Doi Inthanon Nature Trail

Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain of Thailand. The highest point is 2565 meters above see level. The Doi Inthanon National Park is located about 100 km south-west of Chiang Mai, and is easily accessible by car or motorbike. Near the top of the mountain is a very short hiking trail in a beautiful forest area; this one is open throughout the year. A few kilometers before the top is a longer nature trail, which takes you through forest area and an open “alpine-meadow”. This trail is closed during the rainy season, from 1st June to 31st October. At the start of this trail you have to hire a guide (200 Baht for a group) who will lead your group along the trail and provides background information about the forest. The guides are people from the nearby tribal village.

First take a look at some photos of this hike. Then read the hike description, with links to .kml and .gpx files. And finally find out how to get there.

Photos of the Doi Inthanon hike

Here are some photos to give a first impression of what to expect during this hike. The first part of the hike is in a dense green jungle with high trees and ferns. The trail is well maintained and takes you to a small waterfall in the middle of the forest. After some time, the forest suddenly stops and you arive in an alpine meadow. The trail then continues along a ridge, with forest on one side and open area on the other side. You will have fantastic views over the surrounding area.

Hike description

The starting point of this hike is on road 1009, at the parking place just a few hundred meters past the turn off to the two Napamaytanidol Chedi. Geo-coordinates (in decimal degrees) for the starting point are:
Latitude: 18.555768°
Longitude: 98.482446°

Here is a map of the hike.

Doi Inthanon Nature Trail
Doi Inthanon Nature Trail

This trail is at an altitude of about 2,200 meters. The trail has a length of about only 3 km but still needs 2 to 4 hours to complete, because you will be stopping many times to enjoy the forest and views and to take photographs.

The first part of the trail is in dark evergreen forest with high trees. You will see a lot of different plants including mosses and ferns. There are plenty of birds high up in the trees; you will hear them but they are often difficult to see. The trail leads past a small waterfall and crosses a stream.

After walking for some time through the dark forest, suddenly the trees will stop and you enter an open area with grasses, ferns and other small plants. The path through this area leads to the top of a ridge from where you have panoramic views over the valley beyond if you happen to be there on a clear day. On cloudy days you may be looking down on top of clouds or you may be standing in a fog.

Now the trail follows the ridge. On the left side you have dense forest, and on the right is completely open with views down into the valley. The area is scattered with rhododendrom trees, which bear red flowers if you happen to come on the right moment. Small edible berry bearing bushes cover the ground near the path.

At the end of the ridge you get a view towards the two chedi, and then you go back into the forest where the trail takes you back to the starting point. All along the way the guide will tell you about the plants and animals in the area, but most guides don’t speak much English, so it is good to have somebody in your group who can translate Thai language.

After walking this hike, continue along road 1009 for about 4.5 km to reach the top of Doi Inthanon. Just 100 meters before the end of the road (on the left side) is another short walking trail. It’s only a 20 minutes walk, but it leads you through exceptional beautiful forest with trees overgrown with ferns, and there are a lot of birds in this area. You may see some species that you have never seen before.

Download the tracks

With the following links you can download the hike. The .kml (keyhole markup language) and .kmz files can be opened in Google Earth. The .gpx file can probably be used in your GPS device, but as you will be walking with a guide, there is no way to get lost on this hike.

To download a file, right-click the link and then save it to your computer.

KML: nature_trail_inthanon.kml (16,933 bytes)

KMZ: nature_trail_inthanon.kmz (5,665 bytes)

GPX: nature_trail_inthanon.gpx (24,550 bytes)

How to get there?

From Chiang Mai take road 108 and drive south for about 55 km.
Just before reaching Chom Thong, turn right and follow road 1009 (there are clear signboards showing that this is the road to doi Inthanon). This road will eventually (after about 47 km) take you to the top of Doi Inthanon.
When you see the turn off to the two Chedis, continue for a few hundred meters where you will see a big parking place on the left side of the road. This is where the nature trail starts. It’s about 4.5 kilometers before the summit of Doi Inthanon.

KML: Chiang_Mai_to_Doi_Inthanon.kml (56,734 bytes)

31 thoughts on “Doi Inthanon Nature Trail”

    1. Yes you pay a fee somewhere on road 1009 when entering the park. I think it is 100 Baht for foreigners, 20 Baht for Thais and 30 Baht for the car. Then to walk the nature trail you have to hire a local guide. This costs 200 Baht per group of maximum 10 persons.

  1. Hello,
    Wow, it sounds and looks great !

    We would like to do this with a friend with a scooter/motorbike … is it possible ? and is there a place there to fill our tank ?

    Thank you for the answer 🙂

    1. Yes you can get to the starting point of the nature trail with a motorbike, and even you can drive to the top of Inthanon. The best place to fill up your tank is probably where you turn from road 108 to road 1009. But very likely you can also get fuel near the Royal Project station which is on the road (1009) to the top.

      I have now included (under How to get there) a KML file which you can download and open in Google Earth. It gives you an idea of the route to take.

      Note that in the rainy season the nature trail may be closed. But you can drive always to the top of Inthanon and there is a smaller trail there which is also interesting. That one is always open.

  2. hi , i wanna ask, me and my husband is planning to go to doi it possible to rent a motorbike from the city going to doi inthanon?isn’t dangerous riding a motorbike?please reply..
    thank you

    1. Yes, people often go there by motorbike. There are several places in Chiang Mai where motorbikes can be rented. And yes, driving motorbike is a bit dangerous always, especially on big roads where cars drive very fast. Wear a helmet and drive carefully.
      As you are planning to go there in January, don’t forget to take some warm clothes, because near the summit it can be quite cold.

  3. I hired a guide and ran it in about 40mins, which includes time for stopping to take a couple pics. It’s a decent workout, just ensure to tell the guide you’re planning to run the track. Mine carried my water, certaily earned his 200 baht lol

    1. I doubt if you will be allowed to walk the nature trail so early. But also I think you would not see the sunrise. A large part of the trail is under trees. The part which is open looks to the west.
      However, on the main road you may have some points where you can see a sunrise. Perhaps also from the chedis?
      Does anybody else have experience seeing sunrise from Inthanon?

    1. The nature trail is closed from 1st June to 31st October (i.e. during the rainy season). The small trail near the top is always open.

  4. Hi there,
    What level of fitness should you be at to do this? How strenuous is the trail?
    Thanks very much.

  5. Hello, it is possible to go to the start point by bus or any “transport” from Chiang Mai? I am going travelling alone from the end October untill the end November, I dont think so to rent a car o motorbike on my journey 🙂 Thank you!

  6. are there more than one entrance to get into the national park? or is it only one entrance and there are various trails to get through the park?

    1. From Chiang Mai there is just one road to get to the top of Inthanon by car. There is another way getting to the top by hiking a ridge on the North side but that is a very long hike (I have seen reports of people walking that ridge up and down in 11 hours).

    1. Yes it is possible. The nature trail on Inthanon is well maintained and has no difficult rocky parts. But I still would prefer hiking shoes.

    1. Hey Mae. How did it go? I am going by myself next month and I also wanted to know if it was possible to go by public transportation since I dont have a driver licence and i dont know how to ride a motorbike.

  7. SengkangBabies

    Thank you for your post, we visited 2016 Dec and would recommend more friends to visit! Love the “forest and meadow walk”, with the mist floating in and out, so Magical!

    The small cafeteria at the base sells marvellous aroys (smoked pork)!

    cheers, Andy

    1. Used to be 200 Baht, but I don’t know if that’s still the price this year. But note that this trail is closed during the rainy season; I think it opens on 1st November.

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