There is so much to see during a winter trip to Chiang Mai, but the one thing that you must do while there is visit the Doi Inthanon National Park.  This is the most popular park within all of Thailand and you won’t believe all the things that you will see once you begin walking around the trails and driving through.

Doi Inthanon National Park covers at least four hundred and eighty-two square meters in this part of the country and the highest peak, Doi Inthanon itself, measures at two thousand five hundred sixty-five meters.  This park was named for King Inthawichayanon, who was one of the last kings of Chiang Mai.  He was quite concerned about the environment, especially the forests within this part of Thailand, and he wanted to preserve as much of it as possible.  He is now buried inside this park and he can now watch over the area that he truly wanted to save.

During a visit to the national park, you can easily drive to the summit to look out at the extraordinary views.  The views are best when the sun is rising, but we understand if you do not want to get up early enough to get to the top of the mountain in time!

If you choose to hike while inside this park, you may want to consider the Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail or the Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail.  They are both fairly easy hikes and they will allow you to see much of this park without going too far.

Ang Ka Luang nature hiking trail at Doi Inthanon National Park
Ang Ka Luang nature hiking trail at Doi Inthanon National Park

Along the way, you must make numerous stops to see the waterfalls, especially the Sirithan Waterfall, and the two chedis that are close by to the summit.  Other waterfalls that you may want to consider include the Siriphum, Wachirathan, Wang Khwai, and Mae Klang.  The Sakura trees, or cherry blossoms, are in bloom in January and February, so it is imperative that you plan your trip accordingly if you want to see these fragrant beauties.

One of the more unique features of this park is the Mae Klang Luang Village.  This village has multiple rice fields, which are quite stunning during the rainy season.  This means that the rice fields won’t look as nice during the winter months, but you can still visit the village to meet the locals and grab a bite to eat at one of the cafes there.

You will have the chance to see much of the wildlife that lives within Doi Inthanon National Park if you take the time to look around and be aware of your surroundings.  You may see gibbon and deer, and possibly a wild boar, but most of your sightings will include bats, birds, and reptiles like the Chiang Mai dwarf gecko.

Doi Inthanon National Park will capture your attention immediately when you arrive, so be prepared to spend quite a bit of time there.  In fact, you may find that you end up spending your entire vacation there, simply because there are not many other destinations around the world that are so peaceful and beautiful.