The Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon Tour
Day 1 Chiang Mai – Doi Suthep – Doi Inthanon
Visit the two “Dois” of North Thailand
This is a private tour. Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel at 0800. This two-day tour features fantastic nature trails of the Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Parks. First, we will drive to Doi Suthep mountain. “Doi” is the Northern Thai word for mountain. For local people, Doi Suthep is a sacred mountain. At the foot of the mountain, we briefly stop at the shrine of Kruba Srivichai, whose followers constructed the road to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. After this, we continue along this road to the temple. The winding road through the national park is popular with cyclists.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most famous temple in North Thailand. We walk the iconic stairway up to the temple from where you have a magnificent view of Chiang Mai surroundings. Your guide will tell you the story of the founding of the temple, more than 500 years ago. Then we will enter the main temple with the famous gilded chedi, one of the most photographed objects of Thailand. Then we will descend and board our vehicle to drive to Wat Pha Lat, the “jungle temple” of Chiang Mai.
Wat Pha Lat and the Monk’s Trail
Not much is known about the history of Wat Pha Lat. For centuries it probably was a resting place for pilgrims on their way from Chiang Mai to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The Burmese merchant Luang Yonakarn Phichit funded the construction of a pavilion, housing Buddha images, probably around the turn of the century. Over the years few people paid attention to Wat Pha Lat and its Burmese-style pavilion. About ten years ago Wat Pha Lat started to appear on social media and more people visited the temple. The Fine Arts Department rebuilt the pavilion, called Ho Phra Nam Rin. From Wat Pha Lat we then walk a part of the old Monk’s Trail to the base of the temple. It is a short and easy walk.
The Roof of Thailand
The Galae restaurant has always been a favorite. We will have lunch here before we drive to Doi Inthanon National Park. Our first stop is the Mae Klang Waterfall, named after the Mae Klang River. We continue further into the national park. Next up is the spectacular Vachirathan Waterfall, which is the most popular waterfall in the park. Please note that you can’t swim in these waterfalls. Then we head for the Karen village Baan Mae Klang Luang, where we will spend the night. We settle into our bungalow before we walk through the village to the village temple, which is on a forested hill. It is an unusual and remarkable building, unlike other temples you have seen on your trip.
Day 2 Doi Inthanon – Chiang Mai
The Angka and Kew Mae Pan Nature Trails
On the summit of Doi Inthanon is the shrine that contains the ashes of the 7th ruler of Chiang Mai, King Inthawichayanon, after who the park was named. Very close to the summit is the short Angka Nature Trail with some beautiful ferns. The highlight today though is the amazing Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail, the most popular trail of the park. The Hmong people of a nearby village manage the trail and act as guides. The trail starts through the forest until we reach a viewpoint.
From here the trail continues along the ridge offering stunning views of the park and the lowland. Doi Inthanon is nicknamed the “Roof of Thailand”. We return to the forest and hike back to the place where we started. After this, we will visit the two chedis that were constructed in honor of his majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. Then it is time for lunch at a local restaurant.
The Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail
After lunch, we will drive a short distance to the starting point of the Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail. The people of Baan Mae Klang Luang manage the trail and also are guides. It is a lovely trail that descends along the Pha Dok Siew waterfall with bamboo bridges and walkways. It is a wonderful hike. After the waterfall, the trail is mostly flat and easy and leads us back to the village with fine views of rice paddies and mountainous landscape. After a cup of Mae Klang Luang coffee, it is time to drive back to Chiang Mai. In the late afternoon, we will drop you off at your hotel in Chiang Mai.