We have taken the trip south from Chiang Mai for about 58 kilometers or 1.5 hours and this gets you to the highest point in Thailand and it can get very cold in winter. Part of the Himalayan mountain range, Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s tallest peak at 2,565 metres above the sea level. Doi Inthanon National Park covers an area of 482.4 square kilometers in three districts of Chiang Mai province. On the way you pass through some towns and villages.
A stop at the temple at Chom Thong, which is on the way to Doi Inthanon, is a usual break for us.
Cool climate lovers should visit the park during December to February, which is winter and you also get a chance to see the blossom of Siamese sakura flowers all over the area. Attractions in Doi Inthanon National Park include waterfalls, trecks and birdwatching. Food is available at some of the waterfall sites and are a nice place to have lunch and relax.
Namtok Mae Ya is one of the most beautiful cascades in Chiang Mai. Water flows from a 280-metre steep cliff onto different rock formations in a lower basin, creating a beautiful scene. Namtok Mae Klang is a 100-metre one-level waterfall located 8 kilometres from Highway No. 1009 junction and turn left onto an asphalt road for 500 metres. Tham Bori Chinda is a large cave located near Namtok Mae Klang, featuring dramatic stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Doi Inthanon Royal Project is in Khun Klang village close to the park headquarters. The project was initiated in 1979 to help the hill tribes to cultivate cash crops other than opium and train them on modern agricultural practices. Most produces are temperate zone plants. Flower plantations, a plant breeding research lab and flower plantations of hill tribes (Hmong) are open to visitors.
Doi Inthanon Peak has a cool climate all year round. It is also the where King Inthawichayanon’s stupa is located. He was the last king of Chiang Mai. Inthawichayanon, the last king of Chiang Mai, was concerned about the importance of forests and wanted to preserve the forests for future generations. He was so familiar with Doi Inthanon that he asked that part of his ashes be kept here. These are lovely areas with gardens to stroll and stop for afternoon refreshment.
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, hilltribe agriculture, and bird watching. Walking trails range from 1 to 8 kilometres. 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 Km. 31.
Another interesting day out of Chiang Mai to see the diverse countryside, the odd unusual site and cooler climates. One just never knows what they will come across that is interesting?