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Guide for the best Doi Inthanon trekking
Nearly every tourist in Thailand makes a visit to Chiang Mai to enjoy its nightlife, delicious food, and cute elephants.
However, if you truly want to experience Thailand, you need to head past Chiang Mai. The scene outside the city is filled with mountains lush with life.
The ideal way to indulge in nature is to make a trip to Doi Inthanon National Park. The Doi Inthanon National Park is filled with a diverse collection of plants and animals, it also has the highest mountain in Thailand.
The location is filled with plenty of trekking trails, thus you will be able to find one ideal for you even if you are not extremely fit.
Using the guide below, you will be able to plan your perfect trip to Doi Inthanon. Everything from how you can get there, to what sites you can enjoy, to the most famous trekking trails are listed. There are a few tips too, to make the best out of your stay there.
The Doi Inthanon National Park lies just two hours away from Chiang Mai, it is known as the “Roof of Thailand”, as it is the highest point in all of Thailand.
The park is also the largest national park in Thailand. The park is known for its lush forests, beautiful waterfalls, and long hiking trails.
You will be able to see spots that have been untouched by humans. The region also has a much lower temperature than other parts of Thailand due to its elevation.
You will be able to see many different types of mammals and birds in the park, there are actually 362 different species of birds for you to glimpse.
The park is also home to two chedis, these are religious monuments that have been dedicated to the royal family of Thailand. You will also come across many rustic villages during treks, these lands have been home to the Karen Hilltribe people for centuries.
How to reach Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai
There are actually many ways through which you can get to Doi Inthanon, each has its own pros and cons
- By motorbike: This is a fun way to get to the top, but you need to be a skilled motorbike rider
- By private car: While this option is comfortable, it is very expensive
- By group tour: This is probably the best option as a guide will accompany you and take you to the best sites of the park
- By public transport: This is not a great option as you will not be able to travel to most locations, thus it is best to avoid this method.
Attractions in Doi Inthanon
Here are the top sights and attractions in Doi Inthanon
- King and Queen Pagodas: These two beautiful pagodas have built just below the summit of Doi Inthanon by the Royal Air Force to celebrate the 60th birthday of the King and Queen of Thailand. These chedis, or pagodas, are officially known as Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphamethanidon. On a clear sunny day, they offer one of the best views in the park.
- Doi Inthanon Summit: The summit of Doi Inthanon is quite easy to reach. You will be able to travel within 50 meters of the summit by using a vehicle, the rest you will be able to easily walk. The summit has a shrine dedicated to one of the last kings of Chiang Mai. While the view from the summit is limited due to the surrounding mist, you can walk down to the Pagodas to get a better view. There is also a cafe there for refreshments.
- The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon: This Royal Project was set up back in 1979 to promote the production of vegetables and flowers among the local community. This project also has an exquisite flower garden that is nearly one kilometer square in the area. It also has an amazing restaurant that cooks delicious dishes using fresh produce.
The best trails to trek in Doi Inthanon
Doi Inthanon is filled with numerous hiking trails, it will take you days if not weeks to complete them all. The best trails among them have been listed below
- Pha Dok Siew mini trekking: This trail is located about halfway to the summit of Doi Inthanon. While going on this trail you will be able to witness a number of mesmerizing waterfalls, green coffee fields, lush rice terraces, and even the Royal Project’s flower plantations. The trail also goes past a small village inhabited by Karen tribals. You, however, need to be accompanied by a hill tribe guide on this trail.
- Ang Ka Luang nature trail: This trail gives you one of the easiest accesses to the cloud forests of Doi Inthanon. It is located right new to the 48 km mark. It features a 360-meter long circular pathway that gives an incredible view of the mesmerizing lush forests. Take care while walking across the pathway as it can be slippery.
- Kaew Mae Pan nature trail: This trail is for people who are seeking a little bit of an adrenaline rush. While the trail is only 2.5 km long, it is quite challenging. The trail is actually located just a few hundred meters away from the king and queen Pagodas. It offers a spectacular view of an amazing landscape, it is even more magical during sunrises. You must be accompanied by a hill tribe guide on this trail.
Tips to make the best out of your trip to Doi Inthanon
- Avoid long holidays as the park can get crowded
- You will be able to find an ATM right next to the park’s headquarters
- Ensure that you pack enough food and water to last the day
- Do not swim in any of the falls as there is a risk of flash floods
- Ensure that you start early to catch the location at its best.