At a height of 2565 meters above sea level, the Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in Thailand. This high an altitude ensures that temperatures at the peak are refreshingly cool all year round and tip just below freezing point during the cool season of the region. Situated at the peak is the Doi Inthanon National Park that consists of rugged mountainous terrain and a lush tropical forest dotted with mighty rivers and a scenic waterfall. There can be no doubt that this park is a true jewel of the beauty of nature.
The park has a well-protected status of being a sanctuary for a wide variety of animal species and is said to be the best venue in Thailand to go bird watching. About 362 species of birds make their home at the park, and many of them are not easily found elsewhere in Thailand. The diversity of the plant and animal species at Doi Inthanon does not end there. The park has been home to generations of the Northern Hill tribes as well. Recent efforts allowed these villages to preserve their traditional cultures while co-existing with modern developments such tourism and the Bhumidol Dam.
The peak is not only a famous destination for its natural beauty but also because of its historical significance to the country. Monuments locally called Chedis can be found at the peak of the mountain are dedicated to Their Royal Majesties, the King and the Queen. Accommodations have also been built for those who would like to indulge in the peak’s beauty for a longer period of time. The Royal Park Service provides a few chalets and bungalows on the park grounds while campsites can be found near the ranger stations. Advance booking is required as these accommodations are limited in number. Visitors can also opt to stay at the nearby villages of Chomtong, Hot and Mar Chaem.
The park has been equipped to cater to the region’s booming tourism with eating and drinking areas dedicated to the convenience of its visitors. The rugged terrain has access to multiple pathways and roads to make the park more accessible to its visitors. Even so, development of the peak’s natural beauty has been controlled to preserve what nature has bestowed upon it.
Take Route 108 towards Chomtong when getting to Doi Inthanon from Chiang Mai. Follow this specific road for 57 kilometers more until you reach Route 1009 and make a right at the Chomthong-Doi Inthanon Road. Follow 31 kilometers more and proceed to the entrance of the park. Travel time is approximately 90 minutes from Chiang Mai. Once within park grounds, visitors can opt to explore the park by foot or by use of a vehicle. While climbing can be tiring, it can be a great way to experience the park. A ranger station can be found at the entrance of the park and is well-equipped with maps, guides and information about the park.
The Doi Inthanon National Park is truly a great example of a rare scenic beauty with the wonders of both nature and man’s contributions to his environment. Pay a visit to the highest mountain in Thailand and be amazed by the product of this wonderful combination.