Chiang Mai Province is home to impressive national parks offering a wide range of natural attractions.
From the mossy green forests of Doi Inthanon National Park to the secluded floating raft houses in Sri Lanna National Park, there are a few spots here that certainly deserve to be on your Thailand travel itinerary.
Here I’ll run you through 10 awesome National Parks in Chiang Mai province, along with their distance from Chiang Mai city, and some things to do in each. Throughout this article I’ve also linked to more in-depth guides on my blog, and options for tours.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Home to Thailand’s highest peak, Doi Inthanon National Park is an easy day trip from Chiang Mai. The park is located about 100km from Chiang Mai city, taking around 2hrs each eay. The Ang Ka Nature Trail and Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail give you a great opportunity explore the high altitude evergreen mossy forests. Other key attractions are the Twin Pagodas, numerous waterfalls like Mae Klang and Wachirathan, along with the Karen hill tribe villages. Campgrounds are available for overnight stays.
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
This park is most well-known for the iconic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple and the picturesque gardens of the royal Bhubing Palace. Doi Suthep National Park is easy to reach by public songataew from Chiang Mai city costing as little as 40 THB (around $2) and under half an hour each way. Avid hikers can skip the transport and climb the Monk’s Trail to the temple instead. For an overnight stay, you will be blown away by the epic sunrise views from the Doi Pui Campground up near the summit. Read all about this and more in my comprehensive guide to the Doi Suthep National Park.
Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
Located in the far northern end of Chiang Mai Province (almost Chiang Rai) you’ll find the Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park which is one of my favorite national parks in Chiang Mai. By the park entrance the Fang Hot Spring geyser shoots out jets of superheated water. Nearby, there are bath houses where you can soak away in a comfortable temperature and can be easily rented through the park headquarters. Stay overnight at scenic Kiew Lom campground up in the mountains, or find a hotel in the nearby sleepy town of Fang.
Ob Luang National Park
Ob Luang National Park is home to waterfalls, hot springs, caves, and even prehistoric rock paintings making it one of the most diverse national parks in Chaing Mai. The most iconic attraction here is the Ob Luang Gorge carved out by the powerful Mae Cham River. It reminds me a bit of Taiwan’s Taroko Gorge. As you explore the park’s hiking trails be sure to keep an eye out for the 28,000 year old prehistoric rock paintings! There are also national park bungalows available where you can stay overnight by contacting the park’s headquarters.
Sri Lanna National Park
Sri Lanna National Park located about an hour north of Chiang Mai city, is known for its huge dam which is popular for kayaking and rafting. Most travelers also head up here to visit the Sticky Waterfalls (Namtok Bua Tong) which gets its name from the non-slip surface created by calcium carbonate deposits. Venturing further into the park you can also visit the less known Mon Hin Lai waterfall cascading over 9 impressive levels. There are various floating raft houses scattered across the dam which offer a unique stay out in northern Thailand’s nature.
Huai Nam Dang National Park
Huai Nam Dang National Park is most well-known for Doi Kieu Lom viewpoint which offers amazing sunrise views across a sea of clouds. It’s a similar view you can expect from Phu Chi Fah in Chiang Rai. The park is also home to a couple of hot springs accessed via a 1.5km walking trail such as Pong Dueat Pa Pae Hot Spring which shoots out a 2 meter high jet of superheated water, and Tha Pai Hot Spring. Unlike the Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, the water here is well above 80 degrees Celsius and not suitable for bathing. The national park offers 8 cabins for overnight stays at 2,000 THB per night, and a campground.
Mae Takhrai National Park
Mae Takhrai is a lesser known national park in Chiang Mai. It is paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers, home to lots of wildlife such as deer, gibbons, and many species of birds. A 3km walking trail takes you around the Mae Takhrai Reservoir. There are two waterfalls in the park including the Tat Meoi Waterfall and the Mae Takhrai Waterfall which are located 16km and 6km from the park headquarters. Two campsites are available within the national park for overnight stays.
Mae Wang National Park
Mae Wang national Park is located about an hour southwest of Chiang Mai city, right next to Doi Inthanon National Park. This park is best for visiting the Pha Chor Canyon, a unique 30 meter tall rock formation which was created by tectonic plate movement follow by many years erosion by the Ping River. A one hour walking trail takes you around and down to the bottom of the canyon. It’s a similar experience to visiting the Pai Canyon in Mae Hong Son Province.
Chiang Dao National Park
Encompassing part of the Chiang Dao mountain range, this park is known for its stunning limestone caves and mountainous terrain. It offers a range of hiking trails, including paths leading to the 2175m high summit of Doi Chiang Dao, the third highest in Thailand. The park also provides camping facilities and is a hotspot for bird watching, with diverse wildlife and lush vegetation. Chiang Dao National Park is located just north of Sri Lanna National park and can easily be combined on the same trip north of Chiang Mai city.