Doi Inthanon National Park

     The imposing Doi Inthanon, located in Chiang Mai province, is the highest point in the country, and is often dubbed 'The Roof of Thailand'. In Doi Inthanon National Park there are also several lesser summits to explore. Geologically speaking, the mountain range is largely composed of granite batholiths that extend in a southerly direction towards the Shan Hills range in Myanmar (Burma), and form the division between the Ping River to the east and the Mae Chaem River to the west.

     The park covers an area of 301,500 rai (482 sq km), taking in parts of the Son Pa Tong, Jom Tong, and Mae Jam districts. This mountainous park is also home to one of the most impressive waterfalls in Thailand, the Mae Ya Waterfall.

     In the past Doi Inthanon was known as Doi Loing, or 'Doi Ang Ka' (Doi meaning mountain). Doi Loing therefore means a big mountain. The name Doi Ang Ka was sometimes used, as about 300 m away from the mountain's base there was a pond shaped like a washing tub (Ang). Flocks of crows (Ka) also used to gather at the pond, and that is how the name came to be adopted.

     But what about the name Doi Inthanon? Chiang Mai’s last sovereign, King Inthawichayanon, with great foresight, expressed concern for the forests of the hilly countryside in the north. He was aware that it served as the watershed for the whole of central Thailand. Before his death, he commanded that his remains were to be placed on the summit of Doi Loing. After his demise his wishes were carried out, and the mountain was renamed 'Doi Inthanon' in honour of his name. The stupa at the summit that houses his remains is visited by thousands of people every year.

     In 1959, the Doi Inthanon Forest was one of fourteen throughout the country that had been established as National Parks by the government. And in 1965 it was named as a National Conservation Area. Later on, in 1972, the park's boundaries were extended by the Forestry Department of Thailand to include the Ban Loing, Sob Tai, Song Kael, Yang Karm, Jom Tong, Mae Vin, and Son Pa Tong districts and sub-districts.

     On 16th January 1974, during a visit by His Majesty the King and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit to Doi Kun Klang, he suggested that the boundaries of the park be further extended. In February the Mae Suank, Chang Keng, and Ta Pha subdistricts became part of the park. Due to the park extension projects, in 1975 the Doi Inthanon National Conservation Forest, the Jom Tong National Conservation Forest, and the Mae Jam National Conservation Forest all became the Doi Inthanon National Park that we know today.

     Phra Mahathat Nopphon Phumisiri

     Her Majesty The Queen's chedi, Phra Mahathat Nopphon Phumisiri, is situated on the summit of Doi Inthanon Mountain in the Doi Inthanon National Park.

     Phra Mahathat Nopphon Phumisiri was erected in 1992 beside His Majesty The King's chedi. It was erected by the Royal Thai Air force, on behalf of the Thai people, to celebrate Her Majesty's sixtieth birthday.

Phra Mahathat Nopphon Phumisiri
     Mae Klang Waterfall

     This waterfall is a very popular picnic place for local boys and girls and some Chiang Mai and Bangkok families own bungalows on the river. Rocky paths climb up beside the thirty metre high falls and if you reach the top there is a fine view. There is a messy huddle of food, drink and souvenir stalls at the entrance and below the main falls. If you cross over the bridge you will enter the beautifully laid out gardens of the northern branch of Wat Chai Monkon, a famous Bangkok temple. In the grounds is a spectacular chedi containing a lift. There is also an enormous Buddha statue made out of one piece of Canadian greenstone.

     Mae Ya Waterfall

     Chiang Mai and the north of Thailand are famous for their waterfalls, although there are none to compare with Niagara, Kaitur or Victoria. The highest and one of the most beautiful in Chiang Mai Province is Mae Ya. Easily accessible just off the road up Doi Inthanon, the water tumbles down a three hundred-foot cliff in a series of spectacular leaps. At the bottom is a cool pool where children can swim and also a pleasant picnic area.

Mae Ya Waterfall

     Vachiratharn Waterfall

     Quite a way up Doi Inthanon, Vivacharatarn is another stunning waterfall with its main attraction being a very tall and narrow drop sending off wafts of mist in all directions. It is quite a walk down to the falls and can be slippery in the rainy season. If you follow the falls downstream and are a bit adventurous, you can come across may secluded picnic and pool areas where you will be able to enjoy the distant rumbling of the falls along with a gentle solitude.

     There are other waterfalls in Doi Inthanon Park but these three are the most easily accessible and the most spectacular.