Inthanon Peak or better known in local is “Doi Inthanon” is a part of the great Himalaya Range that lines from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and end at Doi Inthanon in Thailand. Doi Inthanon is also the highest peak of Thailand which its nickname “the roof of Thailand” with 2,565 m environed by the various verdant forests including rainforest, pine forest, and mixed forest with the pleasant climate and drench all year round.
In particular in the winter in which the place is covering with flog all day and maybe frost over the top of the plant. More than that, the location is the site of one o f the royal projects “Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon” which initiated by HM King Bhumiphol where the place is so interesting and excellent learning center in the agriculture that should not miss for the trip to Chiang Mai.
Background of the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon
Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon or so-called in general among the local is “Krong Karn Luang Inthanon” (Royal Project Inthanon) established in 1979 by HM King Bhumiphol (Rama IX) for aiding the hill-tribe people (mostly is Karen and Hmong) to eliminate the opium growing and shifting cultivation. The area was the steep and deep mountains which lining along the mountain range and divided into 2 paths one to the east and another to the west. The east diversion channel flows to Mae Ping river, and the west one heads to Mae Cham river with 1,300 meters from the sea level and 21 degree Celsius in average.
Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon nestles in Doi Inthanon the highest top in Thailand where the place serves as a research station for temperate flowers that mainly is Chrysanthemum. The center also develops the cultivation of strawberries, species of ferns, a research center for Arabica coffee, winter fruits, and high-land fishery.
Furthermore, the Royal Project Inthanon presents the beautiful custom and folk wisdom like the hill-tribe rice terrace that becoming the popular sightseeing such as Ban Mae Klang Luang and Ban Pha Mon. Also, along the way to the royal project is plenty of natural spots for the visitors to visit for example Phra Maha That Nabhamethanidol and Nabhapolbhumisiri, Kew Mae Pan, Mae Ya Waterfall, Siribhume Waterfall, etc.
Sightseeing Spots in the Royal Agriculture Station Inthanon
1.1 Hydroponics Vegetables Greenhouse:
Sightsee the temperate plants – vegetables, flowers, hydroponics vegetables, and research center for the temperate plants.
1.2 The Royal 80th Anniversary Garden:
The garden was founded in 2007 to commemorate HM the King Bhumiphol’s 80th birthday anniversary. The terrace furnished with the variety of rhododendron and seasonal flowers and ornamental plants.
1.3 Ferns Greenhouse:
The place has collected rare species of fern which are significant in economic and horticulture. The hall contains more than 50 species of fern in 140 types.
1.4 Flower and Ornamental Plants Greenhouse:
The greenhouse to collect the flowers and ornamental plants – orchids including carnivorous plants – Tropical Pitcher plant, Butterwort, Sarracenia that are all fitted with the climate in the high-land.
1.5 Rhododendron Garden:
The hall collects the species of Rhododendron such as Azalia. The rhododendron has known as a commercial plant, and many of the plants at the royal project here are propagated species naturally, i.e., Rhododendron arboretum that found in general in the high-land in Thailand like Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang.
2. The productivity of the Royal Project Inthanon
2.1 Organics Vegetables
It means the productivity from organics farming and at the Royal Agriculture Inthanon has promoted the hill-tribe farmers to grow these plants which including Chinese Cabbage, Pak Choi, Baby Pak Choi, string beans, Baby carrot, Green Oak Leaf, Red Oak Leaf, and Lettuce.
2.2 Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) Vegetables
The vegetables that cultivated with the 3 principles of the Royal Project Veggies is “Fresh, Clean, and Safe”. The member farmers of the royal project must practice along the rules and regulations from the preparation of the cultivation plant, nurturing, the source of water, through harvest and packaging process. The GAP vegetables that promoted by Royal Agriculture Inthanon are Fennel, Celery, Zucchini, Green Pepper, Tomato, Cherry Tomato, string beans, Cabbage, Japanese Bunching Onion, and Potato.
This is the important potential plants that promoted to grow by the royal project to be the main farming of the hill-tribe people sustainably. Thanks to the benefit of the fruit tree are the perennial plant that lasts long for ages and also the tree acts as the forest in which to recover the declined forest, protect the ground, absorb water a nd protect the erosion by water, and moisturize the environment. The fruits that the project promotes the mountaineers are persimmon, peach, plum, Chinese plum, Avocado, Strawberry bleed 80, Cape Gooseberry, Sweet Passionfruit, Grape, Mulberry, Kiwi fruit, Raspberry, and Fig.
2.4 Cut flowers
It refers to the flowers to be cut only the blossom or inflorescence for use or distribution. The excellent quality of the cut flowers is long and stable stalk, the full pigment of color with the beautiful shape, and long last blooming.
2.5 Potted Plant
It means the species of plant that grow in the pot or any containers to use in decoration purpose. The potted plants are easily portable and maintenance.
2.6 Arabica Coffee
The proper height for Arabica coffee cultivation is 1,000 meters upward with 15-25 degree Celsius of climate on average. The prominent of Arabica coffee is it is smooth and mellow in flavor and intense aroma of coffee with a bit of bitter. The Arabica has about 1-2% of caffeine which is favored for “roasted coffee” and served as “Fresh Coffee”. The Royal Agriculture Station Inthanon has promoted the local farmers in Arabica planting in the area of Mae Ya Noi Unit.
2.7 Farm Crop
The farm crop that grows at the station is Azuki bean, Red Kidney Bean, White Kidney Bean, Rice, and Purple Glutinous Rice (Khao Kum in local).
2.8 Highland Fishing
Highland Fishing Research and Development Institute Inthanon by the collaboration of the Royal Project and the Department of Fisheries to research and develop the highland fishery to decrease imported fish products.
- Rainbow trout: A freshwater fish lives in the natural water source in North America. The rainbow trout has good taste and rich in Omega 3. Currently, the center at Inthanon success for raising the Rainbow Trout.
- Sturgeon: A kind of freshwater fish founds in the basin of rivers in Siberia in Russia. The matured size of Sturgeon is about 200 cm, and it is the favorite for the people to consume its black roe which is well-known as “caviar” which is very pricey. The Sturgeon can survive grow up well in the water with less than 20 degree Celsius of water. The institute at Inthanon by the Royal Project is able to manufacture the first caviar in Thailand.
- Chinese mitten crab: The Royal Project ordered breed of the Chinese mitten crab (or also known as Shanghai Hairy crab) from the farm in Shanghai, China and raised in the cold-water pol on Doi Inthanon with special formula fish food together with the Royal Project’s veggies without any antibiotics and growth hormone. The Chinese mitten crab is available for sale during October-February annually. The male crab is available in October, and the female with roe starts to sell from November upwards.
3. The Natural Tourism Attractions
Within the area of the Royal Project Inthanon, there are lots of natural tourism attractions which surrounded with abundant forest and towering mountain range. The tourists will indulge in nothing but the breath-taking panorama of this lovely mountain peak.
3.1 Doi Inthanon National Park:
End of the highway number 1009, Inthanon Peak is the highest peak in Thailand with 2,565 meters in its height. The climate is pleasant cold all through the year. The site is the location of Radar Station of the Royal Thai Air Force and a venue which a stupa of Phra Chao Inthavichayanon, the last ruler of Chiang Mai lined. The sovereign ruler attached with the place very much and he initiated to preserve the forest of Doi Luang (the former name of Inthanon Peak) for the next generation. Therefore, he admonished to bury part of his ashes here once he died.
Phra Maha Dhatu Nabhamethanidol and Nabhapolbhumisiri (The Great Holy Relics Pagoda Nabhamethanidol and Nabhapolbhumisiri)
At the distance mark of the 41.5 km on the left is the location that the significant great relic pagodas enshrined. The pagodas were established by the Royal Thai Air Force coordinated with the Thais to commemorate in the occasion of HM King Bhumiphol’s 5th Birthday Cycle Anniversary in 1992. Those of two pagodas are similar in shape of which are dodecagon base with 2-layer veranda. Pli (plantain-shaped pinnacle) is the house to enshrine the Buddha’s relics, and the Buddha statues are all around. The site features the stunning view of Inthanon mountain with the remote picture of the verdant forest and flower garden.
3.2 Wachirathan Waterfall
A considerable waterfall which used to be called as “Tad Khong Yong”. The water descends from the high cliff to the basin down below. During the flooding season, the fall features the clear water spray diffusing around the area which makes the cooling and moist atmosphere. And a wooden bridge that reaches out at the front of the steep is always wet; nonetheless it is the best spot to see the most stunning picture of the waterfall.
3.3 Siribhume Waterfall
The fall that origins from the steep cliff lines down along the way beautifully. The Waterfall can be seen from the Nationa Park office as the twin waterfall that was called “Lao Lue” followed to the name of the village chief of Hmong village nearby the fall. Siribhume Waterfall locates at the 31st km on the highway number 1009 and in about 2 more kilometers on the right fork. Unfortunately, the route is inaccessi ble by car, so the tourist needs to take some walks to the destination.
3.4 Siribhume Royal Garden
Inside of the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon at the front of Siribhume Waterfall is a lovely garden created by nature with the pack of flowers and species of plant within the area of 500 m called ” Siribhume Royal Garden” that opens for the public all year round.
3.5 Mae Ya Waterfall
A large and gorgeous waterfall with the water that soars from the high cliff with about 280 m tall and hit on the rock created the aesthetic layers of water curtain and ran to the lower basin at last. The cooling water and pleasant climate hear an ideal place for relaxation and leisure, indeed. The venue also circled with the peaceful forest, but it is a tourist center at the location. The fall is under good management with clean and harmonizes to nature. To get to the place can travel on the 1009 road about 1 km and turns left with more 14 km of a drive, and keep going by foot in about 200 meters.
The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon nestles in Khun Klang Village with surrounding fresh and earthly circumstance. And for one who would like to stay the night here, the project also offers the accommodation in cottage and camping style for the visitors, too.
What else in the Royal Project Inthanon area
Apart from the sightseeing which mentioned above, the trip to Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon would be more interesting with the neighborhood tourist spots that the visitors can stop by on the way to the royal project or after departure from the place. Lady slipper Orchid Conservation Center, Inthanon National Park, the project which initiated by HM Queen Sirikit of Rama IX to preserve the “Lady Slipper Orchid Inthanon” breed that was nearly vanished. The place is a lovely rock garden with natural forest stands around. A place arranges the garden with diverse species of orchids specifically the lady slipper and the local flower plants.
Tourist Season at the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon
For one who really wants to touch the feel of cold weather should visit the place in winter only, however, the location is the pleasant and friendly atmosphere in general so you can take the trip all through the year.
In Summer between March-May, although the weather would be sweaty on Doi Inthanon provides nice and fresh cool breeze and clear blue sky.
In Rainy Season between June-September, rainfall gives the moist and humidity to the forest. So, it is a perfect time to see the sea of fog and rain spray that highlights the charm of the place astonishingly.
In Winter during October-February that the temperature tends to be quite cold and less of rainfall and exceed the peak of the season with the coldest temperature in January the most favorite period for tourism. The cold climate with beautiful sky contrasts with the verdant green forest resulting in the breath-taking scenery of the place that no one would deny. Moreover, since the weather at nighttime is freezing with lower than 0-4 degree Celsius, so it’s possible for the visitors to experience the frost here, too.
Travel to Royal Project Inthanon
By car: from the Chiang Mai city town drives on the highway number 108 (Chiang Mai – Hod) until the 57th km before Chom Thong district. You will find the right fork to enter the road number 1009 (Chom Thong – Inthanon) and keep driving to the 30th km, there is a fork on the right that leads to Khun Klang Village. Then, you drive on the pavement until you reach the destination.
By Public Transport:
By Public Transport: The tourists can get on the Red Pick-up Truck route Chiang Mai – Chom Thong at Chang Puek station. Alternatively, the Blue Bus route Chiang Mai – Hod – Doi Tao is available at Chiang Mai Gate Station. Then, you transit to the pick-up truck service at the front of Wat Phra That Sri Chomg thong or at Mae Klang Waterfall that is the transportation service to the National Park at the 31st km and neighbored villages. Anyhow, if you would like to go for any sightseeing, you have to hire the pick-up with the price approximately THB800 per trip. However, as always we suggest you to negotiate for the price before you get the service.