Photo: Now that is a view.

Doi Suthep and Doi Pui

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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.





A very good sealed road leads from the foot to the summit of Doi Suthep and on to Doi Pui, so going by motorbike or car is ideal and allows you to stop wherever and whenever you wish. The road is very winding, and occasionally very steep, so do take care; check brakes and tyres before setting off, and if you’re not confident on a scooter or motorbike then stick to a songthaew—this isn’t a good place for learner drivers. Red songthaews leave from Huay Kaew Road near the Zoo and Wat Prathat Doi Suthep costing 40 baht per person each way. Normally drivers wait for 8 to 10 passengers before leaving or you can negotiate a deal for the whole vehicle.

Looking back to Chiang Mai. Photo taken in or around Doi Suthep and Doi Pui, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Looking back to Chiang Mai. Photo: Mark Ord

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 ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Doi Suthep and Doi Pui
West of central Chiang Mai

Location map for Doi Suthep and Doi Pui

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