Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park covers the areas of Sanpatong District, Chomthong District, Mae Chaem District, Mae Wang District, and Toi Lor Sub-district of Chiang Mai Province within an approximate area of 482 square kilometers. The National Park consists of high mountains, including Doi Inthanon, which is the highest mountaintop in Thailand and the source of many rivers such as Ping River, where the Bhumipol Dam is situated and generating the electrical power. The National Park has beautiful natural scenery such as waterfalls, particularly Mae Ya Waterfall, which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.Historically, the mountain of Doi Inthanon was refered to as Doi Ang Ka. Prince Intharawichayanon, the last ruler of Chiang Mai, realized the importance of the country’s forests, especially in the north, where the forest serve as the watershed for the country. He was interested in helping and supporting people who were investigating the history in his area. So he requested that his body must be placed on the summit of Doi Ang Ka. After his death, the mountain was renamed Inthanon, a short version of his name. Today, visitors can see the Inthanon Wichayanon stupa on the summit of Doi Ang Ka.
The geographical features of the National Park consists of high mountains, including Doi Inthanon, which is the highest mountaintop in Thailand (2,565 meters above the sea level), followed by Doi Huamodluang (2,330 meters above the sea level). Doi Inthanon is the source of many rivers including Mae Klang, Mae Pakong, Mae Pon, Mae Hoi, Mae Ya, Mae Chaem, Mae Khan, and being part of Ping River, where the Bhumipol Dam is situated and generating the electrical power.
Since the National Park is located at 2,565 meters above the sea level, it has cold weather and high humidity throughout the year, particularly on the top of the National Park. In winter, the temperature at the National Park is below 0�ac. And in summer, despite hot weather in central Chiang Mai and nearby districts, it is still freezing on the top of Doi Inthanon and tourists should be prepared with thick clothes.
Flora and Fauna
The forest in the park is one of the country’s very significance and valuable heritage. Forests include Moist Evergreen Forest, Pine forest and Mixed Deciduous Forest, worth in economic like teak and mountain pine. Dipterocarp spp. Xylia xylocarpa, Pterocarpus, macrocapus Terminalia sp. and Lagerstroemia sp. to name a few. In addition to these, there are many beautiful flowers including vanda orchid, phycastylis and rhododendron. Sphagnum Moss and osmanda fern are found at higher levels in the park. fifty years ago, the mountain peaks were home of hill tribe people. The biggest village was Ban Khun Klang, whose agriculture method was often destructive to the forest ecosystem. Currently the several Royal Projects, assists the villagers in growing cold-climate fruit such as strawberries, grapes and apples as well as flowers. The number of wild animals in the park is decreasing the encroachment. The animals are hunted and their habitats are destroyed for agriculture. The remaining animals include serpent, gibbons, tigers, deer, wild boars, Siamese hares and Red Jungle fowls.Because of its broad altitudinal range and the cool climate of its upper reaches, the park supports the largest number of bird species of any site in Thailand. The Center for Wildlife Research at Mahidol University records a present total of 362 species and expects addition many at the summit are migrants from northern Asia. Species restricted to Doi Inthanon are Ashy-throated Warbler and an endemic race of the Green-tailed Sunbird; the park is the only site where the Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush and the Yellow-bellied Flower pecker are known to over summer and probably breed.From Doi Inthanon National Park