Hike to Waterfalls in Doi Inthanon National Park

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Along with containing the tallest point in Thailand, Doi Inthanon National Park is also home to many unique and beautiful waterfalls.

To get to Doi Inthanon National Park drive south from Chiang Mai on the 108.  I suggest leaving Chiang Mai around 6am because this will allow you to beat the crowds and finish off the day before dark.  Continue on this road for about 55km- until you see the sign to turn off to Doi Inthanon.  This will be a right hand turn at the light, just past a large gas station.  The road you are now on is the 1009, and is the road that takes you into the park and up to the summit of Doi Inthanon. Entrance into the park is 300baht plus the cost of whatever vehicle you are in (motorbikes are about 20baht more).

It is a very curvy road with fairly steep elevation.  If a motorbike doesn't suit your comforts, you can get here by car or book a tour as well.  

I recommend going to the summit first and then working your way down. This will allow you to beat most of the crowds that form later on in the day.  From the entrance of the park it is about an hour drive up to the summit, and the temperatures up here are quite cold for Thailand.  In the morning you can expect it to be in the single digits (in celsius).  Don't worry it never snows at the top, but be prepared for cold temps by bringing layers.

The summit is one of those things to "check off the list" but it doesn't have spectacular views like you'd expect the tallest point in Thailand to have.  Without giving it all away, I'll just say the jungle never seems to end.  But after taking a picture with the elevation sign, it is time to begin heading back down the mountain.

The first stop you should make is to Photograph the Royal Twin Pagodas.  After this it is time to see a bunch of waterfalls.  There are many to choose from so do a little research before entering the park, but it's also fun to just follow the signs and hope they lead you to a cool waterfall.  

Here is what I did and it ended up being an incredible day.

After the Pagodas, I decided to go to Mae Pan Waterfall.  This was a bit off the main road, but it looked more secluded and thus I'd hopefully have it to myself.  So coming down from the summit you will get to an intersection with the 1192 (it is on your right and there are signs for the waterfall).  Follow this road for about 8km, until you get to a dirt path on your right.  Turn onto this path and follow it for another 1-2km until it comes to an end.  You will see a sign talking about Mae Pan Waterfall (Which turns out to be the tallest waterfall in Chiang Mai Province. Didn't know that before I got there).  To get to the waterfall is about a 500 meter hike.  It is a beautiful trail through the thick jungle and I was the only person there, so hopefully you get lucky as well.

From Mae Pan Waterfall, head back to the main road (1009).  At the intersection turn right so that you continue making your way down the mountain.  There will now be many places you can choose to stop but I decided to continue on for a bit.  I wanted to see Sirithan Waterfall (which is on the right side of the road), but the trail was under construction when I was there.  If you get a chance to see it post photos on here for me, please.  So instead I passed that one, and stopped at Wachirathan Waterfall.  The turn off is on your left and is clearly marked.  A short paved path will take you to the main parking area.  There are a couple restaurants and ice cream here if you are in need of some fuel.  Wachirathan Waterfall is huge and beautiful and although you can't get in the water, the mist will definitely cool you off.

Leaving Wachirathan Waterfall, continue on to the exit of the park.  Once leaving the gate, take the first right available (at a rather large intersection).  This will curve you around and take you back into the park.  There is a small motorbike parking area on the right side right before the gate.  Since you already paid just show them your ticket and walk down the path to Mae Klang Waterfall.  It's a short little walk to the waterfall, but just like the previous two this one is unique and I think worth your visit.  Plus it is a nice way to finish off the day of chasing waterfalls.

Having your fill of waterfalls, head to the main road (108), turn right, and drive north back to Chiang Mai to finish off the day.

Again, there are many other waterfalls and stops that I didn't go to, and if you want to spend a night in the park that is also an option.  But I found that a day trip was perfect for me, and allowed me plenty of time to see what I wanted, while still getting back before dark.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Money
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Layers of clothing
  • Full gas tank before entering the park
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RT Distance 2 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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