Doi Inthanon National Park is the "roof of Thailand", having the highest "spot" in this fascinating tropical country. Situated about an hours drive from the northern province of Chang Mai, the park contains many beautiful vistas overlooking exotic, subtropical forests. Life in the forests here is quite different from that found further south, due to the colder influence of the Himalayan mountains. I found you need at least 2 days to get a true flavor of this magnificent park that has tall majestic waterfalls, vast amazing views, and hiking trails through lush subtropical forests. The highest "spot" in the park weighs in at 2,565 meters above mean sea level and the temperature often dips below freezing in Thailand winter months. When i was there the temperature plummeted to 5 degrees Celsius and I was cold for a am quite accustomed to the hot tropical days of Thailand.
The King and Queen Twin Chedis
Phra Mahathat Chedi Nabhametaneed and Phra Mahathat Chedi Naphapholphumsiri are two amazing monuments built on top of Doi Inthanon mountain in the shape of twin pagodas. The pagodas are very large and hugely impressive, it is as if they are standing guard over Thailand's northern boarders. The pagodas are surrounded by wonderful gardens and each offers spectacular views of the mountains, especially at sunset.
Doi Inthanon at Sunset
To a outdoor photographer, photographing the setting sun can be magical. Colors spring to life in from of your lens as the sun moves low on the horizon. Sunset on Doi Inthanon Mountain was an amazing treat after a long day of sight seeing. The colors were absolutely stunning. I have always found that (mostly) sunsets are more colorful that sunrises. I tested this theory on this trip by getting up early the next day to have a look (and take more photos). Thai people seemed to like the morning hours much more than the evening sun show for there was many people awake and ready for the sun to rise that morning. Which was good for me because it was quite cold and they had coffee and a few small fires to warm yourself in the main area to catch the sunrise.
Birds of Doi Inthanon
The variety of birds found in Doi Inthanon not found anywhere else in Thailand due to the change in elevation experienced in the park. Well I was in the park there was a group of bird watchers there from America. This is great for me because they were calling the birds in with a special whistle. While I don't know the species names I was able to get a lot of great pictures. I am happy to share them with you here.
Nature trails of the park
The nature trails of the Doi Inthanon National Park take you up into an evergreen cloud forest and along the ridge top ridge that is dotted with red rhododendron. The views from on top of the ridge are absolutely spectacular and I recommend taking the hike to anyone who makes it into the park. Before heading back into the cloud forest,you get a glimpse of the twin chedis from above and it is truly amazing.
Flowers of the Park
The flowers of Doi Inthanon National Park are as stunning as the views. I am just giving you a teaser here in hopes you go and see them for yourself.
Doi Inthanon National Park is Thailand’s highest mountain at 2,599 metres above sea level and is the foothills of the Himalayas, which ranges across Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and ends at Northern Thailand. The summit forest is an important source of water for the tributaries feeding the Mae Ping River. These Tributaries have cut the most amazing waterfalls, and a must see if you make it to Doi Inthanon National Park.
The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun arose from the imagination of Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat which began construction in 1997. Wat Rong Khun is truly a place to put on your “must see” list if you are planning to be in Chang Rai for any length of time. The temple is pure white on the outside with imaginative sculptures and architecture covering the landscape. Departing from the traditional use of gold in temple art, Chalermchai uses pure white with mirrors to symbolize the Lord Buddha's purity and shinning wisdom. The inside temple walls are decorated with superheroes, movie stars and cartoons juxtaposed with traditional Buddhist motifs to symbolize escaping desire, greed and passion and moving along the "right" path through Buddhist teachings.
On May 5 of last year, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Mae Lao, located 17 miles southwest of Chiang Rai. and it was reported that Wat Rong Khun sustained significant damage. The photos and video in this blog is an update on the status of the Temple. The Temple still shows signs of earthquake damage but not enough to keep you away. It is still an awesome destination to experience the culture of Thailand through Chalermchai Kositpipat art.
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