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Sri Lanna National Park

MANY OF US, especially those who live and work in a city habitat with all the ensuing pressures, long to "get away from it all" and escape into a more natural environment. National Parks are the answer for many who like to experience nature, relax with the touch of soft breezes or the feel of Mother Earth between their fingers.

Now that you are here holidaying in Chiangmai or Chiangrai, there is a golden opportunity to visit one of northern Thailand's most lovely wilderness areas. It is Sri Lanna National Park which, with an area of over 100,000 hectares, is the sixth largest in the Kingdom. A Park of valleys, mountain ranges (running in a North/South line), rivers, waterfalls and lake reservoirs. It offers visitors a "back to nature" experience which can be as relaxing or energetic as they like.

There are two entrances to this vast park. One easy way to reach Sri Lanna National Park is via the Chiangmai-Faang Road (route 107) which after about 41 kms, will bring you to a Directional Sign for Mae Ngud Reservoir. Follow this sign for a further 12 kms and Sri Lanna National Park is to hand.

Or get to the park by heading northeast out of Chiang Mai-Prao Road (route 1001). This scenic highway eventually brings the traveler to the enormous Sri Lanna National Park, this huge tract of land includes Mae Ngud, Mae Taeng and Chiang Dao forests. The wildlife is abundant in this largely undisturbed wilderness of rolling mountains, which is the source of the Mae Ping river. There are many places of special interest that can be visited in this huge park. These include Mon Hin Lai Waterfall, close to the park's main entrance.

As can be expected with a Park of this size, there are various areas of interest and relaxation. Completed in 1985, the Mae Ngud Lake Reservoir is one such area and it provides visitors with peaceful, floating cottage accommodation, plus "float houses", with restaurant and refreshment facilities. A gentle boat trip along the fringe of the forest-studded lake side is another way of enriching those relaxing hours. Mae Ngud Reservoir is the heart of a water catchment area approximately 1,281 square kms in size.

Another Park area for exploration, and close to the Park's Prao highway entrance, is the Mon Hin Lai Nature Trail. From the Trail's starting point, you may hike through a magical landscape of rushing streams, ferns, stands of bamboo, a grotesque banyan tree and raw, evergreen forest until one reaches the crashing, picturesque with its six separate spectacular cascades. The best time to see these tumbling torrents is from July to October.

No less interesting a trek for the enthusiast is the Huay Mae Wa Nature Trail. Again there are ferns from the Trail's Starting Point but they give way to a unique "thin" forest. Trees, from large to mid-range to small, struggle on infertile soil within a micro ecosystem. During the dry season, these trees shed their leaves and sometimes catch fire from seasonal lightning. Other interests along the Trail are "Piedmont" fan shaped, light screen deposits, water eroded round rocks and a red sandstone rock, called Hunter's Whetstone, which was used for sharpening tools in times past.

The Paa Dang Cave, situated in the heart of Doi Paa Dang Mountain, is another beautiful attraction which will enhance any visit to Sri Lanna National Park. But please, during your visit, do remember that it is a National Park and a National Treasure. Take care of nature and it will return a bountiful pleasure to all of us. As the slogan goes, "Take Nothing but Photographs and Leave Only Footprints".

Useful Contact Numbers When Planning Your Nest Trip

Information about the Mae Ngud Som Boonchon Dam facilities can be obtained by calling Tel. 479001 or 479171. It's possible to contact the establlished accommodations directly.

  • Sai Natee Float-House, Tel. 857377;
  • Aekchai Floating House, Tel. 857222;
  • Nong-Ann Float-House, Tel. 857049;
  • Prapun Float-House, Tel. 857206;
  • Rim Tarn Float-House, mobile phone: (01) 4600213.

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