Doi Inthanon is the highest summit in the country. During the winter season the temperature on the top of the mountain can drop to a chilly 0 degrees celsius. This mountain, which is the endpoint for the Himalayan mountain range, traverses Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand; it reaches an impressive 2,565 meters above the sea level. Within an hour drive from Chiang Mai town are numerous places that can provide that picture perfect postcard spot.
Many activities are available at Doi Inthanon. First is the peak of Doi Inthanon. Once up here, you’ll be at the highest (and probably the coldest) point in Thailand. From this point, if you are interested in mountain hiking, villagers can take you on a long trek in the surrounding forest where you will meet with Karen and Hmong villages (this trek can take half day or full day). Nearby the peak of Doi Inthanon is a radar station belonging to the Thai Air Force and, next to it, a short nature trail which takes not more than 20 minutes. After that, make your way to the summit of Doi Inthanon (Phra Mahathat Chedi, Km. 41.5) where you will find the Great Holy Relics Pagoda of Nobhamethanidol and Nahapolbhumsiri constructed in 1987 by the Thai Air Force and the people of Thailand to honor His Majesty The Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Important Buddha’s relics are kept inside the two pagodas. From the exterior, you will see both pagodas with beautiful tiled murals. Visitors can also take magnificent panoramic view photographs of the surrounding area of Doi Inthanon.
The mountain of Doi Inthanon is probably one of the most beautiful and natural places in the country. A visit there can be a one day trip or it can be extended to a few days with nights over. The area offers overnight options such as camping or mountain style bungalow at the Royal Agricultural Station.
Doi Inthanon also houses some of the region’s most beautiful waterfalls. Some have calm pools where one can fully immerse oneself, while others are simply beautiful, shady spots to dip your toes.
The biggest waterfall is Mae Ya Waterfall, it is also one of ChiangMai’s most impressive. More than 230 meters high, it cascades down a steep and wide triangular shelf into a pool. Located only 500 meters from the parking area, there is a tented area with food on offer and it is a good setting for a icnic. Sirithan is another waterfall, medium in size it is about 40 meters high and drops down two large steps. From the main road there is a short jungle walk to access it and there is also a scenic viewing deck. Remember to take some warm clothes when visiting Doi Inthanon as it can be surprisingly chilly at times, especially at this period of the year.
Two other jewels of Doi Inthanon are the Siriphum Water fall and the Wachirathan Waterfall. Siriphum is an impressively tall waterfall accompanied by another thinner one. This waterfall towers high above the trees which, in December, are decorated with purple blooms. Views are beautiful from the road when
approaching the falls and the Siriphum Waterfall is located close to the Royal Agricultural Station, which gardens are worth a visit.
Other activities and places to visit in Doi Inthanon area include bird watching and hilltribe villages. And you can be sure to bring back beautiful memories from your trip to the top of Thailand.
- Night at the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon is about THB 1,800/night (large bungalow)
Reservation: 053-286 771-2
- Camping is about THB 200/nightall include.
- On cold days, especially winter, a thick cloud of fog covers the mountain. Drive with caution.
- Nature walks can be fairly steep and bridges are slippery, walk withcaution.