Thailand might be associated with tropical weather and coastal landscapes, but Doi Inthanon National Park disproves those stereotypes. Home to the tallest mountain in Thailand, the park has a high overall elevation and can even experience frost on a few particularly cold days of the year. Doi Inthanon National Park boasts a number of magnificent waterfalls, so make sure to see the Mae Klang Waterfall, the Mae Ya Waterfall and the Sirithan Waterfall, among others. Stay active by hiking along the Ang Ka Nature Trail, and round out the experience by visiting the Hmong Market, where the tribal sellers are decked out in their authentic costumes.
The highest peak in Thailand, Doi Inthanon rises to a height of 2565 meters (8, 415 feet) above sea level. This altitude means that temperatures on Doi Inthanon are refreshingly brisk year round and regularly dip below freezing during the cool season (October to February). The national park which contains Doi Inthanon and bears its name covers 482 square km (186 square miles) and contains Sanpatong District, Chomthong District, Mae Chaem District, Mae Wang District, and the Toi Lor Sub district of Chiang Mai Province.
Doi Inthanon National Park is a true jewel of natural beauty, consisting of rugged mountainous terrain blanketed by lush tropical forests and dotted with mighty rivers and majestic waterfalls. The park’s protected status makes it a sanctuary for a wide range of animal species and it is perhaps the best place in Thailand for bird watching. Approximately 362 different species of bird make their home in Doi Inthanon National Park, many of which are not found anywhere else in Thailand. The diversity of Doi Inthanon does not only extend to plant and animal species, however. The park has long been home to settlements of Northern Hilltribes as well.
Recent efforts have been made to allow theses unique villages to maintain their traditional cultures while co-existing with modern developments such as tourism and the Bhumibol Dam, which harnesses the power of the Ping River to provide electricity to thousands of Thai people. Doi Inthanon is a popular destination for visitors to the region, not only for its natural beauty, but for its historical significance as well. Chedis (monuments) dedicated to Their Royal Majesties, The King and Queen, can be found atop the peak of the mountain. The park has been adapted somewhat to accommodate the tourist trade and there are some eating and drinking areas, as well as accommodation. The rugged terrain is now crisscrossed with pathways and roads to make it more accessible to visitors. The development has been tightly controlled, however, and every effort has been made to preserve the natural beauty of the environment.