Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon is the highest summit in the country of Thailand. It is 2595 meters high. The surrounding national park encompasses it. Apart from Doi Inthanon, there are few smaller summits too. The mountain is mainly comprised of granite batholith while limestone can be found in the lower region. This National Park is one of the 14 National Parks of Thailand. The summit is also referred to as ‘The Roof of Thailand’. The Doi Inthanon National Park boasts of various bird species and different eco-patterns.
It covers an area of 48,240 hectares. The plains of the park are extremely dry and warm during the summer season. However, the highlands are quite cool with temperatures dropping to below freezing point. During summers Doi Inthanon National Park is a pleasant respite from the strong heat of Bangkok. The best season to visit the park depends on your interest of watching the impressive waterfalls or the various hued flowers. For viewing the spectacle of waterfalls, May – November is the best time. December – February is for absorbing the picturesque wild flowers including orchids and red rhododendron. The ornithologists should visit from November – March.
Getting to the park by private transportation is best way. Even though your car can go inside, a motorcycle is a better option since it can easily run on rough and narrow roads. Local buses from Phra That Chom Thong or Mae Klang Waterfall can be taken to reach the Doi Inthanon National Park. Admission to the park is at 400 baht for a white adult and 200 baht for a white child.
Birdwatching on Doi Inthanon
Inthanon Birdwatching Information Center (Uncle Daeng’s Shop) is located at Km. 31. This is a bird information exchange center for birdwatchers, naturalists and the general public alike. It also supplies the Doi Inthanon Birdwatching Diary, bird sketches by various bird watching experts, birdwatching trail maps, bird pictures, and slides.
Winter is the best time for birdwatching as that is when indigenous and migrant birds are easily found including Eurasian Woodcock, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Forest Wagtail, Chestnut Thrush, Scarlet Finch, Little Bunting, and Crested Bunting.
Doi Inthanon National Park has some spectacular waterfalls. Namtok Mae Ya (280 m height), Namtok wachirathan, Namtok Siriphum and Namtok Mae Klang (100 m height) cascades are truly breathtaking.
If you want to see stalagmite and stalactite formations then, Tham Bori Chinda is great choice it is a large cave located near Namtok Mae Klang at Km. 8.5 of Highway No. 1009. The road signage to Tham Bori Chinda can be seen at the intersection on the right. This deep cave has amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations, old Buddha statues and a rocky stream. The surface of the water glitters like diamonds when light reflects the stream due to the mineral content. Nature sunlight streaming into the cave allows visitors to see the whole cave.
Phra Mahathat Napha Methanidon and Phra Mahathat Naphaphon Phumisiri , the two twin marble pagodas located at Km. 41.5, were built to commemorate the fifth cycle birthdays of both King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. The pagodas enshrine Lord Buddha’s ashes and Buddha images, and tower above amazing scenery of Doi Inthanon.
There are accommodation facilities available in the Doi Inthanon National Park. There is a huge complex consisting of 11 guest houses. These have modern utilities and are available for public rental. In case you want to go for camping, you can find campsites at the Headquarter and at the Mae Pan Ranger Station. You can bring your camping equipment or obtain it for rental from Headquarters. Trekking to the Doi Inthanon National Park is extremely enjoyable considering the fact that the hills contain a lot of scenic life. There are various private tour operators who can arrange trekking for you at reasonable rates. The highlight of the trekking is Karen hill tribe villages.