When I travel to large cities I always try to get out and go to nature at least once a week. In Chiang Mai, I had several options to choose from to go in a little adventure. Through this article I will share with you my best memories in Chiang Mai. Unlike what you would expect, my best time in Chiang Mai was outside of the city, in Thailand’s most lovely wilderness areas, the national parks of Si Lanna and Doi Ithanon.
Are you a fan of outdoor activities and hiking? You like going in an adventure, do kayaking, rappelling and more? These mesmerizing national parks will satisfy all your adventure cravings and will let you speechless with their beauty. Ready to discover the two best national parks around Chiang Mai?
The Si Lanna National Park
This national park is about 30miles away from Chiang Mai. It is over 247105.38 acres and has mountains, rivers, waterfalls, reservoirs and stunning valleys.
I had so much fun spending a day there with my friends. In the morning I did some kayaking and jumping on a water trampoline in the Mae Ngat Dam. I had lunch and took a nap at a floating house. And finally, in the afternoon, I did rappelling at the “Boa Thong sticky waterfalls”.
Finally, I visited the Tham Boa Thong Cave with its big Golden Buddha statue inside. I absolutely loved my experience at the Si Lanna National Park. It was indubitably one of the Highlights of my stay in Chiang Mai.
What to do in Si Lanna National Park?
The Mae Ngud Lake Reservoir
The Mae Ngud is very popular for its floating houses and restaurants. You can take a boat trip over the reservoir and reach them and take some relaxing time, do kayaking or jump over one of the many water-trampolines. There are several floating house companies at the Mae Ngat Dam, each with various facilities and prices. You can get to the national park get a boat and decide which one you like better. The boat ride coast about 600 Baths for 8people.
Bua Thong Waterfall
The Bua Thong Waterfall is also known as the Sticky Waterfall for its unusual steps to climb on. Water is cristal clear but the climbing could be a little hard for people who are not used to it. You can do rappelling is you wish to. This stunning limestone waterfall is quite impressive with its shapes and beautiful colors. Food and beverages are forbidden in the waterfall (1500baths fine). Make sure to take your swimming suit and a change of clothes since you will get totally wet climbing the Bua Thong. Leave your phone and everything that cold be damaged with water before starting to climb and be careful where you put your feet. Some rocks can be slippery. This waterfall is one the coolest natural scenery I have ever seen. I can bet you will love it.
Tham Bau Thong
Make sure you don’t miss the giant golden Buddha in the Tham Bau Thong Cave. The stairway is long and has a shape of a dragon. The cave is makes natural and mysterious temple to the beautiful Buddha inside. It was definitely worth the stop for some minutes.
Dragon Stairway to get to the cave Lady Buddha on my way to the cave The cave entrance The Golden Buddha
How to get to Si Lanna National Park?
Address: Nam Phrae, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai 50190, Thailand
Entrance fee: 100 Baht for Adults, 50 Baht for Children, 20Baths per Vehicle
The road to to Si Lanna National Park from Chiang Mai is in good shape so you can ride a moto bike if you please. I personnally found a Songthaew ride more enjoyable. I got to relax during the trip and focus more on the beauty of the landscapes.
The Doi Inthanon National Park
The so-called “Roof of Thailand“ is about 70miles away from Chiang Mai. It took me around 2hours to get there by car or by Songthaew (Local red Trunk Taxis) . I spent a full day there in order to enjoy it.
I first went up to the highest point of Thailand “The Summit of Doi Inthanon”. Then, drove down to visit the two beautiful Pagodas “Phra Maha Dhatu Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri”. I gave my self some time to discover the magnificence of the architecture and the flower garden around the pagodas before heading to hike the “Gew Mae Pan Trail”.
By then it was already mid afternoon. I drove to the “Vachiratharn” Waterfall to have some relaxing time and a cup of local coffee.
I had so much fun at the Doi Inthanon National Park. If you are looking at something off the beaten path this is where you should go. Make sure you take a jacket and wear warm clothes; temperatures can be very low in this area.
What to do in Si Lanna National Park?
The Summit of Doi Inthanon
The Summit of Doi Inthanon is the highest summit in Thailand. It is 2565 meters above the sea and is very popular destination for local tourism.
It is also called the roof of Thailand and has a high humidity and cold weather all year long. The temperatures are usually around 50 to 55 Fahrenheit.The view from the summit over the valley is spectacular on clear days.
Phra Maha Dhatu Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri
3miles away from the top of the main summit of Doi Inthanon are located two mesmerizing Chedis, the Phra Maha Dhatu Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri. The name of the first pagoda means ‘by the strength of the land and air’ was build in 1987 to honour 60th birthday aniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The name of the second pagoda means ‘being the strength of the air and the grace of the land’ was build in 1992 to honour 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit.
Of all the waterfalls in Doi Inthanon National Park, this one is probably the most powerful and impressive. It is 260feet and is very easy to access by car or moto bike. This waterfall is so strong that it produces mist that will make your clothes wet. Beautiful waterfall that is worth a stop for 30minutes.
Kaew Mae Pan Nature Trail
Just few hundred feet north of the two pagodas, this 1.5mile circular trail is worth the hike. You will not be able to take the trail by your self. You must be accompanied by a Hmong Tribe guide. The hike is easy and can be taken by any one. Part of the trail is along a beautiful mountain ridge with stunning nature scenery. The guided hike costs 200 THB for a group of maximum 8people.
How to get to Doi Inthanon National Park?
Address: Ban Luang, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand
Entrance fee: 300Baths for Foreigners (150 for Children), 50 Baths for locals.
In my opinion a Songthaew ride is the best way to get to the Doi Inthanon National Park. It is a two hours drive that will be kind of tricky to take on a moto bike because of all the bends. The ride should coast around 1500baths for 6 people.
I hope this article will be helpful for you. If you like it, share it on your favorite social media.