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Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep, the spiritual heart of Chiang Mai, houses a collection of 1,200-year-old sacred artefacts. As a result, its lush, evergreen forests draw both visitors and devotees alike. Located close to the Thai-Burmese border at between 350 and 1,685 metres, this serene national park bridges Doi Suthep, Doi Pui and Doi Buak Hah. The evergreen forests on these separate peaks are strikingly different from those at the foot of the mountain, and present a veritable school of nature, with rare mountain flowers such as krathon leusi, kanoon din, and phraya mai. The area is also home to some 326 species of birds, 700 species of butterflies, and a variety of wildlife.

How to get there
From town, follow Huay Kaew Road past Chiang Mai University and Chiang Mai Zoo for approximately 5 kilometres to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (Doi Suthep Temple). From there, take the road to the right and follow the wellmarked route to the park entrance.

Where to visit - When to visit
Take in the scenic Huay Kaew Waterfall before stopping off for a picnic lunch on either Nguen li orWang Bua Ban Cliff. Nearby, the statue of Kru Ba Sri Vichai pays tribute to the man who initiated the construction of Doi Suthep's first road linking the area to the rest of the country. At Wat Phra Borom That Doi Suthep, visitors can pay respects to Phra Borom That, Chiang Mai's most sacred artefacts. The winter palace of Phra Tamnak Phu Phing Rajcha Niveth is another beautiful attraction, open only on Fridays, weekends and holidays. A traditional and simple way of life can be witnessed first-hand in one of the area's many Hmong hilltribe villages.

Doi Inthanon

Located not far from town along Thong Chai Road, Doi Inthanon, at 2,565 metres above sea level, is Thailand's highest peak. The level of precipitation on the cloud covered peak is double that of the surrounding area. Doi Inthanon is the source of four different rivers; Mae Jam, Mae Ya, Mae Klang, and Mae Pan. These four waterways eventually run together to form the mighty Ping River, an indispensable fresh water resource. Thailand's only authentic highland forest of green perennials, this national park is home to 384 species of rare birds and has become very popular among bird-watchers. It is not uncommon to see a group of tourists setting off into the wilds of Doi Inthanon, armed with binoculars, telescopes, and tripods.

How to get there
Follow Highway 108 on the Chiang Mai-Hod route, turning right at km 57 onto Highway 1009 Jomthong- I nth anon. Continue along this route for approximately 48 kilometres over the steep and winding asphalt road to the park entrance. This final leg is best suited to a high performance vehicle. It is possible to hire four-wheel drive mini-buses (songthaews) at Mae Klang Waterfall.

Where to visit - When to visit For bird-watchers
From the park entrance to about km 14, visitors will find khun pan, ka ling kiat yaew malang poh kha daeng, common poh ra dok, and the rare black hua kwan yai. Blown-tailed sheaw dong and black-headed kha min are found from km 14 to km 23. Kra bueng pah are located where the forest gives way to rock, while white-headed, red-tailed hen can be spotted at Wachiratal Waterfall. From km 2 3 to km 30, large cuckoo hawks and scottwings can be seen, and over migrating season normal kra jid and clao deon suan birds are easily viewed in this area. Between km 30 and km 34, visitors will find parod hua khon, parod hua kamao, and black-headed ee seu birds. In this area, the extremely patient might catch a glimpse of the rare black-faced, white-necked jap malang bird. Over the dry season, wild thong lang blossom and the phraya fai bird can be seen. Further along, the stretch between km 34 and km 40 is home to moom, tang lo, pohradok, and the racing gold -headed kin malang birds. Finally, from km 40 to km 46, nang ant pah si klam, kra buang thong daeng, and brown-tailed siwa birds are abundant.

For visitors
Mae Klang Waterfall, Wachiratal Waterfall, Siribhum Waterfall and Mae Ya Waterfall are the park's main natural attractions. Magical BoriJinda Cave is nearby, with long stalagmite and stalactite formations locals have named "Nom Pah". Here, a stone stream shines when bathed in just the right sunlight. At Doi Luang Inthanon Royal Project, established for Karen (Kalieng) and Meo hilltribe villagers, a field of winter flowers can be found, such as carnations, chrysanthemums, statis, and yipsos. On the peak, a remarkable thousandyear rose blossoms between December and February, making this the most popular time of year to visit.

Huai Nam Dung Doi Chang

Comprising several steep mountains and covering some 1 12,187.5 rai of land, Huai Nam Doing Doi Chang National Park bridges Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. Doi Chang, the highest peak in this area, is the source of many large streams.

How to get there
From town, follow Highway 107 to Mae Malai Market and turn left. From there, continue down the Highway 1095 Mae Malai-Pye route, turning left at km 65-66, and follow the dirt road for another 6 kilometres to the park entrance.

Where to visit - When to visit
Doi Kew Lorn Lookout is the most popular view in Huai Nam Dung, where the unforgettable sight of the sun rising through a sea of mist is well worth the pre-dawn trek to the top. To the north of Huai Nam Dung, Doi Chang Lookout offers a magnificent panoramic view over a diverse geography of large and small hills. Nearby, Huai Nam Dung is a powerful 50metre high, 1 0-metre wide waterfall composed of four separate levels. The waters of Mae Yen Waterfall, not far away, cascade over its high cliffs year-round. To the northwest of Mae Hee Sub-district, in the middle of Mae Pye Forest, the hot springs of Pong Ron is another popular spot. Around the dirt road intersection leading to Mae Ping Village, steam rising from the springs surrounds the lush teak wood forest, creating a magical atmosphere. Tents are required to spend a night in the park, as accommodation is not provided.

Oob Luang

Along the banks of the Jam River, Oob Luang's towering cliffs drop down to the strong currents of the Pu Pa Hin Straits. A lush forest atop the cliffs provides shade year-round, and the bridge spanning the Khao Khad Channel offers a stunning view. Oob Luang National Park is also an important site of prehistorical archaeological research.

How to get there
From town, follow Highway 108 on the HodMae Sarieng Route for about 105 kilometres to the park entrance. Between Hod and Cob Luang, the asphalt road runs alongside the Mae Jam River, and drivers should take caution, particularly over the rainy season.

Where to stay - Where to eat
In town, luxurious accomodation can be found along the super highway, while several midrange hotels are located on Huay Kaew and Chang Klan Roads. Excellent steaks are prepared at restaurants on Suthep Road. For local, spicy fare, try Chiang Mai-Lampang Lertrod Restaurant on Raj Makkara Road. Delicious northern seafood dishes are on offer at Nang Nuan Restaurant on Ko Klang Road.

Where to visit
The pine tree forests of Suan Son Bo Kaew on Highway 108 Hod-Mae Sarieng make for a peaceful retreat. Pa Wing Choo, a picturesque cliff overhanging the Ping River at km 19 on the Hod-Doy Tao Route, provided the setting for a popular romance novel.

Doi Chiang Down

Doi Chiang Down and Doi Chiang Down Wildlife Conservation Centre are located in Chiang Down District, Chiang Mai. Its inverted coneshaped limestone mountain attracts scores of visitors year after year. Permission is required from the National Park Office, which, for the sake of safety and conservation, has also set stringent regulations. Doi Chiang Down's steep, jagged hills will test the strength, patience and determination of even the most seasoned trekkers. On its peak, visitors will witness the magnificent sea of mist descending on Chiang Doi District, Doi Sam Phe Nong and far away Doi Inthanon, well-worth the arduous climb. Additionally, Chiang Down Cave presents an equally demanding challenge to reach its furthest depths.

How to get there
From Chiang Mai, follow the Chiang Mai-Fang route on Highway 107 for a total distance of 77 kilometres to Chiang Down Cave. From there, take the Mae Na-Den Ya Khat route to Mae Na Village at km 7 1 - 7 2. Here, turn left to Pang Hong Village, Pang Hang, Dan Pi Tak, Ban San Pah Kiak Forest, and the intersection to Den Ya Khat, where the four hour hike to Doi Chiang begins.

Where to stay - Where to eat
Tents and campsites are available inside the park. For more information, please contact the National Park Office, or the Royal Forestry Department, tel. 579-4842. Many luxurious hotels are located in town along Mool Muang Road, Chang Klan Road, Huay Kaew Road, Kamphang Din Road, Mahidol Road, Chiang Mai-Lampang Road and Ratchdamnoen Road. Additionally, a good selection of mid-range hotels are available throughout the town. Chiang Mai is home to several good restaurants with an abundance of tantalising selections, from the chicken rice and satay pork of Khu Muang District, to the papaya salad at Sam Kasat Monument on Rachavidhee Road. Great curry with rice can be found near Phra Singh Temple, and a variety of local foods are offered at Pen Restaurant on Racthamakha Road. Try the noodles and meat balls prepared in the many noodle shops along Suthep Road, or Sri Ping sweet and sour noodle shop on Suthep road. Pun Suay Dok porridge is served in the vegetarian restaurants on Oom Muang Road, seafood porridge in front of the Bangkok Bank on Kaew Nawarat Road, and steamed Thai dumpling with crushed peanuts and Meng Rai Thai sausage at Meng Rai Memorial. Even McCormick's Hospital's stirred fried noodles with gravy puts most hospital food to shame.

Souvenirs
With so much to choose from, it's best to make a list of what you want to buy and where you can buy it before heading out. Naturallycoloured woven cotton is available in Hod District, Mae Jam District, and Jorn Thong District. Aunty Saengda Bunsit's famous woven cotton cloth has put Rai Pai Nguarn village, in Jorn Thong District, on the map. For high quality silk, visit the silk shops in San Kamphang or along Chiang Mai-San Kamphang Road. Clay pottery is crafted in Mhuangtung village on Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road. For local treats, such as pork rinds, Thai sausage, and fruit, try Varoros and Anusarl Markets, where local cloth and a range of hilltribe crafts are also available.

Doi Tung

"Doi Tung" is a picturesque peak, standing 48 kilometres away from town amidst mature trees and verdant mountains, and is home to the spectacular Phra That Doi Tung or Doi Tung Pagoda. The Doi Tung Palace, a favourite residence of the late Princess Mother, bordered by a splendid selection of winter flowers, is the area's highlight. Visitors are warned to bring along cameras, to capture the alluring beauty of the garden on film.

How to get there
It is about 48 kilometres from town to Doi Tung. Turn left on Highway 1 10 at km 8 7 1 87 2 and follow Highway 1 149 for about 17 kilometres along a steep paved road.

Where to visit
Doi Tung Palace and Mae Fah Luang Garden, which are famous for their scenic beauty, are located at krn 12 on Highway 1 149. Visitors are allowed to visit the ten rai garden, which offers a multitude of colourful winter flowers and is a perfect example of symmetrical landscaping. The garden is open to the public from 6.00 - 18.00 hours. Phra That Doi Tung or Doi Tung Pagoda, an ancient stupa containing holy relics, is another recommended tourist attraction. Places of interest are Alkha, Musoe, and Hoew (Chinese tribe) villages. Local crafts are also available from the market, and several breathtaking views are a must see, such as the ones from Doi Chang Moob, Doi Pah Cheeh, and Doi Pah Meeh, where the panorama stretches out far below and disappears beyond the horizon.

Doi Mae Sa - long : Chiang Rai
The "Land of blossoming sakura" was so named by tourists for the nang phya sue klong flowers, which bloom from December to February, on either side of the road to Santi Khiri Village. On the top of Doi Mae Sa long, a local market offers goods such as hilltribe clothes and delicious Yunnan fare. You can visit the Akha village and see local villagers clad in traditional dress which provide a glimpse of hilltribe life.

Where to stay - Where to eat
Many convenient hotels are located in town on Uttrakit Road, Kraisorasit Road, Chiang Rai - Thaton Road, Phaholyothin Road, and Pernavipat Road. There are also many resorts and several small hotels along Rim Kok River. Special menus, such as steamed fresh mushrooms with soyabean sauce and pork dumplings, are offered at Mae Sa-long Restaurant in Mae Sa-long Villa on Phaholyothin Road. Traditional Yunnan food is also served at the many Yunnan restaurants on Kwae Whay Road by the banks of the Kok River.

Souvenirs
Mushrooms and Chinese tea are popular souvenir items in this area, along with hilitribe crafts such as silverware, silk, and embroidered cloth made by hilltribe artisans.

Klong Lan Waterfall

An enormous waterfall 95 metres high and 40 metres wide, Klong Lan Waterfall is perhaps the most photograghed waterfall in Thailand. Located amid the mountains of Klong Lan National Park, its crashing waters drop down from towering cliffs to misty, picturesque lower pools dotted with birds and butterflies. Klong Lan National Park itself houses several multi-levelled peaks, such as Suan Mak and Klong Klung, along with thel 439-metre high Klong Lan Mountain, a water source for many distant rivers.

How to get there
From Bangkok, follow the Asia Road through Nakhon Sawan for about 17 kilometres. At the main intersection in Ban Nong Ben, turn left to Lad Yac, District and follow Route 1072 for about 102 kilometres to Klong Lan Market. From there, the park entrance is 6 kilometres away.

Where to visit When to go
Klong Lan Waterfall is not the only attraction in Klong Lan National Park. A short 16 kilometres down the road, the 9 -level Klong Lai Waterfall is perfectly su ted for a refreshing swilm, w~ile nearby Kang Klong Roi offers spectacular views and narrow white sandy beaches. Accommodation and camping services are available. For more information, contact the National Parks Division, tel. 579-0529. The best time to visit is between October and December when the temperature is cool and the water level is just right.

Where to stay - Where to eat
The city offers a range of accommodation along Bumrungraj Road and Thesa Road. At Kam Phaeng Phet Pojchana by the Ping River Bridge, try the tasty chicken with noodles. For authentic cha kang rao noodles, a local dry noodle dish, check out the noodle shops around the banyan tree in front of the municipal building.

Souvenirs
Bananas are popular in this area and can be purchased at Ban Pak Ang on Phaholyothin Road. The sweetest banana season is in September. Other local treats are Kayasart, a traditional Thai sweet, and Mon Chab, honey-roasted taro and potato.

Doi Khun Tan

Doi Khun Tan is a natural boundary separating Lampang and Lamphun, and boasts Thailand's longest railway tunnel. Rich in tropical and pine forests, Doi Khun Tan National Park has four separate peaks, all approximately 7 kilometreS from the foot of the mountain.

How to get there
There are two main routes to Doi Khun Tan National Park. By car, follow the Lampang Lamphun route, turning right at km 42. From there, follow the gravel road for another 18 kilometres to the park entrance. The condition of the road often requires a high -performance vehicle. A more convenient and picturesque option is to take the northbound train to Khun Tan Station and hike the remaining 900 metres into the park.

Where to visit
Lychee, pear, and persimmon orchards adorn the peaks of Doi Khun Tan. A lush pine forest spreads outjust 1 900 metres from the Park Office. Visitors will feel as if they have been transported to a European fruit orchard. Apart from its many natural charms, the highlight of Doi Khun Tan National Park is the residence of the late M.R. Kukrit Pramoj, a former Prime Minister of Thailand. Taking in the sunrise from Doi Khun Tan's steep peak is well worth the challenging climb.

Where to stay - Where to eat
The Forestry Department and the State Railway provide mountaintop accommodation for 450-600 Baht. For more information, please contact the department, tel. 2256964. Doi Khun Tan National Park also provides guesthouses for 600-1,200 Baht. For more information, please contact the park, tel. 579-0529. Additionally, a large wooden missionary house offers accommodation for 70 Baht per night per person, and details can be obtained at tel. (054) 234-126, Many luxurious hotels and resorts are located in Lampang- Nguaw Sub-district and Lampang Klang Village. The area also has a wealth of restaurants. Tam Lung (a kind of vegetable) spicy salad at Wiang Lakorn Restaurant on Charoen Muang Road is highly recommended, as is the steamed chicken at Sra Loy Ruen Prae Restaurant on the Lampang-Chiang Rai Super Highway, and the grilled chicken at Kokyo Grilled Chicken Restaurant on Tha Kraw Noi Road.

Souvenirs
The bright coloured Thung Kwaw woven cotton cloth and the famous Sa paper of Nam Thong village are just two of the many memorable items available in Lampang. Mae Tha District is also famous for its wooden elephant and horse sculptures.

Doi Mae U-Kho Thung Bua Tong

"Bua tong" or or wild -sunflowers, originally from Central America, were brought to Mae Hong Son by missionaries over 70 years ago. Today, this beautiful yellow flower flourishes at Doi Mae U-Kho, Doi Mae Hor and throughout Mae Sariang District, where stretches of wild-sunflower fields have largely

How to get there - When to visit
Ban Huay Dua. Visitors should note, however, Doi Mae U-Kho is located 26 kilometres from that there are neither guesthouses nor resorts Mae U-Kho district. Mid-November is the along Wiang Mai Road, Mae Sariang-Chiang best time of year to visit this area, as the unique wild-sunflowers are in full blossom until the beginning of December.

Where to go
In additon to its famous wild-sunflower fields, the magnificent landscape of Doi Mae U-Kho also covers a large mountainous area in Mae U-Kho district. Visit there in winter when the colour of blossoming wild-sunflowers turns the hills and surrounding areas gold. Wild- sunflower fields in Doi Mae Hor are equally captivating. Beyond Mae Sariang District, the Salween River offers excellent sailing from Mae Sam Lab to Sam Moei and Mae Sam Lab market, located some 1.5 hours south- west of Mae Sariang.

Where to stay - Where to eat
Comfortable hotels are available in town on Kun Lum Prapas Road, Ban Pangmoo, and Mai Road, and Laeng Panich Road, the three main roads that run along the river. Traditional Thai dishes are available at the town market, including a variety of local curries such as Kaeng Pak Siew, Pak Lha, Kaeng Pak H ii, Kaeng Yuay Kruay, Kaeng Taeng, and Kaeno Kua. For a real mouthful, try ordering Nam Phrik Pla Kin Kab Kao Sorn Kao Lueng Klab Chin Lung, a savoury fish dip eaten with saffron rice and chunky minced pork stir-fried in lemongrass. Other local favourites include Kao Kan Jin Ruai Kratiemjiew, locally grown rice garnished with fried garlic, Phrik Tor, a cooked chilli dish, and Khanom Chean Nam Ngeaw, a rice noodle dish with clear spicy Mae soup. For afters, there is Khanom Alawa and Peng Mong, two traditional local sweets that are found nowhere else in Thailand.

Souvenirs
Kun Lum Prapas Road and Singhanarth Bamrung Road are both crowded with shops offering Burmese jade, jewellery, silverware, lacquerware, umbrellas, and marbles. Thai Yai hilltribe clothes are also a popular item.

Mae Surin Waterfall

A centre for the study of local trees spread out over 247,875 rai of land, Mae Surin Waterall is an important part of Thailand's wildlife and plant species conservation initiatives. In addition to an abundance of attractions, the facilities at Mae Surin Waterfall National Park help educate a new generation in the wonders of the natural world.

How to get there
Follow Highway 108 to Kun Yuam District, a distance of about 60 kilometres. From there, continue down the gravel road for about 30 kilometres to the park entrance.

Where to visit
The most popular attraction in Mae Surin Waterfall is the single-level waterfall which cascades down 100 metres from an overhanging cliff. At 1,752 metres, Doi Pui Peak is ideal for a walk in the fresh mountain air, while some 12 kilometres away, the picturesque grassy basin surrounding Mae Surin has become a popular spot for camping. The gravel road leading to this area is accessible only in the dry season.

Where to stay
For the adventurous, camping is the way to go in Mae Surin Waterfall National Park. Permits and additional information are available from the National Park Office and the Royal Forestry Department, tel. 5790529.

Doi Phu Ka

Nan villagers claim that to visit Nan without seeing Doi Phu Ka Basin is to miss entirely the heart of this magical province. Indeed, Doi Phu Ka National Park is a rich natural resource with steep mountains and a remarkable variety of forests, including evergreen, humid, dry, Siamese sal, and palm, among several others. This sheer variety has made Doi Phu Ka National Park attractive to Thai botanists, who have discovered many rare and unique tree species, such as the birishneider which grows multicoloured petals and is so rare it is believed that no less than six bloom annually. Doi Phu Ka Basin also offers Phu Fah Waterfall, Pa Chee Nok Waterfall, Ton Tong Waterfall, Pa Khong Cave, Luang Cave, and Pa Daeng Cave, all of which have attracted a large number of travellers over the years.

How to get there
From the city, follow Highway 1080 for about 60 kilometres, turning onto Bua-Bo Klua Road. Continue along this road for about 25 kilometres to the National Park Office.

Where to stay - What to eat
Both bungalows and campsites are available in the, park. For more information, please contact Nan Forest Department, tel.(054) 710-136 and 710-815, or Doi Phu Ka National Park Office, tel. 01 -9 10-9467. There are also a range of hotels to choose from in town, from the more luxurious on Yan Kosol Road, Sumon Thewaraj Road, and NanWang Pha Road, to comfortable mid-range options on Mahayod Road and Nan-Thung Chang Road. Fresh fish straight from the Nan River will tempt even the fussiest traveller, especially local delicacies such as Tom Yum Pla Kod (spicy catfish soup), Pla Nuea Aon Tod Kratiem (local fish stir fried with garlic), and Yum Pla Siw Tod Krob (crispy fried fish with very spicy sauce). These dishes are all served aboard Nan's many floating restaurants, including S. Chalerm Rungrueng Restaurant, Bua Wilai Restaurant, Tae Restaurant, Song Bua Restaurant, and Wachirachol Restaurant. For 50 baht per person, these restaurants will provide stargazers a mattress and pillow, so they can relax after their evening meal.

Souvenirs
An ancient anci coiourtui weaving pattern canea Pa Laai Nam Lai is available in village markets throughout the province. Locally grown fruit includes som sithong (juicy oranges), ma fai chean (Chinese star apple), and lychees. Mak Tao fruit, a sweet palm, is often carved into ornate miniature boats.

Doi Luang

Doi Luang recently became a national park, covering a total area of 1 1 70 square kilometres of Phayao, Chiang Rai and Lampang provinces. Its head office is located at Poo Kaeng Waterfall, Chiang Rai Province.

How to get there - Where to visit
Jam Pa Thong Waterfall, a must see, is located on km 7 of the Sai Phayao-Chiang Rai Road. Nearby, a pristine multi-leveled waterfall resembling an elephant's tusk is aptly named "Jam Pa Tad Hua Chang Palace" - literally, "the legendary Jam Pa cuts the head off an elephant". The sculptural Pah Kret Nak Waterfall is located at Tom Village on the Phayao-Wang Neu route. Visitors must walk to the waterfall itself. Its natural beauty comes from the rocks mottled with a fish scale pattern which shine under bright sunlight. Follow the Phayao - Wang Nue District Road for another 25 kilometres to the spectacular Wang Kaew Waterfall.

Where to stay - Where to eat
Luxurious hotels can be found in town or on the super highway, while mid-range accommodation is available on Phaholyothin Road, Don Sanam Road and Ratch Sampan Road. Restaurants in this area which come highly recommended are Chay Kwan Restaurant and Saeng Chan Restaurant on Chay Kwan Road. Also not to be missed are Wang Thong Restaurant on Phaholyothin road, and An Charoen noodle shop located behind the Phayao Municipal Market. For local food, try out Sri Samran Restaurant in Dok Kam Tai District, Yao Restaurant at the Phayao Bus Terminal, or Eung Nue Restaurant next to the Phayao Hospital.

Where to visit
Kwan Phayao, the most important inland fishery of the upper northern region, is a fish breeding centre specialising in Nil fish. Nearby, historical Phra Sri Na Karin Tra Borom Raj Chon Na Nee Palace, the palace of the King's mother, is one of Phayao's most sacred sites. Inside, winter flowers grow around a beautiful fountain. Scenic Wat Phra That Jornthong is located about three kilometres out of town.

Souvenirs
Thai Lue cloth, pottery and "Sira Wang Thong" ceramics are popular crafts in this area and can be found in small shops and open markets throughout Phayao.

Thung Salaeng Luang

Thung Salaeng Luang National Park is a source of pride for the people of Song Kwae. Its scenic 789,000 rai of land bridges Phitsanulolk and Phetchabun provinces, and its abundance of rolling hills and grassy fields has made the park a popular spot among trekkers and adventurers.

How to get there
From Bangkok, Phitsanulok is a 377kilometre drive along the main highway. Follow the Phitsanulok-Lomsak route to Highway 12. The National Park Office is at km 80.

Where to visit - When to visit
Tung Salaeng Luang, a wide savanna-like field 60 kilometres from the park office, is an ideal site for camping, as is Noen Son Field slightly further on. The fertile palm forest of Tung Phaya, 12 kilometres past Tung Salaeng Luang, is also a popular attraction. Nearby is Kaeng Sopha Waterfall. This 3-tiered waterfall surrounded by wild flowers has been dubbed Thailand's Niagara Falls. Food, parking, and toilet facilities are available at km. 71-72 on Phitsanulok-Lomsak Road. The best time to visit is between November and February as the weather is cool and wild flowers, such as little silver stars, are in full bloom.

Where to stay - Where to eat
Bungalows and tents are available within the national park. For more information, please contact the National Parks Division, tel. 5 7 9 0529. The fee for camping is 10 baht per person. A camp fire service is also provided for 100 baht per camp fire. Electricity is available between 8.30 - 22.00 hours. In the city, there are several comfortable hotels on both Phaya Lithai Road and Phaong Dam Road. More luxurious hotels are available on Pha-ong Road, Chao Phaya Road, and Sri Dham Triphidok Road, and many resorts are located along Phitsanulok-Lomsak Road. The city night market near the river offers tasty stir-fried morning glory. For a memorable atmosphere, Song Kwae's floating restaurant is located off Phuttabucha Road. Tien Thong Moo Jun Restaurant on Phitsanulok-Lomsak Road beside Borom Trailokanat Campus prepares a delicious moo jum kor moo yang (grilled pork with spicy soup). Also recommended is the spicy mushroom salad at Rainforest Resort, 44 kilometres down the main highway.

Souvenirs
Kruay Tak Bang Kratum, honey-preserved bananas from Bang Kratum, is a must when visiting Phitsanulok. Other local treats include naem, a preserved pork sausage stuffed with rice, pork, garlic and chilli, and authentic nam pla (fish sauce) from Bang Rakam. Mai kwad, colourful blooms made from local grass flowers, are available from Ban Najan in Chart Trakan District.

Ti Lo Su Waterfall

Ti Lo Su has variously been described as a waterfall which helps instil a respect for the greatness of nature, a waterfall which supports life, and a waterfall which displays the power of nature. No doubt, every visitor will have their own unique impression of Ti Lo Su. From Umphang, the most adventurous way to view Ti Lo Su is to travel by river raft along Umphang's many intersecting streams. This exciting route passes under the ancient Pah Vo Cave, and over the turbulent eddies of Takobi Reef. Ti Lo Jor Waterfall, a watershed of many streams, is located just past the first reef, and is particularly beautiful in the rainy season. Further along the stream the raft passes by the wild bees of Pah Phung, and the smaller Mo La Lu Waterfall. The final stop is Tha Srai, where the long hike to Ti Lo Su begins, passing over the grassy fields of Trok Pah Yai to Tha Srai, a three or four-hour journey. From there, the Umphang Wildlife Conservation area is a further 10 kilometres. The final leg, some 10 kilometres past the conservation area, winds through fragrent wild flowers and forests, to the foot of Ti Lo Su. The sight of this awe-inspiring multi-levelled waterfall is well worth the arduous hike.

How to get there
By car, follow the Umphang-Mae Klong MaiMae Chan route and turn left at km 20 to the Umphang Wildlife Conservation Centre, about 26 kilometres further down the road. Road conditions often require a four-wheel drive vehicle. For additional information on rafting, contact any travel agency in Umphang District. The best season for rafting is between November and May.

Where to stay - Where to eat
After an exhausting day of rafting, relax in one of Tak's superb hotels. Many are located along Mahatthai Barnrung Road, Jornpol Road, Taksin Road, and Phaholyothin Road. Be sure to sample the delicious pork knuckles or stuffed fish at Kwang Tung Restaurant on Sol Sripanich. Also recommended are the stewed chicken and pork ribs with Chinese herbs at Kittipong Restaurant near Mae Ramad Market, and the pork with crushed rice at Khaw Mao-Khaw Phang Restaurant. At km 2 in Tha Song Yang District, Sam Anong Restaurant specialises in wild chicken curry.

Souvenirs
High-quality hilltribe products, such as clothes and ornaments, are available on Tak-Mae Sot Road and on Highway 105 at km 29.

Lan Sang

Legend has it that while leading an attack on Chiang Mai, King Krung Thon Buri became separated from his troops. In the dark forests, his soldiers were forced to wait for daylight to search for their beloved King. ' That night, a strange light appeared in the sky and the soldiers heard the King's horse whinny in the distance. They followed the horse's cries until dawn, when they came across their King mounted on his trusty steed. This site was aptly named "Lan Sang", the "Dawning Ground", and on 14 May, 1979, it was proclaimed a national park.

How to get there
From Mae Sot, follow Highway 105, Tak-Mae Sot, and turn left at km 12 - 13. From there, continue for about 3 kilometres to the park entrance.

Where to visit
Talk is the source of several mountain streams, including Lan Sang , Ta Lay, and Um Yoem, and offers a mix of lush forest varieties. Its mountainous geography also creates some spectacular waterfalls, the most popular being Lan Liang Ma Waterfall, a single-level waterfall located along Lan Sang Stream only 200 metres from Pain Lad. From a small notch carved through a collection of rocks, Lan Liang Ma cascades down over aseries of crevices, most impressive at the height of the rainy season when water pressure is at its highest. Just 100 metres from the Tourist Information office, Lan Sang Waterfall, a two-level waterfall, is also fed by Lan Sang Stream. Over the rainy season, the 1 9-metre high Pain Nguen Waterfall drops from a steep cliff naturally adorned with sharp stalagmites and stalactites. Nearby, visitors will find the wide Pain Phung Waterfall, and the narrow 8-metre high Pah Nam Yoi Waterfall. The heavy water crashing over the 4-level Pah Tae Waterfall can be heard for miles around.

Where to stay
Many luxurious hotels are conveniently located on Mahatthai Bamrung Road and Jornpol Road. Phalholyothin Road and Taksin Road both offer several mid-range options, while the park itself rents bungalows for 150-160 baht. Additionally, a four-room tent is also available from the park for 40 baht per night. The park charges 5 baht for a basic campsite. For reservation, please contact Lan Sang National Park, tel. 579-0529, 579-4842.

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