Doi Inthanon National Park is home to the highest mountain in Thailand, nature trails, stunning gardens, and incredible waterfalls. It is absolutely one of the best day trip worthy spots from Chiang Mai.
Some of you might be skeptical about hiking the “highest” mountain in Thailand, but luckily you don’t have to hike the whole mountain to go to the top. Because you can get almost to the top with a car.
Yes, sure, Doi Inthanon is a mountain, but there’s a lot more to do in this national park than hiking. Here are the highlights you can’t miss during Doi Inthanon National Park tour.
1. Doi Inthanon National Park Overview & Tips
Located to the south of Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain (2,565m) in Thailand. It is a must-see place for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
From Chiang Mai: It takes about 2 hours to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai old city.
How to get there:
There are three options which are A) renting your own vehicle, B) hiring a driver for the day, C) joining a tour.
Option A can be risky unless you’re a skilled driver as the traffic in Thailand can get crazy, and the roads are steep.
Option B is a good option if you prefer to make your own itinerary, though it can get a little bit pricey. But if you are traveling with a big group you can share the cost.
Option C is the easiest way for a day tour as everything will be taken care for you. You can simply just get on the van from your hotel in Chiang Mai, and it will take you to the key points of the park. Here’s one of the best Doi Inthanon full day tours you can join.
- Start the tour early: It is best to depart before 9:00 AM to make the most of the day at the park.
- Bring warm clothes: The temperature at the peak is surprisingly cool even during the daytime.
- Wear comfy shoes: The Doi Inthanon tour requires a lot of walking on uneven paths.
- Bring some snacks and water: There are not many places to eat there, it is recommended to bring some snacks.
2. The Highest Point in Thailand
In Doi Inthanon, you can stand at the highest point in Thailand where you can reach by car. When you get there, don’t forget to take a picture with the sign marking the highest point in Thailand.
3. Ang ka Nature Trail
Once you stand at the highest point of Thailand, move on and hit the trail in the forest. Ang ka Nature Trail is only 360 meters long, thus it won’t take long from start to finish. It is one of most serene treks visitors can do in Doi Inthanon with its moss-covered wooden trails.
4. Royal Pagodas and the Gardens
These are the most recognizable landmarks of Doi Inthanon National Park. The royal pagodas are located just a few minutes drive away from Ang ka Nature Trail.
Phra Mahathat Napha Methanidon (King’s Pagoda) and Phra Mahathat Naphaphon Bhumisiri (Queen’s Pagoda) were built to commemorate the birthdays of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his Queen. The pagodas are surrounded by a beautiful garden offering stunning views.
Admission to the pagodas is normally included in the tour, but people who visit the park on their own need to pay an additional 40 BAHT to enter this section of the park.
5. The Waterfalls
In Doi Inthanon, you can find some spectacular waterfalls. If you visit there during the rainy season (from June to October), you will likely see a better view of its waterfalls. Unfortunately, most of the waterfalls don’t allow swimming, but that’s how it can be preserved.
6. Karen Hill Tribe Villages
One of the things you are able to do in Doi Inthanon national park is to visit hill tribe villages. When you visit the Karen hill tribe village in Doi Inthanon, you will be welcomed into the village with locally grown coffee. Coffee is actually one of the village’s signature products. Also, you can learn more about their history and heritage as you explore the village.
Visiting the hill tribe villages is quite controversial these days as some consider the villages to be too commercialized and criticize it as a “human circus”. On the other hand, there’s also a perspective of seeing the tribes making their living and it’s okay to support it. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to visit the hill tribes or not based on your own beliefs.
7. Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
If you want to have real hiking experience in Doi Inthanon, then the Kew Mae Pan trail is the one you should try. It is not the highest point in Doi Inthanon, but it offers the most beautiful panoramic view you will ever see in Thailand.
This 3km trail takes about 2-3 hours to finish, which is suitable for beginner level hikers. However, it is not recommended for people who cannot climb stairs because some parts of the trail require uphill hiking. Also, it is only accessible with a guide and the guide fee is 200 Baht for a group (less than 10 people).
Take note that Doi Inthanon National Park is opened all year but Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is closed from June to October due to the raining season.
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