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Top 5 Cities in Northern Thailand
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3 Days in Chiang Mai
3 Days in Chiang Mai
July 19, 2018

Doi Inthanon National Park and Mountain

A visit to Doi Inthanon National Park and mountain is a popular day trip from Chiang Mai. Located approximately 1 hours drive south of Chiang Mai, it’s known as the ‘Roof of Thailand’  because the summit (at 2,565m above sea level) is  the highest point in Thailand. The national park spans an area of 242 km², and is actually the end point of the Himalayan mountain range which traverses through Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand.

Doi Inthanon is also famous for its variety of pristine species of flora and fauna. The higher altitude, and year-round cool climate means that the ecology is very different from that of the rest of low-lying tropical Thailand. It’s flora is mainly comprised of dewy evergreen forests, pine and a wide variety of bird species.

What to see at Doi Inthanon

On the drive from the foot of Doi Inthanon mountain to the summit, there are several natural attractions to see along the way.

Twin Royal Pagodas (Chedis)

Two striking royal pagodas erected in honour of the King and Queen, perched on one side of the mountain sit almost divinely in the clouds and offer a great view of Mae Chaem and the valley below. Set amongst manicured gardens, this stop sees a lot of Thai tourists and families visiting for the day.

Twin Royal Chedis at Doi Inthanon

Twin Royal Chedis at Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon Hiking

Kew Mae Pan Trail

Continuing a few hundred meters north from the royal pagodas, following the main road up to the summit, is the Kew Mae Pan Trail. This is a 2.5 km long circular trail which must be done with a Hmong hill tribe guide. The guides can usually be found waiting at the trail entrance, it costs approximately 200bt to hire a guide. The hike itself, is a moderate one with clear paths. Part of the trail is along a mountain ridge with sweeping views over the mountain range. Note -the trail is closed during the months of June – October.

Angkha Nature trail

At the summit of Doi Inthanon is Angkha Nature trail,  a flat and paved trail through pristine and dewy forest which takes 20 minutes to complete. This is more of a nature walk rather than a hike. Due to the higher altitude at the top and lower temperatures, the ecology on the Angkha Nature trail resembles more of that of a European forest rather than a sub-tropical one.

Doi Inthanon Waterfalls

There are several impressive waterfalls in the area. One of the first waterfalls on the drive up is Mae Klang waterfall. It has several tiers with the main waterfall cascading around 25 meters down. There is a viewing area at the waterfall , which is great for a photo opportunity. It’s accessible by an easy nature walk, and the waterfall is an ideal place for a picnic or just for a serene stop over on your day trip to the area.

Other spectacular waterfalls are Mae Ya Waterfall, a wide open staircase-like formation of limestone, with water cascading down. The foot of the waterfall is a popular spot for local families to take a picnic or wade in the water.

Wachiratharn waterfall  in contrast is a powerful and mighty waterfall, that drops straight down without any tiers. Due to the sheer strength of the current here, you can’t play in the water here, it’s only possible to view it from a fenced viewing platform .


Doi Inthanon is home to more than 370 bird species. It’s a popular spot for bird watchers and photographers.

Hill tribe villages and markets

Along the drive up, there are several hill tribe villages (mainly Karen hill tribe) scattered across the area and local roadside markets with hill tribe  vendors selling fresh produce and souvenirs.

The Best of Doi Inthanon

One of the most scenic and photographic spots in Doi Inthanon National Park (and the whole of Chiang Mai), is known amongst locals but still off the tourist radar. Pa Pong Pieng is a hamlet of rice terraces nestled in the mountains. There are no paved roads to the area, so reaching the rice terraces requires a few kilometres of driving through some muddy off-road tracks. To appreciate the full beauty of Pa Pong Pieng its best to spend an overnight there, when you can witness the sunset and sunrise amongst the rice paddies.

Pa Pong Pieng is best visited during rainy season (July-September), which is when the rice has just been planted, and the terraces are a deep green.


Pa Pong Pieng rice terrace

Pa Pong Pieng rice terrace


Doi Inthanon National Park – Entrance Fees

At the time of writing, the Doi Inthanon National Park Entrance fees are 300bt/adult and 150bt/child

Travel to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai

By Public Transport

Although there is a public transportation option from Chiang Mai city to Doi inthanon,  which are the yellow Song taews (local pick-up trucks), it’s not a direct service (changing Song taews at Chom Thong temple). They also only drop you off at the ticket counter.  So you’ll be able to get to the entrance of the national park, but not get around to see any of of the attractions (which are too spread out to walk between). Therefore the best way to see Doi Inthanon is by private transport (hiring a car and driver) or to do it as part of a tour.

By Tour

An pre-arranged tour  ensures best use of your time and visit to Doi Inthanon. For more information about a customised day tour to Doi Inthanon contact us

Useful Links:

 Getting to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai – Tripadvisor Forum post

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