Doi Inthanon National Park was the first forest park trip experience I visited in Thailand since before the Covid Pandemic. Before tripping to Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai, I had totally imagined the National Park to be like off the beaten path along with treacherous terrain.
Instead, the sprawling park was like a paradise garden with beautiful walkways, placid waterfalls, flora and fauna, tranquil bridges and nature trails. Perfect for tourists who love trekking, hiking and village stay in this stress-busting natural surroundings.
Thailand has tons of Parks, ranging from cluster of islands National Parks to forest and mountains all over the country. Having gone chasing waterfalls and learning about the ethnic Karen people, this getaway trip had truly been an experience for me.
DoiInthanon National Parkin northern Thailand is approximately 70km from Chiang Mai city. The highest peak in Thailand at 2,565m ( 8,415ft ) with stunning viewpoints, sunrise and sunset and much more.
While you’re still in Chiang Mai…
Weather In Chiang Mai
Weather Forecast: Up north to the Rose of Thailand, the weather conditions are pretty much the same as Central Thailand. It gets dry from November to May with limited rain. Sometimes, a torrential shower will hit the region but only for short period followed by sunny weather.
From March to June, the weather gets really hot and humid even though the region is densely forested with some of the highest mountain ranges in Thailand. The mercury level will start hitting 32°C to 35°C+ and that’s when you feel really sweaty and irritated.
The rainy seasons starts from mid June to October brought in by the south-west monsoon. The coldest months are from November to January. It’s also called a winter month whereby temperature can go as low as 10°C at Doi Inthanon National Park.
How To Get From Chiang Mai To Doi Inthanon
Things To Know
Timings – The park is open from 6:00 to 16:00 everyday of the week
Entrance Fee – Price for adults 300Baht / Children below the age of 13 – 150Baht
Parking Fees – Vehicles 30Baht / Motorbikes 20Baht
Doi Inthanon is pretty much close-by to Chiang Mai’s downtown area. The new Liap Khlong Chonprathan Road cuts the overall trip time in half, from roughly three hours to 1.5 to 2 hours. Renting a car to drive up there is quite easy. The roads are wide and comfortable for any foreign tourist. There are some amazing Instagram-able viewpoints along the way for photo-taking.
You can also take a public shuttle bus. From Chiang Mai Gate Station, take the minibus to Chom Thong District. Then board another minibus to Doi Inthanon from Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Worawihan.
At about 9am., the park begins to fill up, so you might want to leave Chiang Mai a little earlier in the morning to avoid the crowd.
Best Time To Visit Doi Inthanon
The best time to go there is from November – early February but to me it’s in the beginning of the year where the temperature range from 10 – 20°C. Although it may be humid in Chiang Mai city area, the weather is cool and refreshing up here at Doi Inthanon.
At this time, the National park turns into pink due to Wild Himalayan Cherry blossoms. The waterfalls are flowing beautifully and the lush forest are as green as ever. Best time for trekking, spend a night in the tribal village as well as blue skies for excellent sightseeing and nature sounds.
For best attractions, Doi Ithanon is best visited in November but due to Thailand’s local holiday season, expect heavy traffic jam leading to the National Park. The trick is to visit the park just before or after the Thai holidays.
Worst Time To Visit Doi Ithanon
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The worst time to be here is from mid March to end of April when farmers burn their fields for new crops planting season. The smog can get really terrible and blankets vast areas. Even wearing a mask won’t really helps.
The coldest weather in Doi Ithanon can be experienced in the winter months. Dew can even solidify and the grass and plants along the road are covered in frost. November is the nations holiday period whereby local visitors from all over Thailand comes in droves.
Going up to Doi Inthanon National Park will be jam-packed. Traffic is a drag and finding parking spot might take a long time. It turns pretty much into a theme park like Disneyland.
The best trip I would suggest…
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Does all the above sounds like a hassle to you! The most relaxing approach is to engage a freelance local guide. All the licensed guides in Chiang Mai speaks standard English and provides a respectable clean car or minivan. Your trip will be tailor-made meaning you are in control of the situation like pick-up time, meals break, stops etc.
At about 9am. the park begins to fill up, so you might want to leave Chiang Mai a little earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Your personal guide will stay with you all the way till the end of the trip. You will get to understand all things only locals know. Most of the guides are friendly and well manner. Here’s a few cost-effective resources that might let you create your perfect experience.
- Engage a Local Guide/Van
- Book with Getyourguide
Discover More Of Doi Inthanon National Park
Walking/Hiking Shoes – I strongly suggest to wear excellent comfortable shoes on this visit due to the park’s tropical rainforest.
Packing Cubes Kit – This 6pack cubes is the ultimate storage space organizer in your Day-pack. Clean & dirty clothes etc are easy to segregate.
- Here’s the resource at Amazon: BAGAIL 6 Set Packing Organizer
Magic Water Bottle – Lifestraw water-filter bottle is all you need especially for this type of trip. It remove all the impurities when you fill up from the park’s streams.
- Here’s the resource at Amazon: LifeStraw 2Stage Integrated Water Filter
Sunscreen & Mosquito Repellent – These are essential stuff for your trip at Doi Inthanon
Loose Change – Stash some Thai Baht for local snacks stores, meals and souvenirs in the park
- Trip resource: Essentials from Amazon
The best attractions I would suggest….
- Wild Himalayan Cherry blossoms. – Wild Himalayan Cherry Blossoms can be found at Doi Pha Tang Royal Villa. Only from the middle of January to the end of the month does it blossom for those eagerly anticipated Instagram posts.
- Elephant Sanctuary – Visit Meaklang Elephant Sky Camp, a 5-star rated Ethical Elephant Sanctuary on TripAdvisor.
- Chiang Mai Grand Canyon – A man-made canyon converted into a water park, and the view from the summit of this architectural marvel is breathtaking.
- Pha Chor canyon – If you don’t mind taking a few more extra steps, you can visit this magnificent location. The rock formations and breathe-taking views will hit all your right notes.
Doi Inthanon Trekking
Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail
This Doi Inthanon trekking trail is roughly 366 meters long broad walk. It is located at a height of around 2,500 meters above sea level. It take 20 mins – 30 mins to complete depending on your trekking pace. But if you’re on sightseeing or an avid shutterbug, it may take an hour or so.
The weather is mild throughout the year because it is surrounded by evergreen forest and it gets pretty chill in the cold months. Some uncommon plants and wildlife native to this ecosystem are Rhododendron, Sphagnum Moss, Ferns, Common European White-toothed Shrew, Pere David’s Vole, Green-tailed Sunbird, other plants and harmless animals.
After a heavy rainstorm, the water that has been collected in the ground will be released and eventually accumulated into various creeks which will eventually flows to the Ping River. So yeah, you’ll be protected from floods if caught in a downpour.
Approximately, 5km from the trek, you’ll end up at a parking lot where there are rest areas and local delicacies. The parking zone will be super packed with vehicles in the peak season (local Thai holiday) but very marginal in the normal season.
Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
From the parking area connects you to the awesome Kew Mae Pan Trail. The route is accessible from October 31st to the end of the summer season. However it’s closed during the rainy season since the track is muddy and difficult to trek on.
Doi Inthanon trekking rules allow foreign visitors to be registered and accompanied by a Hmong tribal guide. This is to ensure you won’t get lost or displace the national park’s flora and fauna. There is a small entrance fee of 200 Baht which include a guide as well.
This trail is suitable for anyone who love scenic trekking. It’s 2,700km long with panoramic views, cascading waterfalls and being close to nature. It’s a ascending trek so you have to pace yourself in this one.
You start with a cool trek along the lush forest and around an hour upwards, the landscape change into a semi Alpine shrubland where the terrain is dry and open. From here, looking downward and the magnificent Royal Twin Pagodas will appear on site.
There are beautiful viewpoints and flower garden up ahead. Further ahead, there lies a rock cliff but the edge are fences to prevent any accident. Finally, you’ll arrive at the King and Queen’s stupa built for their 60th birthdays.
As I am not an avid trekker, it took me approximate 4hours on a normal pace to complete the trail but a fit person can finish it in 2hours tops. So, your return trek will bring you back to the parking area. Along the way, you can detour to Doi Pha Tang Royal Villa known for it’s cherry blossoms.
If you’re completely washout by now, what I did was to make arrangement with my Chiang mai local guide to pick me up here in his comfortable van. So yeah, it was a short cut for a deserving break for me.
Is Doi Inthanon Worth The Trip
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If you’re visiting Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon is a must-see. It’s a lovely place to relax and unwind in a tranquil environment. It’s a great experience for people of all age groups because of the natural trails, wildlife and the fauna you can see.
Sometimes all we need is a respite from our daily routines and to simply enjoy the beauty of nature, which Doi Inthanon National Park totally provides.
Unfortunately, the best month ( November) to visit mostly falls on the peak season whereby tons of local tourists will be flocking here. You can save on non peak season on costs, avoid crowds and most of all, having your trip all to yourself.
Planning the best time to visit Doi Inthanon National Park is not about a picture-perfect trip but it has to be safe, smooth sailing and a memorable experience to cherish. Like they say, difficult routes always takes you to beautiful getaways.
Hope this post inspire you to include Chiang Mai in your bucket-list and splendid Doi Inthanon National Park is one of those trips definitely on your itinerary.