Waterfalls on Doi Inthanon - Chiang Mai

Mae Ya Waterfall: The North of Thailand is famous for its many waterfalls and one of the most beautiful in Chiang Mai province is Nam Tok Mae Ya. This waterfall is thought to be the highest in Thailand and is well worth the extra effort to get there.

Nam Tok Mae Ya is a beautiful, fanning cascade, dropping down an ever-widening series of steps. The water tumbles down a 100 m cliff in a series of spectacular leaps and National Park officials estimate that the Mae Ya River plunges more than 250 m at this point. At the bottom is a cool pool where children can swim and enjoy the pleasant picnic area. It is without a doubt, a photographic favorite for most visitors.

The 14 km route to get to Nam Tok Mae Ya begins in Chom Thong village. Mini-buses labeled in English Doi Inthanon Park can be hired at either Chom Thong or Mae Klang for the trip to the summit; the cost is about 500 baht for the round trip.

Mae Klang Waterfall: The Nam Tok Mae Klang Waterfall lies 66 km southwest of Chiang Mai city at the foot of Doi Inthanon Mountain. This unusual waterfall has been visited by Thai people for many years and is easily Chiang Mai's most photographed waterfall. Visitors continue to come in large numbers on any sunny day in the year to swim or simply unwind in this beautiful natural setting.

The waterfall is reached via Highway 108 to km 57 (just 1 km before the village of Chom Thong). Turn right onto Highway 1009 and continue 8 km to where the road forks. Mae Klang is 300 m straight ahead. The summit road forks to the right, reaching Park Headquarters near km 31 and the summit of Doi Inthanon at km 48. Once there, the waterfall provides a picturesque setting for picnics and relaxation. The area is fast becoming popular with many international visitors as well as local Chiang Mai families who own homes along the riverside.

The rapids and waterfall spill over a wide exposure of granite and can be approached closely. Rocky paths climb up beside the 30 m high falls and if you reach the top there is a fine view. Visitors are asked to exercise caution around the waterfall area and while swimming either above or below the falls. There are food, drink and souvenir stalls at the entrance and below the main falls. Across the bridge are the beautifully laid out gardens of the northern branch of Wat Chai Monkon, a famous Bangkok temple. In the grounds is a spectacular chedi containing a lift. There is also an enormous Buddha statue made out of one piece of Canadian greenstone. A well-maintained trail leads up the side of the waterfall and continues to the Visitor Center and beyond.

Mae Sa Waterfall: The Nam Tok Mae Sa Waterfall is 26 km from Chiang Mai city and is located at km 7 on the Mae Rim - Samoeng Road. This eight-tiered delightful waterfall occupies a natural setting among gigantic towering trees and always impresses visitors.

Wachirathan Waterfall: Nam Tok Wachirathan waterfall is on the route to Doi Inthanon and is a thirty-minute drive from Nam Tok Mae Klang. It is a beautiful scenic spot for picnics and is reached by a short, easy trail from the parking area. Nam Tok Wachirathan tumbles down a granite escarpment, creating a misty veil of great beauty. Visitors should be very cautious, as three people have tragically fallen to their deaths while taking photographs.

Just a short distance on the main road beyond the waterfall is the small Karen hill tribe village of Ban Sop Had. If you turn right just past the bridge you will find the village a few hundred meters up the dirt access road.

Siriphum Waterfall: Access to the Nam Tok Siriphum Waterfall is via the road intersecting with the main summit road on Doi Inthanon at km 30.4. The waterfalls are actually twins: two parallel plumes named for His Majesty King Bhumibol and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. An excellent view of the waterfalls can be enjoyed by walking along the track that forks left from the main road - just beyond the entrance to the guesthouse compound.

No comments: