone. No matter what your age is, You’ll find your own fascinating interests around this park.
So here are a few of the very ‘must-see’ spots you do not want to miss on your Doi Inthanon tour:
Doi Inthanon Twin Pagodas
The Twin Pagodas, or Two Chedis, are definitely a must-see. Built roughly 330 feet from one another, they were erected in honor of the King and Queen’s 60th birthdays. They are a sterling example of Thai craftsmanship, bearing striking Buddha images and intricately tiled murals. They are right next to a beautiful garden and are close to the summit of Doi Inthanon. The views, especially at sunset, are quite unforgettable.
The Royal Project
In 1979, efforts were made to persuade local communities against making their livings from growing opium. The goal was to educate them in the growing of vegetables and flowers. Known as the Royal Project Inthanon, it has since developed into a stunning flower garden, measuring at roughly 1km2. You can spend hours wandering the pathways, absorbing the multitude of colors and smells. There is also a restaurant on-site using ingredients fresh from the gardens, as well as a gift shop and a coffee shop.
There are many waterfalls to see at Doi Inthanon, but one of the most impressive is the Wachirathan waterfall. Towering at roughly 130 feet, the waterfall welcomes many daily admirers thanks to its convenient location and ease of access.
Karen Hill Tribe
For a strong dose of local culture, you can pay a visit to the Karen hill communities. At Mae Klang Luang, the villagers grow and sell organic coffee – you would be hard-pressed to find a fresher cup of Joe. You might as well want to visit Ban Mae Ab Nai, where beautiful Karen weaving and textiles can be purchased.
Beautiful Nature Trails
With four separate nature trails ready to explore, Doi Inthanon is truly a trekker’s paradise. The Ang Ka Luang nature trail is just down the road from the summit of Doi Inthanon mountain. It is a short, circular boardwalk trail, taking you through a dense, mossy, and magical forest – very popular.
The Kew Mae Pan nature trail is located close to the Twin Pagodas and is a circular trail roughly 2.5km long. The path takes you along a mountain ridge, where you will be immersed in a cloud forest ecosystem. The views across the mountains are some of the best that Thailand has to offer. Be aware that you can only walk this trail if accompanied by a local guide. And above all, that the trail is closed between June and October each year.
One more hiking spots you would not want to miss is, of course, the trek up to the Doi Inthanon summit. It’s a challenging hike, but you can actually drive most of the way. For early birds, the summit is a wonderful place to watch the sunrise. For those who prefer to sleep in, we highly recommend it as well, and definitely worth the effort.