Northern Thailand boasts a good collection of designated national parks which offer lovely forested areas, waterfalls, gardens, hiking trails, camping and a number of other distinctive features. There are more than 30 national parks in the north of Thailand, including Thailand’s highest peak, Doi Inthanon National Park.
Doi Inthanon is one of the most popular destinations for day tours from Chiang Mai. As it is not on public transport routes, so joining tour, renting a songthaew or hiring a car or motorcycle are means of getting to Doi Inthanon. Rentalcars.com is a preferred partner for What’s Up and is a global car hire provider offering competitive daily rental rates in Chiang Mai. The following are our recommendations for the best national parks in Northern Thailand.
Last Updated: December 2018
National Parks in the North of Chiang Mai:
Pha Hom Pok | Suthep-Pui | Huai Nam Dang | Pha Daeng | Sri Lanna
National Parks in the South of Chiang Mai:
Chae Son | Inthanon | Khun Tan | Mae Takhrai | Mae Wang | Ob Khan | Ob Luang | Further Reading
Note: Admission fees do change, we recommend you to check for the updates.
Doi Inthanon National Park is definitely the number one destination for a nature trip from Chiang Mai. This park is 100kms from Chiang Mai and home to the highest mountain in Thailand. Doi Inthanon is 2,565-metres high and is the centrepiece of a hilly location noted for its cooler weather, diverse wildlife, hilltribe settlements, waterfalls, Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail and the landmark royal chedis of Naphamethanidon and Nophamethanidon. During the winter months, the sight of morning ground frost and sakura cherry blossoms is an added attraction.
Doi Inthanon National Park: #119, Moo 7, T. Baan Luang, A. Chom Thong, Chiang Mai 50160 | Open: 05:30-18:30 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 300 B; Child 150 B | Tel: +66 53 286 729 | Fax: +66 53 286 727 | Website | Email
Second most popular on the itineraries for national park destinations, Doi Suthep-Pui is spread across the mountains to the west of Chiang Mai City. The iconic Doi Suthep Temple is the main draw of this park. Other highlights are Bhubing Palace, waterfalls, a small cave and a Hmong hilltribe village. The whole park is blanketed with evergreen trees. Together with the elevated altitude, the trees keep the park cool on even the hottest summer days.
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park: – T. Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 200 B; Child 100 B | Tel: +66 53 210 246 | Website | E-mail | Map
Abutting Thailand’s far northern border with Myanmar, Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park is close to Fang and almost 200kms from Chiang Mai. The park entrance and headquarters at Doi Pha Hom Pok are next to Fang Hot Springs. The 2,285 metre Pha Hom Pok Mountain is the park’s reason for being and provides challenging hikes to its summit. A hot-spring sauna or bath and the chance of spotting birds such as a vibrantly hued Mrs Gould’s sunbird are bonus Pha Hom Pok draws.
Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park: #224, M. 6, T. Pong Nam Ron, A. Fang, Chiang Mai 50110 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 300 B ; Child 150 B | Tel: +66 53 453 517 | Website | E-mail | Map
Pha Daeng was once called Chiang Dao National Park and is located near Chiang Dao Town and Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is about 80kms to the north of Chiang Mai and is a picturesque location featuring leafy forests and limestone hills. Sri Sang Wang Waterfall, a hot spring, a hiking trail, and camping and bungalow accommodation are the draws here.
Pha Daeng National Park: – M. 3, Ban Nawai, T. Muang-na, A. Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai 50170 | Open: 08:30-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 046 307 | Website | E-mail | Map
Huai Nam Dang National Park is just off the highway running from Mae Taeng to Pai and is a 100km trip from Chiang Mai. Doi Kiew Lom is a lofty location offering panoramic views of nearby flower gardens and distant mountain peaks emerging from valleys of mist. Huai Nam Dang takes its name from its multi-tiered waterfall while Pong Dued is one of a couple of hot springs where tourists are able to enjoy rejuvenating bathing. The park’s innate beauty and stunning sunsets have made it a must see for tourists.
Huai Nam Dang National Park: – M. 5, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 300 B; Child 150 B | Tel: +66 53 248 491 | Website | E-mail | Map
The turnoff for Sri Lanna National Park is on the main road between Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao Town. It takes about one hour to get there. Sri Lanna is one of Thailand’s larger parks and is characterised by mountains, forests, waterfalls and lake reservoirs. Mae Ngat Dam is towards the southern end of this park. Raft-house accommodation, kayaking and water obstacle courses have made Mae Ngat Reservoir a popular destination. [Read more about Lakes and Reservoirs in Chiang Mai]
Sri Lanna National Park: – Ban Pao, A. Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai 50150 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 317 495 | Website | E-mail | Map
Mae Takhrai is east of Chiang Mai, covered the areas of Doi Saket District and San Kamphaeng District. This is not one of the nation’s largest parks, but more than makes up for this with breathtaking scenery featuring verdant forest, mountain crags, small lakes and, depending on the season, patches of blossoming wildflowers. Tat Moei waterfall is 15-metres high and a majestic sight during and just after the annual wet season. Mae Takhrai has two lakeside campsites.
Mae Takhrai National Park: #36, M. 3, Ban Mae Wan, T. Pa Miang, A. Doi Saket, Chiang Mai 50220 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fee: Free | Tel: +66 96 680 2727 | E-mail | Map
KHUN TAN NATIONAL PARK
Khun Tan National Park is 60kms south of Chiang mai. It is not that easy to get to and this is reflected in its low annual visitor numbers. The main entrance can only be reached by hiking from Khun Tan Train Station or a 20km drive along a narrow, twisting lane. Mt Khun Tan is 1,353 metres high. Hiking paths to the summit and Tat Moei Waterfall lead through forests and meadows dotted with orchids and wildflowers. Accommodation is available for visitors who want to stay overnight.
Khun Tan National Park: – M. 8, Ban Tha Pla Duk, A. Mae Ta, Lamphun 51140 | Open: 07:45-18:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 546 335 | Website | Map
Mae Wang is one of Thailand’s newest national parks. Its principal attraction is the Pha Chor canyon and the red cliffs which rise high on each of its sides. Pha Chor has been weathered by the passage of time and now features unusual formations and patterns. The individuality of the chasm has led authorities to dub it the ‘Grand Canyon of Thailand’. A marked one-way path leads down into the canyon and back out again. Mae Wang National Park is 50kms to the south of Chiang Mai and off the highway leading to Doi Inthanon.
Mae Wang National Park: – T. Santisuk, A. Doi Lor, Chiang Mai 50360 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 100 B; Child 50 B | Tel: +66 81 881 4729 | Website | Map
Ob Luang and Doi Inthanon national parks share a common border. Ob Luang is a little over 100kms from Chiang Mai. The main entrance is beside Highway 108, the route for Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son. The Mae Chaem River flows through a pictorial canyon in Ob Luang. This together with Mae Tia Waterfall, hot springs and Tu-pu cave’s stalagmites and stalactites are incentives to visit Ob Luang.
Ob Luang National Park: – A. Hot, Chiang Mai 50240 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 200 B; Child 100 B | Tel: +66 81 602 1290 | Website | E-mail | Map
Ob Khan National Park is a pleasant location to chill out at and is just 45 minutes drive to the southwest of Chiang Mai City. It boasts a riverside setting with wading and bathing pools, rocky rapids and abundant picnic spots. Those who can tear themselves away from these pastoral delights will find hiking trails traverse pleasant landscapes with caves, mixed forest, waterfalls and lots of bird species to enjoy.
Ob Khan National Park: – T. Nam Prae, A. Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230 | Open: 08:00-16:30 (Daily) | Admission Fee: Free | Tel: +66 86 181 1068 | Website | Map
Chae Son National Park is a bit of an adventure playground and features hiking trails to waterfalls. The park headquarters is close to natural hot springs. Visitors wishing to take a rejuvenating dip in the warm waters have a choice of private huts or the communal bath. There is also a pavilion where skilled masseuses are on hand to massage away aches and pains or give a relaxation treatment.
Chae Son National Park: – Chae Son, Chiang Mai 52240 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Admission Fees: Adult 200 B; Child 100 B | Tel: +66 53 380 000 | Website | Map