Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Thailand

Doi Suthep Mountain was formerly known as Doi Oi Chang. Its present name comes from a hermit who trained his meditation in this mountain a thousand years ago. The forest was combined with other 13 forests nearby for establishing a national park in 1981 and the country's 24th national park was established in 1981. A year later, more area was combined into the park's boundary. Doi Suthep-Pui National Park stretches over 261.06 sqaure kilometres area in Amphoe Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Hang Dong and Mueang, Chiang Mai.

As part of upper Phi Pan Nam Range, the park features rugged mountain. Its significant peaks include Doi Suthep, Doi Buak Ha and the highest Doi Pui at 1,685 metres above sea level. The watershed mountain range originates streams namely Huai Kaeo, Huai Chang Khian and Huai Mae Hia, which are tributaries of Mae Ping River.

The average temperature is 16 degrees Celsius. It has cold winter season and comfortable summer season.

Flora and fauna
The park features hill evergreen forest, deciduous dipterocarp forest, mixed deciduous forest and coniferous forest. Its lush forest comprises various kinds of plants namely Shorea obtusa, S. siamensis, Dipterocarpus obtusifolius, Lagerstroemia tomentosa, Dalbergia ssp., Dalbergia ssp., Dipterocarpus tuberculatus, Hopea odorata, Anisoptera costata and Pinus kesiya. Unfortunately, wildlife in the park is bothered by the local and hilltriber. However, we can often find Common Muntjak, Sambar Deer, Macaque, Langur and over 200 bird species such as Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Red Junglefowl, Silver Pheasant, Blacknaped Oriole, Vernal Hanging-Parrot, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher and Scarlet Minivet.

  • Phra Tamnak Bhubing Rajanives. Famed for its remarkable beauty, the hill-top palace is the northern royal palace for His Majesty the King and the royal family. The palace was built in 1961 in Thai style. Nature around the palace remains well conserved while flowerbed of various kinds beautifies the palace garden. The palace is 4 kilometres from the headquarters.
  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. The significant temple houses a stupa, sacred architecture in Buddhism which shares history with foundation of Chiang Mai. Built in 1384 in Lanna style, the Naga stairs lead to the ancient temple whose stupa houses Lord Buddha's relic. The temple is quite a precious place for people and pilgrims.
  • Khru Ba Si Wichai Monument. The monument was built to commemorate Khru Ba Si Wichai, Buddhist monk, who led the local people built the 12 kilometres uphill road to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in 1934.
  • Huai Kaeo Waterfall. Huai Kaeo Stream flows from Doi Suthep and cascades through the waterfall. A bit upstream is Wang Bua Ban where legendary love story of Chiang Mai lady occurs.
  • Montha Than Waterfall. The three-step waterfall is the most beautiful one in the park.
  • Mae Sa Waterfall. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls. The big waterfall cascades through 8 steps, each of which is 100-500 metres away from others. The other waterfalls from the same stream are Srisangwan, Mahidol, Tat Mok- Wang Hang and Tat Mok Fa Waterfall.

Getting there
The park headquarters is 16 kilometres from Chiang Mai downtown. Motorist can use Huai Kaeo Road, passing Chiang Mai University and Chiang Mai Zoo to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, then turn right to the park.