Named after Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand, this national park is 482 square kilometres. It’s near Chiang Mai in north Thailand and it’s known famously as the ‘Roof of Thailand’.
The high altitude of the national park makes for a cooler climate and you can even find (and smell) pine trees! The pine forests surrounding the summit were conserved as a national park in 1972. Today, Doi Inthanon National Park is one of 14 national parks in Thailand. At the top of the mountain are two sacred pagodas and dazzling panoramic views. The twin pagodas were built in 1987 and 1992 retrospectively, to honor King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday and Queen Sirikit’s 60th birthday.
Doi frequently comes before the name of a mountain – this is because it is the north Thai word for mountain. The summit is the highest peak in Thailand – 2,565m above sea level and a 1,850m climb from Chiang Mai old city.
How to take a Doi Inthanon National Park Tour
There are a few options for touring Doi Inthanon, none of which are free. Accomodation is not abundant so most visitors take a day trip as part of your Chiang Mai itinerary. You can go self-guided on a motorbike, or you can go as part of a tour. Both will involve heading off early from Chiang Mai city to take the roughly 2 hour drive to the national park.
Preparing for your Journey to Doi Inthanon
Prepare for both sunburn and windchill on the journey! The fast speed and long roads make for quite extreme conditions and the altitude of the mountain makes a dramatic drop in temperature – from November to February temperatures can drop below freezing! If motor biking, make sure to bring plenty of layers and SPF. Feeling chilly at the heights of Doi Inthanon is quite refreshing if you prepare and bring a layer – enjoy the coolness before heading back to the hot and sweaty Chaing Mai.
Visiting Doi Inthanon National Park
The entry fee for visitors to the park is 300 baht for adult foreigners and a student discount may be offered. But a day at Doi Inthanon national park is one you’ll remember forever. It’s peaceful and calm on the summit. There are waterfalls and hiking trails on the journey up the mountain. The Mae Klang Waterfall is one iconic site and you can find a couple of spots for a dip! The waterfalls at Doi Inthanon are large enough to have water even during the dry season from November to May/June.
Hiking in Doi Inthanon
There are a few short hiking trails, the most intense being a two-mile loop of the Kew Mae Pan nature trail. It costs 200 baht per group to guide with a Hmong tribesman who can tell stories of the park, however a tour would include this guide. Most of the climb of Doi Inthanon is done on wheels, so any hiking is not intense and welcoming to amateur hikers.
The journey to Doi Inthanon summit stops at various waterfalls, beauty and cultural points en route and culminates in views that are expansive and magnificent. It’s such a beautiful calming place without any noise pollution. You can sit and enjoy the calm air and beautiful sunset, but make sure you can come back down before it gets too dark and cold up in the mountains!
If you enjoyed your Doi Inthanon National park tour you might also enjoy reading our full 10 days in Thailand itinerary.