Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand (Mae Hong Son Loop, Day 1)

Having tried the motorbike well enough in the mountains of Chiang Mai, the next day we started off for our first destination of the 8-day Mae Hong Son loop route. On this first day we made 300 kilometres by bike, reaching Mae Sariang through Doi Inthanon. This is the highest peak of Thailand surrounded by the national park, called the roof of Thailand.

A wide highway leads from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon. Several kilometres before the turn to Doi Inthanon there is a huge gas station and a shop, where you may buy all you need and pump tyres before the challenging ascend.
Road to Doi Inthanon

Park Doi Ithanon.

The road goes further either to the loop or to Doi Ithanon, so the place is really popular. The entrance fee for Do Inthanon National Park is 400 baht for the farang (white) adult, plus 20 baht for a bike.
The road becomes more and more difficult – the great way to train before more mountains of Mae Hong Son loop.
Along the way, there will be signs pointing to the turns towards seven park waterfalls; visiting some of them requires additional fee. Meanwhile, the waterfall Sirthan is free.
waterfall Sirthan

Another impressive waterfall, Wachirathan, is also free.
waterfall Wachirathan

You will see many plantations on the way: the Thai king is a fan of agriculture and develops it everywhere. Because of that there are many small markets where you may get harvest from the plantations, for instance, strawberries.
strawberry plantations

Doi Inthanon strawberry

Phra Mahathat.

Then you may get to the scenic place called Phra Mahathat and incorporating the park with chedis erected for the queen and the king for their 60es anniversaries. We have already mentioned the king cult in Thailand, and you may observe it here in its full force. The chedis are erected by the royal military forces and the entrance fee is 40 baht extra to what you have already paid, so that you could make sure again how important the king is for his people. The chedis of the king and the queen are placed in front of each other, connected with a tunnel (which include the escalator too), and surrounded by the garden. From the garden, the excellent view opens.
queen chedi

King chedi

Doi Inthanon-7DSC_9270

Phra Mahathat

Phra Mahathat

Doi Inthanon peak.

If you drive further up the mountain, you will reach Doi Inthanon peak. Its height is 2565 meters, and the temperature was only 13 degrees at the time of our visit. It is said that it even snows here sometimes. There is another park next to the peak.
Doi Inthanon

Doi Inthanon peak

Doi Inthanon peak

There is also a military base next to the park, obviously closed for visitors.
royal military forces base

After having some food, we started descending. During the long descend the break cylinder started to leak. We had to change it, not in vain. We needed good breaks later, in Doi An, where even well working breaks refused to work – the descending was especially abrupt. After Doi Inthanon, we drove to Mae Sariang, enjoying the views while it was still light. It was becoming harder to drive the bike after the sunset, also, it was actually cold and the road seemed never-ending. At about 10 in the evening we finally reached Mae Sariang, and, as it turned out in the morning, there is a lot to see there too.