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Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?
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  1. #1
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    Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    Going up to Doi Inthanon by motorcycle is something I have been postponing for four years. Now I am told it is easily manageable even on my small 100 cc so I am planning to give it a try next weekend, if I can get myself going, before the north hazes up completely. Now there are still nice views all around.

    I have been up on the top twice, on package tours on both occasions, lots of rushing, not my style. If I go, I am planning to stay overnight. It is a long drive just to get there. I have a map and I can use google quite well to find out what's there to see, but I am interested to hear about your favourites, tips, any accommodation you can recommend, just anything that comes to mind. If you have photos, please share too!

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Betti; 20-01-10 at 08:23 PM.

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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    Don't know if you have been up it at this time of year before, but the last time I was up it there was freezing mist at the summit-the temperature was exactly the same as that in the UK that January day-take some warm clothing.
    (Thanks for the visitor message!)

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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?




    Hi Betti and all,
    This is my first post for a long time and glad to be back.
    The last time I was in Chiang Mai I hired a 250cc motorbike to ride the Mai Hong Song Loop this time of year. On my return to Chiang Mai I rode to Doi Inthanon and froze my self to the core. I was well rugged up by the time I reached the summit. A 100cc motorbike will do the trip slower than the bike I had but you will have no troubles. The journey is well worth the effort.

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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    thank you for reminding me. I went in August 2001 and in July 2006 and I remember it was about 8 degrees, but only at the very top. just a little down it was quite nice.
    Tommy, I wish I could do the Mae Hong Son loop on a motorcycle one day! I rented motorcycles in Pai, Mae Hong Son and Mae Sariang, and I did not like the constant backtracking. how long did you spend on the loop?

    I am not really a summit person, it's not the main aim, I will try to get there of course, because I remember it is very nice, but what I enjoy the most is scenery and waterfalls - and there is no shortage of amazing waterfalls on Inthanon (there are at least 4 major ones). I also quite liked the royal project not far from the summit (lots of flowers). I haven't been to Borichinda cave so that definitely sounds interesting as well.
    a kid stepped (jumped!) on my fingers today, typing is fine but I will have to see how bad the bruise gets - can I cling on to a motorcycle for all those kilometres?

  5. #5
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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    Betti sent me an SMS at 4.50 p.m. which said "Greetings from the top of the world". So I presume she is at the top of the mountain now!

  6. #6
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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    actually, it said "greetings from the top of thailand" thanks for posting it.

    I am back in CM and have loads to sort out before I can get to posting pics etc. I have my sunstroke to sort out first (a litre of coffee).

    I went to Mae Ya waterfall last and I am still spellbound, it must be the second nicest waterfall I have ever seen. (Plitvice in Croatia tops the list.)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    all the things I've seen, they would all deserve a day trip on their own, to string them together like this is more than a treat, it's indulgence
    Last edited by Betti; 31-01-10 at 10:26 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    First of all, here is a very nice summary of things to do in Doi Inthanon National Park from a couple of years ago, written by Allthai.

    http://www.thai-blogs.com/index.php/..._thail?blog=23

    The weather was very pleasant - sunny for two days, with fresh winds towards the top, warm but not quite hot yet for taking a plunge in some of the cool mountain streams. I will have to save that particular enjoyment for a next visit.

    I had prepared two sweaters, one of them would have been enough, it was 14 degrees at the summit, but sunny so it didn't have a sharp "edge". it was nice to have a knitted hat and socks - the floor in the royal pagodas is some freezing marble.

    I got very very badly sunburnt on my face without realising until it was too late. it is horrendous to look at, luckily, I don't have to. now I understand why skiers need to put on sunscreen.

    I stayed overnight in Baan Khun Klang, the village that has the Royal Project station and the huge waterfall towering all over the valley, the altitude was about 1400 metres, it was very nice and cool at night and in the morning, but not unpleasant, one warm comforter was enough. I had not booked anything and it was not very difficult to find a place to stay - had to follow some Thai signs. This village boasts the highest altitude school in Thailand, it is a surprise for me, I would have thought there are more villages up in the mountains if not here then elsewhere.

    The national park entrance fees are back to their pre-promotion levels: 200/100 baht for foreigners, 40/20 for Thais, 20 for motorcycles and I think it is 50 for cars. For Doi Inthanon, this is quite reasonable but I did ask for the Thai price anyway using my Thai driving licence, no problems.

    Despite the easy access road, most of the mountain is strictly protected. The upper reaches are not inhabited, and you need a permit and a guide to walk the trails, apart from the short trail at the summit. But there is plenty to see even for a lazy traveller on a motorcycle....

    Mae Klang waterfall is the nearest to Chomthong and the turnoff from the highway. It is said to be busy and crowded, but I was one of about ten people around. There are restaurants and nice shaded areas for splashing around downstream from the waterfall.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sirithan waterfall is at about 900 metres altitude, you cannot get close up to it, just observe like this from a viewing platform.

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    The Royal Pagodas come after a steep ascent. They are dedicated to HM the King and Queen. The adjacent landscaped gardens have spectacular views of the valleys and mountain ranges to the south and west. 40 baht entry fee.
    This is the first time I actually see the pagodas: on my previous two visits in the rainy season, it was so cloudy / foggy / misty that we could not see all the way up to the top of the buildings!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    View towards the east from the pagodas. This strange outcrop of rock is clearly visible when you are down in the valley, actually, most of the time it blocks out the actual summit, which is very elusive, even driving up along the road you can only glimpse at it a couple of times for a few blinks of an eye.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This seems to be the highest spot of the road itself, not the summit.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Angka trail runs near the summit for a couple of hundred metres. The vegetation up here is very special, especially in the rainy season: dense moss covers the trees, the branches, the leaves, the steps, everything. Now it is still quite spooky even though it is almost all dried up. Very nice lights late in the afternoon.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    This little viewpoint is a couple of hundred metres downhill from the royal pagodas. Many Thais zip down these roads without turning the engine on!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Siriphum waterfall dominates the valley of Khun Klang village. In the morning, you can hear the water from a kilometre away - very faint but clear.

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    There is a little landscaped area under the waterfall, 20 baht entry fee, also valid for the Royal Project garden. You cannot get close up to the waterfall, just admire through the trees in the garden.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The royal project research station has a colourful display of flowers from continental climates, you can also buy locally grown vegetables and coffee.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hilltribe people (Karen and Hmong) make Doi Inthanon their home, many wear their traditional costumes for work, play, or for church on Sunday morning. This girl is wearing a Hmong dress.

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    Wachiratan waterfall is at about 700 metres altitude, surrounded by dried up forests and bamboo. In the cold season, it is thundering down right on your face, almost, you can get quite close to it. There is a trail leading up to more levels, but no splashing here. Restaurants overlook the stream, nice relaxing area.
    The monks' guide (right) wanted me to take their photo for some reason.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    To get to Mae Ya waterfall, you need to backtrack all the way to Chomthong again and follow another route for 15 kms into the national park. I posted a photo of the waterfall itself a few posts ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This waterfall is about 280 metres high in all - it has levels that are only visible from a distance, among the trees. Further downstream, there are nice splashing pools but local youths also climbed up to the lower steps of the waterfall itself.

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    On the way home, I popped into Wat Phrathat Doi Noi, which is only 1.5 kms off the highway. The summit itself is right from the funny-shaped outcrop, somewhere on that gently sloping mountain, cannot spot exactly where. Closer up, the telecommunication towers indicate the spot but can't see it anymore from so far away.

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    Planning to go back about 6 weeks from now, when family members will be visiting. Can't wait. Even if the area gets smokey and hazy, and there will be no views to speak of, it will be cooler than Chiang Mai for sure.

    There are two other routes to get to Doi Inthanon and back, they are steeper and more demanding. I think one would need a map as well to tackle that challenge.

    I updated the Chiang Mai map (see my signature for the link) with these sights. However, everything is clearly signposted on the mountain and it would be extremely difficult to get lost anyway if you follow the main road

  10. #10
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    Re: Doi Inthanon - tips, photos, ideas?

    I think I mentioned earlier that this was the first time I actually saw the pagodas.

    This photo was taken on my previous visit in July 2006. We went up with 2 friends with a tour group.

    It is me and one of my friends in front of the king's pagoda.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It is at 2200 metres or so altitude. Actually, the summit itself was much better.
    Last edited by Betti; 06-02-10 at 04:09 PM.

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