The Chaeson National Park Trekking Area

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Fantastic trekking in Chaeson

The Chaeson National Park trekking area is about 60 km northeast of Chiang Mai, only about one hour drive. It is an outstanding trekking area where very few people go. The Chaeson forest is about 10km from the very popular and beautiful village Mae Kampong.

Mae Kampong receives many Thai visitors, especially during the weekend and long holidays. I recommend to visit during weekdays if you want to stay overnight. For trekking it doesn’t make much difference as very few Thai tourists go further than the village.

Guide in the forest during Trekking at Mae Kampong
Trekking at Mae Kampong

Chaeson National Park

Chaeson National Park is often spelt Jae Son or Chaesorn National Park. The park is in Chiang Mai and Lampang provinces. The park area is 592 sq kilometres. In 1988 Chaeson National Park became Thailand’s 58th protected area. The mountains are part of the Khuntan range and are an essential watershed area for the surrounding area. The highest peaks in the park reach elevations of 2000 meters. The headquarters of the park are about an hour drive from Mae Kampong. The park is famous of its lush forest, beautiful waterfalls and hot springs.

Waterfall in the forest Mae Kampong Village
The Mae Kampong waterfall

Our tours to Chaeson National Park

We offer two trips to Chaeson National Park: a day tour and a two-day tour with overnight in the village. As said, Mae Kampong has become a very popular destination for local tourists. About 20 years ago this village was one of the first communities that offered Community Based Tourism in North Thailand. Villagers opened their homes for tourists to spend the night. Especially during the cold season (December and January) it can become very crowded on the weekend. Now there are more than 50 small guesthouses and numerous nice coffee shops.

Few people go trekking in the forests of Chaeson National Park though. We very seldom meet other people on the trails. The park is great for jungle trekking. It is a fantastic area.

Mae Kampong forest view
Mae Kampong forest view

Other activities and attractions in the park

Since 2008 Mae Kampong has been the base of Flight of the Gibbon, the first zipline in Chiang Mai. I hope the zipline will open again after the Covid-19 crisis. Close to the village is the pretty Mae Kampong Waterfall.

From the Kew Fin viewpoint you have fantastic views over the mountainous landscape. You can climb up to Doi Mon Lan from where you have a view over Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Lampang provinces.

Chaeson National Parks has hot springs close to the headquarters and park acommodation, which are the main attraction of the park. In that area there are several waterfalls such as the Chaeson waterfall, which has six levels. Less visited falls are the Mae Peak, Mae Koon and Mae Mawn Falls. The park also has numerous cave systems including Pha-ngam, Mor, Luang and Loug Kae, which are seldom visited.

View over Chiang Mai. Ban Mae Kampong.
Ban Mae Kampong. View over Chiang Mai. Picture by Frans Betgem.

Chaeson Forest

There are two types of forest on the mountain: Deciduous forest below about 1,000 m elevation and evergreen forest above. The deciduous is further divided into two kinds, deciduous dipterocarp-oak forest in the driest areas and mixed evergreen, deciduous forest along streams and gullies. Common species are trees of the families Dipterocarpaceae, Fagaceae and Magnoliaceae.

Fauna in the park

Animal species prevalent in the Park allegedly include serow, barking deer, mouse deer, Siamese Hare, Malayan flying lemur, langur, macaque, golden cat, porcupine, treeshrew and wild boar. Don’t count on seeing any of these though.

Birdlife in Chaeson includes White-rumped Shama, Red Junglefowl, woodpecker, bulbul, barbet, Tailorbird, green pigeon, warbler, babbler and dove. It is a good destination for birdwatchers.

Royal Projects

On the way, you can visit the Tok Teen Royal Project, definitely worth a visit.

Rural Buddhist temple
Mae Kampong Temple

Green Trails tours

We offer these tours to Chaesorn National Park and Baan Mae Kampong: