Doi Ang Kang National Park
Within about a three-hour radius of the city are some of the most breathtaking national parks in Thailand (or, for that matter, the world). It’s hard to choose a favorite. Doi Ang Kang is one of the most popular—and once you see the lush evergreen forests of the Himalayan foothills and waterfalls that look like curved crystal, you’ll understand why. It’s about two hours southwest of Chiang Mai—you can hire a local driver to take you—and is named after the late King Inthawichayanon, who had a love for nature. It’s huge, so you’ll want to dedicate a full day to exploring (and allow for travel time to and from the city). Head to the visitors’ center when you arrive, which is just past the entry point from the rural road 1009. This will tell you more about the various waterfalls, trails, and mountains to see. It’s too huge to see all of it, but anything you do, whether it’s the short trek along the wooden trails to the summit of Doi Inthanon (the highest peak in Thailand) or exploring the waterfalls (Suriphum is our favorite), will be memorable. There are a few restaurants at the park. Regardless, bring water and snacks.