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Chiang Mai, surrounded by a ring of mountains, has its own very distinctive culture, arts, festivals, and traditions as well as an exciting mix of local, ethnic as well as expatriate communities from all over the world. It has been voted one of the top destinations to live in Asia and is a modern and cosmopolitan city, while not having lost its traditional old charm. Chiang Mai is also blessed with pristine natural resources of mountains, waterfalls, and other nature-based tourist attractions. At the same time, Chiang Mai residents are warm, gracious and congenial providing authentic hospitality making visits memorable and meaningful. Visitors from all walks of life can collect handicrafts of silk, silver and wood produced locally as timeless souvenirs.
Most of Chiang Mai's mountains are oriented from north to south. Together they create a multitude of streams and tributaries including Mae Chaem, Mae Ngat and Mae Klang. One of Chiang Mai's distinctive features is Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest peak. In addition, the province boasts flat, fertile valleys, which spread along the banks of the largest and most important river in Chiang Mai Ping River which originates from the Chiang Dao mountain range. Such isolation was more favorable to Chiang Mai as it helped to nurture and preserve the unique Lanna culture. The terrain is mainly comprised of jungles and mountains, which are home to the hill tribes. In addition, wildlife and exotic flora may be found in the national parks.
Chiang Mai (- literally means new city -) found by King Meng Rai as the capital of the Lanna (- A Million Rice Fields -) Kingdom on Thursday, 12th April 1296 during the same period of time as the establishment of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Chiang Mai not only became the capital and cultural core of the Lanna Kingdom, it was also the centre of Buddhism in northern Thailand. King Meng Rai himself was very religious and founded many temples, which are still important religious places today.
Birdwatching Chiang Dao/ ดูนกเชียงดาว
Situated at the base of Doi Chiang Dao Thailand’s third highest mountain and on the edge of Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary Malee’s is a great base for birdwatchers to explore the area. A total of at least 450 species have been identified in area with new species added annually and others no doubt waiting to be discovered. Chiang Dao is now a well established stop on most bird watching trips around the north and over two or three days it is possible to see 150 species or more including some which are difficult to see elsewhere in Thailand.
Most birders soon head for the higher areas around the DYK sub-station, where multiple sightings of the localized and threatened Giant Nuthatch can be almost guaranteed and with a little luck Hume’s Pheasant. Other rarer species which can be seen here include Hodgson’s Frogmouth, Black-tailed Crake, Rusty-naped Pitta, Sapphire Flycatcher and Scarlet Finch but luck and patience are needed. The area is also excellent for many other species including Silver Pheasant, several species of woodpecker, Great and Blue-throated Barbet, Grey-headed Parakeet, Wedge and Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Grey Treepie, Slender-billed and Maroon Oriole, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Slaty-backed and Little Pied Flycatcher, Yellow-cheeked Tit, many species of Bulbul, half a dozen species of Phylloscopus warblers, Bianchi’s Warbler, White-necked Laughingthrush, Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia, White-browed and Chestnut-fronted Shrike Babbler, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Mr’s Gould’s Sunbird, Spot-winged Grosbeak and Chestnut Bunting. This may also be the best area to look for Deignan’s Babbler one of only two endemic Thai species, though the taxon of this species is unclear and it maybe conspecfic with the common Rufous-fronted Babbler.
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.. The Birds of Doi Inthanon National Park-
Birdwatching at Doi Inthanon National Park can be a fun and an interesting way to discover nature at a leisurely pace. Because of its broad altitudinal range and the cool climate of its upper reaches, the park supports the largest number of bird species of any site in Thailand.Of the total of 382 species of birds so far known from Doi Inthanon, at least 266 species are resident or were formerly resident on the mountain.
Doi Inthanon National Park
: Doi Inthanon National Park covers the areas of several districts of Chiang Mai Province. The National Park consists of high mountains, including Doi Inthanon, which is the highest mountaintop in Thailand and the source of many rivers. The National Park has beautiful natural scenery such as waterfalls, particularly Mae Ya Waterfall, which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. The park is comprised of the largest tract of upper mountain forest which ranges across Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and ends in Northern Thailand. The moist and dense evergreen forest is abundant with lichens and wild orchids. The park is also a paradise for bird lovers. Visiting Doi Inthanon is possible throughout the year, however, the best period for viewing the waterfalls is May through November while the best period for viewing wild flowers is December to February and for ornithologists is November through March.
To reach there, travel 58 kilometers west of Chiang Mai via Highway No.107 to ChomThong
, then turn right into Highway No.1009 and continue a further distance of 48 kilometers along Highway No.1009 to the summit. A good but rather steep asphalt road takes visitors up, thus the vehicle must be in good condition. Visitors could pay for the entrance fee at Km.8
on the Burmese border due west of Chiang Rai. This area is the southern-most range of some of Asia's northern birds and they can only be found here, in Thailand. Two of the more common one's are the White-browed Laughingthrush (Garrulax sannio) and the Brown-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous). The Giant Nuthatch (Sitta ma gna) can also be seen, usually in stands of pines and if you are very lucky you might come across the rare Hume's Pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae).
Attractions in Doi Inthanon National Park
- Kiew Mae Pan Nature Trail: One of the most beautiful and rewarding walks in the park is a new trail, which begins a short distance up the main summit road from Napamaytanidol. The path leads for a kilometer or more through dense, moist evergreen forest, then emerges and follows the top of a steep slope bordering the canyoned headwaters of the Mae Pan River. Dotted with red rhododendron, the trail proceeds southward for another kilometer with fine, open views to the west, then re-enters the forest and eventually terminates at Napamaytanidol Chedi. Two hours would allow a leisurely walk with camera stops.
- Mae Klang Waterfall: This unusual waterfall has been visited by Thai people for many years and they continue to come in large numbers on any sunny day in the year to swim, picnic and relax in this beautiful setting. The rapids and waterfall spill over a wide exposure of granite and can be approached closely. Visitors are asked to exercise caution around the waterfall area and while swimming either above or below the falls. A well-maintained trail leads up the side of the waterfall, and continues to the Visitor Center and beyond.
- Mae Pan Waterfall Group: At kilometers 6.6 on the Mae Chaem road is the turn-off to Mae Pan Waterfall. The area is quiet, of the beaten track, and can be described as the backcountry of Doi Inthanon Park. It offers a rewarding loop hike of 1 to 2 hours through untouched terrain with small waterfalls and tumbling creeks along most of the route.
- Mae Ya Waterfall: A large waterfall of 260 meters high, located in the south of the National Park. Many tourists claimed that the Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand since the Waterfall is like a combination of different waterfalls. It can be accessed from the right hand side of Chomthong-Hod Road, then, follow the guide posts.
- Trekking Trail: Doi Inthanon National Park is one of suitably park for hiking. The park has 4 different features treks, which are; Ang Ka Nature Trial, Gew Mae Pan Nature Trial, kilometers 38 Nature Trial, Group of Mae Pan Waterfalls Nature Trial. Besides, there are other activities for example bird watching, botanical education, flower and butterfly watching.
- Vachiratharn Waterfall (or Muangyong Waterfall): A 70-meter-high waterfall, having originated in Mae Klang Gully and being located near kilometers 22, Chomthong-Doi Inthanon Raod.