Whenever people picture Thailand, the first thing that comes to mind is the amazing beaches with white sand and warm weather. However, if you dig deeper, you will find out that the northern part of Thailand consist of some of the most spectacular views which are easily comparable with any other country on the globe.
Although most tourists visit the beaches to get away from their cold harsh winters, there are still some who are interested in the cool windy weather despite Thailand being known for its year round topical climate. Some notable mountaintops in the country can reach single digit temperatures during winter, while some have million dollar views year round. Whatever your preference, it’s definitely worth taking a trip to these 4 unforgettable mountains.
Phu Chi Fa Forest Park – Chiang Rai
When it comes to noteworthy mountain views, Thailand’s northern regions are some of the very first locations that come to mind. Phu Chi Fa Forest in Chiang Rai has some of the best panoramic views in the country, especially because their highest point stands at 1,442 meters. You know this will be an interesting mountaintop destination because the name directly translates to ‘the mountain that points to the sky’. Usually when it comes to million dollar views, the hike up won’t be easy, but here, the walk up is only 760 meters which on average takes about 20 minutes.
This is one of the most popular locations to watch the sunrise, so expect to be awake in the early hours before arrival atop the mountain at around 5:55 am. If you’re looking for a new sensation, temperatures on top of Phu Chi Fa can be around 10˚C or lower in the mornings during the winter season of November through to February. Also, don’t forget to check the sunrise times as it may differ depending on the seasons as you don’t want to hike all the way up and miss the experience.
Phu Thap Boek – Petchabun
Home to the Hmong hill tribe, Phu Thap Boek is another mountain that boasts some spectacular views and is an especially popular destination in the cooler months. Standing at 1,768 meters, there are a host of campgrounds where tourist pitch up their tents in bids to catch a glimpse of some of the most amazing sunrises Thailand has to offer. All around are lush green forests, farmland on the slopes, as well as the Luang Prabang rainforest which is part of the neighboring country of Laos. Another great thing about Phu Thap Boek is that the main viewpoints are easily accessible by car, so you can eliminate the need for any tiresome hiking. There are 2 main seasons when it comes to planning a visit to this mountain top, first being the winter months of December and January, where the weather is quite cool with cherry blossoms blooming all around. However, if you visit during the rainy season, expect to see the amazing formation of mists throughout the day as well as the night.
Doi Luang Chiang Dao – Chiang Mai
If hiking is part of your plans, then visiting Doi Luang Chiang Dao in Chiang Mai province is a must-visit destination on your bucket list. Located within the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve, the 230-250 million year old limestone mountain is 2,195 meters from sea level and is the third tallest in the region. The hike up is rather difficult as the peak is only accessible on foot, but there are a host of services which will take you to the start of the hiking trial. The hike to the summit is around 8.5 kilometers and takes around 4-6 hours uphill and around 3-5 hours downhill depending on your physical condition. The area sometimes closes depending on the weather conditions, so it’s always best to check before your arrival. However, to limit the number of visitors, visiting Doi Chiang Dao required an approval letter from the Director of Wildlife Conservation Office, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department. Your trip will have to be arranged at least 2 weeks in advance due to the many factors which are involved. Expect a wide range of temperatures depending on your visit, with summer temperatures from February to May around 10˚C - 29˚C, the rainy seasons with temperatures of 15˚C - 27˚C, and the winter season with temperatures from 0˚C - 20˚C.
Doi Tung – Chiang Rai
Doi Tung, standing at 1,389 meters is not one of the tallest mountains, but there are a lot of things to see and do a slow pace. The entire area is easily accessible by car and consists of a variety of activities fit for just about everyone. First, you can visit Mae Fah Luang Garden, which was designed under royal patronage from HRH Princess Srinagarindra, which showcase a vast variety of different flowers and plants blooming all year long. From there, you can also visit the Royal Villa, which is now open to the public and was built with reference from a chalet in Switzerland where she used to live.