Doi Inthanon (ดอยอินทนนท์) is the highest mountain in Thailand. It is located in Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province. The name Doi Inthanon was given in honour of the king Inthawichayanon (พระเจ้าอินทวิชยานนท์), one of the last kings of Chiang Mai, who was concerned about the forests in the north and tried to preserve them. He ordered that after his death his remains shall be placed at Doi Luang, which was then renamed.
Today, the summit of Doi Inthanon is a popular tourist destination for both foreign and Thai tourists. Doi Inthanon is the peak of Inthanon Range of the Thanon Thong Chai Range, a subrange of Shan Hills in the Thai highlands stretching southwards from the Daen Lao Range. This range, the southwesternmost of the Shan Highland system, separates the Salween watershed from the Mekong watershed.
In 1954, the forests around Doi Inthanon were preserved, creating Doi Inthanon National Park, as one of the original 14 National parks of Thailand. This park now covers 482.40 km².
On the main road to the summit of Doi Inthanon stand the two Chedis (monuments) against each other; one called Naphamethinidon (นภเมทินีดล), meaning ‘by the strength of the land and air’, and the other, Naphaphonphumisiri (นภพลภูมิสิริ), meaning ‘being the strength of the air and the grace of the land’. These temples were built to honour the 60th birthday anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1987, and the 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit in 1992, respectively.
Doi Inthanon National Park is a true jewel of natural beauty, consisting of rugged mountainous terrain blanketed by lush tropical forests and dotted with mighty rivers and majestic waterfalls. The park’s protected status makes it a sanctuary for a wide range of animal species and it is perhaps the best place in Thailand for bird watching. Approximately 362 different species of bird make their home in Doi Inthanon National Park, many of which are not found anywhere else in Thailand.
The diversity of Doi Inthanon does not only extend to plant and animal species, however. The park has long been home to settlements of Northern Hilltribes as well. Recent efforts have been made to allow theses unique villages to maintain their traditional cultures while co-existing with modern developments such as tourism and the Bhumibol Dam, which harnesses the power of the Ping River to provide electricity to thousands of Thai people.
The photos below give an impression of the area surrounding the two chedis and waterfalls.