Doi Khun Tan National Park comprises some 250 square kilometres of forested hills and valleys straddling the watershed between Lampang and Lamphun provinces.
Lying approximately half way between Lampang and Chiang Mai, it’s one of Thailand’s oldest parks, having received it status in 1974. The highest point, at 1,373 metres, is much lower than mountains further north but there’s still a wide range of flora zones, from dry dipterocarp and secondary forest at lower levels, through teak stands and lusher gallery forests in the valleys, to evergreen and pine on the summits. Bamboo and secondary forest grows where teak was harvested in earlier times.
The park’s neither undisturbed nor big enough to support mammals larger than boar, deer and squirrels but it is very good for bird, butterfly and insect life due to the wide range of flora. The park is also known for its wild orchids.
The park and scenery are picturesque rather than dramatic; there are no spectacular sites as such but there’s some enjoyable hiking to be had, plus the facilities are excellent and access is relatively easy. We found on our stop through that the park staff were helpful, accommodation very good, trails reasonably well marked and there were a couple of eating options.
The visitors’ centre has a small display of local flora and fauna plus maps and even an interactive diorama. Most info and pamphlets were in Thai only when we visited but staff were keen to help out. There are two main walks, one to the Doi Khun Tan peak which is well worth doing, and the other a looping trail to a small waterfall.
Entrance fees are 100/50 baht for foreign adults/children, plus 20 baht for a motorbike or 30 baht for a car. Park information can be reached on (053) 546 335 or (081) 032 6341.
For food, Khun Tan railway station has a small noodle shop and basic grocery store, otherwise you’re relying on the National Park food. In this case it’s not too bad though and the two cafeterias — one opposite the visitors’ centre and the other at around two kilometres up the hill — offer simple Thai fare from 40 baht a plate up. The former has an attached, though limited, minimart.
If you require anything more elaborate or perhaps are part of a larger group then you can phone ahead to book and organise meals: (089) 560 4304.
By Mark Ord.
Last updated on 10th October, 2016.