Wildlife Viewing, Doi Inthanon National Park
Tel: 66 53 268 550
Concierge.com's insider take:
Located 60 miles west of Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon is one of the kingdom's best national parks. It takes its name from Thailand's tallest peak, the 8,415-foot-high centerpiece of the park. Within the preserve's 186 square miles are lush forests of teak, mountain pine, rhododendron, and vanna orchids, which shelter tigers, gibbons, and deer. Numerous self-guided trails will appeal to day hikers; camp sites and cabins are also available and are popular with bird-watchers. Because of the mountain's broad range of altitude, habitats, and climates, more bird species have been recorded here than anywhere else in Thailand (362 different species, including the rare ashy-throated warbler and green-tailed sunbird). Prepare to be profiled: Foreigners pay a 400-baht admission fee (about $12) to all national parks, five times the price charged to Thai citizens. Many Chiang Mai tour companies offer guided day trips and overnight trekking packages inside the park as well. The Chiang Mai Zoo has a decent display of Asian animals, including a pair of giant pandas, scattered in the foothills of Doi Suthep. If you want to see the cuddly pandas, however, it'll cost double the $3 entrance fee (66-53-221-179; www.chiangmaizoo.com).