Doi Inthanon Things to do
The top thing to do in Doi Inthanon is hiking, as it’s the best way to reach all the stunning viewpoints throughout the national park. Doi Inthanon stands at 2565m above sea level and marks the end of the Himalayas.
At sunrise, head to Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphapholphumisiri: the stunning King and Queen pagodas that sit just below the summit of Doi Inthanon. They offer incredible views of the valley below—best seen first thing in the morning when the landscape is covered in a sea of clouds.
The royal temples, built in honor of the Thai King and Queen’s 60th birthdays, are surrounded by beautiful terraces and gardens. Once you’ve watched the sun come up, spend some time exploring this peaceful setting.
Opening Hours & Entry Fee: Open 6 AM – 5:30 PM. 100 THB (3 USD). If you buy your ticket at 4 PM, you still have access until 9 AM the following day. This means you can see both the sunset and the sunrise when the light is at its best.
2. Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
The Kew Mae Pan nature trail is a two-hour hike that leads you through the gorgeous lush jungle and flat open grassland. The open viewpoints mean you can witness the most incredible panoramic views of the valleys below (one of the top things to do in Doi Inthanon National Park!).
Don’t forget your camera, as the area is also home to thundering waterfalls, intricate rock formations, and the most insane views in Thailand. Head here early in the morning when a blanket of clouds carpets the valley far below.
The most unique thing about this circular route is it’s managed by the local Hmong tribe. Because of this, one of their guides will accompany you on the hike, providing unique cultural insight into the area. There may be a queue at the Kew Mae Pan trailhead while they are assigning guides. We recommend visiting during the week to avoid the biggest crowds!
Opening Times and Entry Fee: Open 6 AM – 4 PM every day between November – May. 200 THB (6 USD) per group for a guide (compulsory).
Other Trails in Doi Inthanon
The Kew Mae Pan Trail is the most popular hike (and for good reason!). But there are also two other great trails that offer an alternative perspective of Doi Inthanon national park.
Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail
Pha Dok Siew is another beautiful trail through the lush jungle and rice fields of Doi Inthanon. This two-hour hike is famous for its incredible waterfalls, including the Pha Dok Siew waterfall, that you can view from a traditional bamboo bridge. The trail ends in the Karen hill tribe village of Baan Mae Klang Luang: a peaceful oasis where you can try coffee grown in the plantations nearby.
Opening Times & Entry Fee: Open all year round. 200 THB (6 USD) for a Karen guide (compulsory).
The Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail is the highest trail in Doi Inthanon National Park and also the shortest! The 20-minute trail is excellent for those who are short on time or not a fan of hiking, as it makes a quick loop around the summit of Doi Inthanon. Although trees obscure the views, this short stroll through a mossy forest is still worth it for its spiritual atmosphere.
Get your picture at the summit sign and enjoy this peaceful trail with its ancient trees and moss-covered shrines.
3. Baan Khun Klang Village
Baan Khun Klang is the nearest village to Doi Inthanon’s summit and the Twin Pagodas. Plus, it’s home to the Doi Inthanon Headquarters and Visitor Center, as well as plenty of accommodation options.
The village has a beautiful backdrop of a massive waterfall (Siriphum waterfall) which can be seen from all over town.
There are also multiple flower gardens to visit, as the climate is much cooler because of the high altitude. Visit in January when the iconic Queen Tiger flowers are in full bloom, and the whole mountain turns pink from their blossom. Magic!
4. Discover the Nearby Waterfalls
Doi Inthanon is famous for its spectacular waterfalls. Apart from the many smaller waterfalls you will pass while hiking along the main trails, there are also some impressive falls a little further afield. Make sure to visit these falls as one of the top Doi Inthanon things to do!
Wachirathan waterfall is located along the main road, making it a popular stop if you are on your way to Doi Inthanon. The impressive falls are so mighty that you are bound to get a refreshing soak from the spray!
It’s also a great photo spot; not only will you see the stunning falls themselves, but there are often double rainbows. Unfortunately, swimming in the pool below is not permitted as the water is extremely powerful. However, you can stretch your legs and explore the small trails in the surrounding area, which offer different perspectives of the waterfall.
Opening Times & Entry Fee: 6 AM – 5 PM. Free entry!
Mae Ya Waterfall
Mae Ya is one of the tallest waterfalls in Thailand, standing at around 260m high. The falls cascade down an incredible tiered rock face in an idyllic forest setting. Take a dip in the pools below or hike up the 700m ascent to the main viewpoint, where you can relax in nature at this incredible picnic spot.
Mae Ya waterfall is slightly outside the main area of the park. However, you can use your national park ticket to enter, so we suggest stopping by on your way back from your trip. Plus, its out-of-the-way location does mean you are more likely to have it all to yourself!
5. Pha Chor Canyon
Although not technically in Doi Inthanon National Park, Pha Chor canyon is definitely worth seeing. The unique geological feature, sometimes referred to as the ‘mini Grand Canyon’ of Thailand, is made up of incredible 30-meter-high rock formations. Similar to Pai Canyon (but even more spectacular!), the beautiful golden cliffs were created by thousands of years of erosion.
Stop here and stretch your legs in beautiful natural surroundings, as the canyon is located roughly halfway between Doi Inthanon and Chiang Mai.
Best Cafes and Restaurants in Doi Inthanon
There are plenty of cute cafes and restaurants in the Doi Inthanon area. Head for the village of Baan Khun Klaang, where you’ll find traditional Thai cuisine on offer. Some of our favorites in the area are:
- Ihaikhow Inn: Lovely views of the surrounding valley and Siriphum Waterfall
- 22 Aquarius Glamping Cafe: Situated next to a beautiful Hydrangea garden with great food and coffee
- Mae Klang luang Coffee House: Hiking to Mae Klang Luang? Head here for the best coffee for miles around
Where to Stay in Doi Inthanon
Accommodations are limited around Doi Inthanon, you will mostly find guesthouses and campsites. It’s smart to book this one in advance! You’ll find most options in Baan Khun Klang village. We stayed at Father’s Garden, which offers cozy tent-style cabins and spectacular views of the valley.
There are also a few homestays in the Karen village of Baan Mae Klang Luang (at the end of the Pha Dok Siew trail), which you can book without a reservation. The small traditional village is very peaceful, and you’ll have the chance to meet friendly local people.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also camp! The Dong Son Campground in the pine forest is close to the summit, so it is a good option for those who want to beat the crowds in the morning. The price is 1 USD per night with your own tent or 10 USD if you opt for the tent included.
How to Visit Doi Inthanon
Doi Inthanon is the ideal place to add to your Thailand route, particularly as it’s so close to Chiang Mai, which has an international airport.
We’d recommend renting your own vehicle to get to Doi Inthanon, as some of the sights in the park are quite spread out. From Chiang Mai, it is around 90 minutes by motorcycle or car to Doi Inthanon National Park.
For a day trip, it is possible to drive almost all the way to the twin pagodas. You can park 50 meters below and then take the stairs or the escalator to the top. The Kew Mae Pan Trail begins a few 100 meters from this point.
You can also rent a shared songthaew if you are not comfortable driving yourself. However, this can take much longer, as you may be stopping in a few different places along the way to collect people.
Join an Organized Tour
The easiest way to visit Doi Inthanon is to join an organized tour from Chiang Mai. Generally, a tour will include your return transfers, guide, and any other activities throughout the day.
How Much Does Doi Inthanon Cost?
The national park and its various trails and attractions all have different entrance fees. You’ll have to pay extra if you’re entering with a car or motorcycle or want to hire a guide (which is mandatory for the main trails).
Best Time to Visit Doi Inthanon
November – January is the best time to visit Doi Inthanon National park. All the nature trails are open, there is less chance of rain, and better visibility of the spectacular views! This season does bring cooler temperatures, and at high altitudes, the temperature can drop close to zero, so be prepared with lots of warm layers.
November is the best month to visit; the waterfalls will be at full power as it is the end of the wet season, and the big holiday crowds haven’t arrived yet. Or come here in January when pink flowers are blooming transforming the landscape.