Chiang Mai, a gorgeous cultural city in the Northern part of Thailand. My last visit to Chiangmai was a few decades back and I had some memories of the places that I visited in Chiang Mai. When I confirmed my travel trip to Chiang Mai with Team EpiphanyGoChiangMai, I was very excited and started researching on the destinations to visit during our 6D5N trip to Chiang Mai.
Searching various websites from Thailand Tourism Authority, Thai National Parks, TripAdviser, travel blogs etc etc … I discovered that there were a number of National Parks in Northern Thailand, all these information got me excited as I am an outdoors person and love a trek in the nature areas! Two national parks highly recommended and not too far away from Chiang Mai came up, Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep-Pui National Parks.
I put forward my suggestions, Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep, to Tiffany, the person who liaised most of the travel planning and discussions with the respective travel, tourism and hospitality companies for our Chiang Mai trip. When she came back to me that, Chiang Mai Local Tours was going to host us, bringing us on their local tours to Doi Inthanon (Full day tour) and Doi Suthep (Half day tour), I was very excited!
Doi Inthanon National Park (Full Day Tour)
On the second day of our Chiangmai adventure, we began our adventure to Doi Inthanon National Park! Chiang Mai Local Tours met us at our hotel lobby in the morning, Team EpiphanyGoChiangMai was greeted with the warmest hospitality from the friendly tour guides of Chiang Mai Local Tours. After a short introduction and chat between both parties, we went onboard their cosy and comfortable mini bus, beginning our driving journey to Doi Inthanon National Park.
The journey from our Baisiri Maya Hotel to Doi Inthanon National Park took approximately two hours. We continued chatting with our very friendly and hospitalable travel guides during the drive to Doi Inthanon National Park. From the ground level to driving up the mountain range, I knew we were getting closer to our destination. Soon, we arrived at our first destination in Doi Inthanon National Park
Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon
Upon alighting from the mini bus, we saw a packed parking space and many people visiting this grand destination. The weather was awesome, clear blue sky with cool air! As I looked up into the sky, there are two Buddhist stupas, Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon, Buddhist palces of worship containing the Lord Buddha’s relics.
Naphamethinidon was built in 1987 to honour the 60th birthday aniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej while Naphaphonphumisiri was built in 1992 to honour the 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit. Our tour guides shared a lot about this Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon with us when we walked up to the stupa and toured this religious destination. Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon each has their own garden and visitors love it!
Although Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon are not at the summit of Doi Inthanon, their location is not far away from it. This destination has a vast and wide view of Chiangmai and Mae Hong Son, the view from there is magnificent, a destination landscape photographers will love!
While Team #EpiphanyGoChiangMai was busy touring, learning and enjoying their visit to Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon, we were also busy with our respective roles, Travel hosts – Tiffany and Peps , videographer – Valentino and photographer – me! You can check out my Flickr album on some of the behind the scenes photos of them in action with our guides from Chiangmai Local Tours!
Summit of Doi Inthanon
We said goodbye to Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon, continued with a short drive uphill to the highest peak in Thailand, at a height of 2565m above sea level! Alighting from the mini bus, our travel guides took us to the entrance of the path leading up to the summit of Doi Inthanon. It was a short walk up to the summit of Doi Inthanon and we made it to the highest peak in Thailand!
King Inthanon Memorial Shrine
At the summit of Doi Inthanon, there is a pagoda with offerings in front of it. Our guide shared with us on its history and significance. This is known as the King Inthanon Memorial Shrine.
I bowed and said a prayer at the shrine, paying my respect, before I continued taking photos of the surroundings, video interviews conducted by my fellow travel hosts and videographer with our guides. We walked down from the summit, took a break and getting ready for our delicious local Thai food lunch!
Local Thai food lunch
Before I proceed further, I would like to confess that I am a big fan of Thai food, I love their spices, herbs, sweet and sour flavours! Some of my friends would always notice a few particular Thai dishes that I regularly order, can you guess which are my few favourite Thai dishes?
We went for a lunch break near to the summit of Doi Inthanon, a pit stop for both locals and tourists, with their open space carpark and food stalls. Thanks to our friends from Chiang Mai Local Tours, we don’t have to worry about ordering local Thai food! They ordered different types of local Thai food for us to eat and enjoy! As much as I would love to describe each and every dish, my whole article would become too lengthy, therefore, I let my Thai food photos do the talking!
Since we were having lunch, I took the opportunity to know more about the different Thai cuisines from various parts of Thailand, such as Northern Thailand e.g. Chiang Mai versus Southern Thailand e.g. Bangkok, what are the key differences in cooking style and tastes between the two regions. Listening to them sharing on Thai food, it was definitely a great learning experience from this trip!
Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail
After a hearty and delicious local Thai food lunch, we had to burn our calories off. Our next adventure at Doi Inthanon National Park began by walking across the carpark to a nice cottage, the entrance to a nature trail that totally blew me away, I was in awe of the beauty, tranquility and surreal landscape, mountain range and forest of Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail!
I would be sharing more photographs inside my Flickr album, as I start to share on our amazing nature trekking. Our Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail guide is from the local tribe in the region, he led and guided us on this nature trail, together with our Chiang Mai Local Tours guides.
It’s only 3.2km long with 21 checkpoints, that’s not a very far distance to trek! However, we were at an altitude of 2,200m above sea level and this would meant that the oxygen levels at that altitude would be thinner. All these brought me back memories to the year 2007 when I climbed Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. From my experience, I knew the challenges and difficulties when climbing uphill at this altitude.
The impact of thin oxygen level can be felt almost immediately when I started to ascend up the nature trail. Although I absolutely loved the gorgeous forest, I wasn’t acclaimatised to the altitude, I was getting breatheless, therefore I had to slow it down and not rush.
I had been an outdoors person since my secondary school scouting days, I love trekking into nature reserves! Our local tribal guide for the Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail and Chiang Mai Local Tours guides shared with us on the flora and fauna inside the forest, what could be eaten, we had the opportunity to learn about them and tasted it!
While I was quite breatheless at the initial segment of the ascend inside the forest, this was soon forgotten when we reached the ridge line/plateau of the nature trail. Upon exiting from the forested sector, the vast open landscape view from the open trail area welcomed us. The view was simply gorgeous beyond words, I haven’t had that feeling since my Hokkaido trip in 2016!
Such vast landscapes never fail to amaze me, I was busy pressing the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR button to capture as many different views and perspectives. On the other hand, I was also busy photographing the rest of the team in action, interviewing our friends from Chiang Mai Local Tours, group photos and some fun shots too!
Once again, we began to re-enter back into the forested area, trekking back to the start point. At this stage, there were still a few uphill treks before the final descend to the end point of the Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail. Upon reaching the wooden cottage again, our start/end point of this nature trail, we said goodbye to our local tribal guide, returned to our mini bus for the journey back to Chiang Mai.
On the way down, our guides decided to bring us to one of the waterfalls in this region, Wachirathan Waterfall. We didn’t spend too much time here due to time constraints, nevertheless, we got to witness a magnificent waterfall in the Doi Inathanon National Park. Our guides shared with us that this waterfall is popular during the warm season, many people visit the base of the waterfall to enjoy the cooling water.
After a short thirty minutes visit to Wachirathan Waterfall, taking photos and videos, we made our way back to Chiang Mai city from Doi Inthanon National Park, blessed with a pretty sunset on the road, seen above the mountain range ridge line.
Back to Chiang Mai City
As we reached Chiang Mai city, we wished a big thank you and waved goodbye to our guides from Chiang Mai Local Tours for a fun and adventurous full day tour of Doi Inthanon National Park.
If you are planning to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand, visiting Doi Inthanon National Park is highly recommended! Do check out Chiang Mai Local Tours trekking tour packages to Doi Inthanon National Park (One Day and Two Day programmes are available). More photographs of our visit to Doi Inthanon National Park can be viewed here in this Flickr album!
A great full day of fun, travel, exploring and trekking, we rested early and get ready for our next day half day to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park by Chiang Mai Local Tours!
Chiang Mai Local Tours
I am happy and glad to know Chiang Mai Local Tours during my trip with Team #EpiphanyGoChiangMai! Their professionalism, enthusiasm, hospitality and wealth of local knowledge can be seen throughout during the full day tour. This tour is just part of the many different types of tour packages and travel plans that they provide! Visit their website and explore a local Chiang Mai tour package that suits you!
They are highly recommended, with their wealth of local knowledge and experience, I would choose them to be my travel gudies when I return to Chiang Mai for dedicated travel photography (landscape and bird photography) adventure! If the opportunity arises, I would love to work with them in the future!
I would also like to highlight that the tour itinerary that Chiang Mai Local Tours brought us for the full day tour to Doi Inthanon National Park is not the same as those planned and listed on their website.
For more information and contact details of Chiang Mai Local Tours, they are listed below:
Address: 6 Inthawarorot Road., T. Sripoom, A. Muang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChiangMaiLocalTours/
Line : Odicmlocaltours
Telephone: +66 86 910 1478