Get Back to Nature: Camping at Doi Inthanon National Park
Camping in a foreign land, especially camping at Doi Inthanon National Park, is a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing experience. Give yourself at least one night, two or more if you want to get really into nature and enjoy it in its fullest.
Only a couple of hours from Chiang Mai by scooter you can be in the peaceful Doi Inthanon national park by late morning on early afternoon. It’s a quick day trip from Chiang Mai but always be sure to give yourself some extra time when planning out your journey. Chiang Mai might not be the wildest of party cities but there’s traffic, there’s noise and there are plenty of people. Escaping it to Thailand’s highest mountain, if only for a night, is a replenishing experience.
What to Expect of Doi Inthanon
Doi Inthanon National Park is huge. You’d need at least a few days to fully explore it. The key sight to see is the mountain itself. On your way up there are numerous waterfalls (amongst the most impressive in Thailand), endless forest and hordes of wildlife. As you begin to climb through the clouds you’ll come across the Twin Pagodas, two stupa style temples with commanding views across the valleys below. They’re set within beautifully manicured gardens and are well worth a visit. Even higher up you can visit the highest point in Thailand, it’s in the middle of a forest patch but there’s a sign to pose with.
Camping at Doi Inthanon National Park
When visiting the park you’ll be travelling along the main road 1009. This road curves and sweeps its way into the park passing multiple checkpoints. Reasonably quickly you’ll be asked for B300 per person as entrance to the National Park. This is a government approved charge that allows for the maintenance and upkeep of the park.
Eventually you’ll get to the National Park Headquarters. It’s set a little bit off the road and can be easily missed. If you reach Check Point 2 you’ve gone too far! When you get to the office you can request a camping kit. This will include sleeping mats, pillows and sleeping bags. You’ll have to carry it for yourself so make sure you balance the bike carefully!
You’ll be directed to go back down the road the way you came before turning left. After around 1-2km you’ll see the camping entrance. The setting is beautiful and the tents are all already set up for you amongst a tall pine forest. Hand in your ticket, choose your tent and settle in.
You’ll find a few shower and toilet blocks but don’t expect hot water. This is the wilder frontier after all! There are hundreds of tents so they’ve catered for that many people but barely anyone is there unless you turn up on a Thai holiday near a weekend!
It does get cold as you are considerably higher up than normal! Thankfully there’s a few helpful staff running a blanket, duvet and pillow hire stall for all your comfort needs. Pop down and hire one for a minimal fee, just return the ticket and items hired in the morning.
Restaurants Near Doi Inthanon
On the road just outside the campsite there are at least 5 or so local restaurants. The local speciality is hot pot where. You’ll be provided with an urn of hot water over some fiery coals to cook your own dinner in a tasty broth.
Gram-Worthy Tip from Slumber Party
Sunrise and sunset near the mountain top are phenomenally impressive. You are quite literally above the clouds and seeing the sun bathe them in oranges and purples and pinks is a incredible experience. It’s well worth the early rise and the cold temperatures.