A national park on Chiang Mai's doorstep
Published/Last edited or updated: 30th July, 2017
Lush primary forest and a mountaintop temple a 10-minute ride from downtown Chiang Mai makes for a varied and interesting day trip. Suthep is a district of western Chiang Mai city and gives its name to the adjacent mountain (doi means mountain in north Thai), as well as the temple on the summit—Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. The forested mountain, plus neighbouring Doi Pui, form Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
Doi Suthep rises from around 300 to over 1,600 metres and traverses various flora zones, so as you climb you’ll pass dry dipterocarp on lower slopes, then mixed evergreen and tropical gallery forests and montane and pine at the highest altitudes.
Just past the foot of the hill on the left is Huay Kaew Waterfall, a popular and often crowded picnic spot, just after which is a checkpoint and national park visitors’ centre. Minimal information was on display when we visited in mid-2017 but they did have various English-language maps available, so it’s worth a stop. An entry ticket is not necessary at this point.
Various viewpoints lie along the road and after a couple of kilometres there’s also a rest area on the left housing a delightful little garden coffee shop offering fresh brews and snacks. A hop further on and you’ll see a turning on the right for Montha Than Waterfall. There’s a checkpoint here and a 200 baht entrance fee will be required if it is staffed. This is a picturesque spot, with the water tumbling over a forest-clad cliff and ideal bathing rock pools and grassy picnic ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,300 words.)
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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