Camping in Doi Inthanon, The Thai Bike Trip You Can’t Miss Out On
With waterfalls, walking trails and incredible views, camping in Doi Inthanon has got something for everyone.
Doi Inthanon National Park is a wonderland of lush forests, roaring waterfalls and cloud-topped mountain peaks. Only a 2 hour drive from Chiang Mai, it’s easily accessible and the perfect place to appreciate the natural beauty of northern Thailand.
You could see most of the major sights in a day trip but if you’ve got time then plan an overnight stay. There’s a great quality campsite inside the park and the sunset views on a clear night really shouldn’t be missed. Here’s how to make the most of your visit.
How to Get to Doi Inthanon National Park
There are two main ways to see Doi Inthanon, the standard way and the fun way. The standard way involves finding a travel agency and booking a tour. This will be a one-day visit in a minivan from Chiang Mai, leaving early in the morning and stopping at all the major sights for a few minutes each. Expect to get home late, tired and wishing you’d had more time to loiter!
The fun way is grabbing your own transport and heading out to explore yourself. A motorbike is ideal if you have a licence and experience- the roads through the park are wide, sweeping and largely empty of traffic. You’ll be able to stop whenever you like and linger at the top to enjoy the stunning sunset views.
Doi Inthanon National Park is a big-hitter for waterfalls. Start just after the park entrance at Mae Klang to see a natural torrent in full flow, with huge boulders balancing precariously in the rushing water just below the viewing platform. Move on from there to Wachirathan falls for one of the most impressive cascades in Thailand. The spray from the 80 metre drop will soak you as you climb the steps to the foot of the falls.
Finish your tour at Siriphum falls. Smaller than the others, approaching these falls makes you feel like an explorer as you climb to these cascades hidden in a jungle glade.
Climbing to the Roof of the World
After you’ve finished at the waterfalls, head upwards. The road climbs to the famous Royal twin pagodas just below the summit of the mountain. Stop here to enjoy the surprising sight of manicured flower gardens at 2000 meters elevation and enjoy the panorama of northern Thailand spread out before you. If you can time your visit for sunset then you’re in for a treat.
Just up the road from the pagodas is the entry point to the park’s walking trails where you can stretch your legs and learn more about the flora and fauna of the area. On a clear day with the clouds sat in the valley below, this is one of the best views in Thailand.
Finish with a ride to the summit of the mountain itself. This isn’t a place for views as it’s heavily forested but you can get your obligatory selfie with the ‘highest point in Thailand’ sign. You’ve made it- no-one in Thailand is above you right now!
The Essentials for Camping in Doi Inthanon
Entry to the national park costs 300 baht for foreigners. Technically this should be paid every day that you’re in the park, but if you pay on entry and camp overnight then you won’t be charged again when you leave the next day. It’s hard to believe at sea level but temperatures at the summit of Doi Inthanon can get seriously chilly. Even if you can’t imagine ever being cold again, pack a couple of jumpers and you’ll thank yourself for it later!