Doi Pui Hmong hill tribe village is set amongst the peaks of Doi Suthep.

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Doi Pui Hmong hill tribe village or Meo hill tribe village is accessible via the mountainous road from Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.

Doi Pui Hmong hill tribe village is about 4 kilometers further uphill from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. In the past, this road was rather folksy, but as the popularity of the village keeps rising, access has been made easier. This village is home to more than 1000 households of the Hmong people, who still wear traditional costumes and dwell in rather `conservative' homes. Their livelihood depends not on the swiddening agriculture of the past, but merchandising.

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Like most ethnic hill-tribes of Northern Thailand, the Doi Pui Hmong people used to cultivate opium poppies for a living. But after majesty the King gave Thai nationality to the villagers and introduced them to lychee cultivation by offering 16 lychee trees for each household. As a result, the villagers stopped opium cultivation permanently in 1972. The Hmong villagers now make an income from selling agricultural products, entertaining tourists and selling tribal souvenirs.

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From car park, as you start to walk up the hill towards the village there are loads of little shops selling various items from fruits to clothing to food and drinks, this is probably the cheapest place you will find to buy Thai silk.

Hiring a student guide from the main square is useful, as the guides are small girls in native attire that can get you to the museum and garden.

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A small hill-tribe museum is well worth the 10 baht fee, which also includes entrance to some gardens where you can have your photo taken in front of their opium poppy plot in full Hmong regalia. Hill Tribes Museum and Outdoor Museum; established in 1984, the museum illustrates the history of each Hill Tribe and their tools. There are also models of Hmong and Karen houses to show local ways of life. Guests can see local activities, e.g., Hmong and Karen mortar for pounding paddy to separate the grains from the chaffs - representing the community unity.

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On a good days the views are awesome and you can walk around until you come across “Poi Doi waterfall”, at this time of the year it had some water but there was none during November, a very pretty place and if you wish you can hire a local Hmong hill tribe clothing garb for only 50 Baht, something different to show friends and family. Some nice open grass roofed huts to shelter from the sun or rain and have a look around at the beauty of this place including the giant bamboo. On your way out from the gardens at the bottom walkway they have an example of the opium plant or in Thai “Dok Fin”, they don’t grow or sell opium here but it was nice to see an example. Try shooting the crossbows they make, they are surprisingly accurate.

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Some of the older posts on the internet regarding Hill-Tribe villages have made negative comments about the Doi Pui Hmong Hilltribe Village, however everyone that I have taken here has totally enjoyed their visit, and been impressed by what they have seen. Come with us, observe, and make your own decision.

How to get to Doi Pui Hmong Hill Tribe Village?

Common tour packages that you can buy in town usually include a visit to Phra Tha t Doi Suthep temple, the Bhubing Royal Palace and this village, completing three essential stops on this mountain, plus or minus a handful of waterfalls. Cars and motorbikes, in normal condition, can reach the village without any problems. Bicyclists can enjoy this road too. If you don't have any one of these forms of transport, you can get yourself into one of the songtaews (Red Truck) going up to Doi Suthep and arrange to be taken further. (The stand is in front of the main gate of Chiang Mai University).

Exploring Inthanon National Park, Thailand

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Inthanon National Park is Thailand’s highest peak, and the cool weather attracts many tourists to the park in Chom Thong district at this time of year.

Inthanon National Park covers an area of 48,240 ha. Its lowlands below 800 meters in elevation are warm and very dry during the rain-free season, but the summit of Doi Inthanon, at 2565 meters. The temperature has been known to drop as low as -8 degrees C. and frosts are not unusual during the cool, dry season. January is the coldest month: an average nighttime temperature is 5.5 degrees C. At any season, Doi Inthanon National Park is a comfortable reprieve from the heat of the lowlands. At altitudes above 1000 meters, rainfall exceeds 2500 mm, considerably more than at nearby Chiang Mai. Even in the dry season, November to April, there is rare but occasional rain or the summit may be shrouded in cloud for a part of the day; persistent mist is an important factor in the maintenance of moist forest there.

The flora consists of sphagnum bog, moist and dense evergreen cloud forest, dry evergreen, pine, mixed deciduous teak and dipterocarp forests.

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The Center for Wildlife Research at Mahidol University has recorded total of 362 bird species in the park which makes it in numbers the second highest in Thailand after Kaeng Krachan National Park. Over 190 of the bird species are listed as common to abundant. Some common birds seen in the national park are green-tailed sunbird, ashy-throated warbler, green/purple cochoa, sikkim treecreeper, maroon oriole, bar-throated minla, green-tailed sunbird, rufous-winged fulvetta, chestnut-crowned laughingth rush and speckled wood pigeons. The big bird migration to Thailand happens March to May with some birds still breeding until June/July makes it a good time to visit the park for birds.

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Due to hunting and habitat change bigger mammals such as elephants, tigers, gaurs has been extirpated from the park. Some mammals such as wild boars, gibbons, deer and serows still inhabits the park. There are currently around 65 mammals in the national park, half of these bat species.

Attractions of Inthanon National Park

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Summit of Doi Inthanon

Located at km 48 at the end of road 1009, with 2565 meters above the sea level it is the highest peak in Thailand. An air force radar station and King Inthawichayanon’s stupa are on the mountaintop. King Inthawichayanon, the last king of Chiang Mai, was concerned about the importance of forests and wanted to preserve the forests for future generations.

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Ang Ka Luang

There is a shorter nature trail opposit the ranger station on the main road to a sphagnum bog, a good location for birdwatching of some exciting highland birds.

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Kiew Mae Pan Nature Trail

Kiew Mae Pan Nature Trail (Starts at km42). This short trail, winding through pristine forest for about 2.5 km, allows the hiker to experience the natural beauty of the forest at first hand. Rhododendrons, commonly found in the Himalayas, are found along the trail and they are in full bloom from Dec-Feb. Trekkers on this route should seek permission from the park headquarters at km31 for safety reasons. A group of not more than 15 people is recommended. Food consumption is not allowed while trekking. This nature trail is closed for reforestation from 1 Jun-30 Oct.

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King and Queen Pagoda

Doi Inthanon National Park is a popular destination for visitors to the region, not only for its natural beauty, but for its historical significance as well. Chedis (monuments) dedicated to Their Royal Majesties, The King and Queen, can be found atop the peak of the mountain. The park has been adapted somewhat to accommodate the tourist trade and there are some eating and drinking areas, as well as accommodation. The rugged terrain is now crisscrossed with pathways and roads to make it more accessible to visitors. The development has been tightly controlled, however, and every effort has been made to preserve the natural beauty of the environment.

Campsite and Park Headquarters

If you want to stay overnight at Doi Inthanon there are several options available. Campsites are Iocated at the Headquarters area and at the Mae Pan Ranger Station. Two-person tents can be rented at Headquarters. No sleeping bags or mats are available, but a number of blankets are available for rental. Firewood is provided and campfires are permitted throughout the year. Please use caution during the dry season.

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Trek at Inthanon National park

For those keen on trekking Doi Inthanon is a paradise, with four striking nature trails to explore. Nature trails are a great way to experience the fantastic scenery of Doi Inthanon up close and personal. Doi Inthanon nature trails take a few hours to walk and maps and guides are available at the ranger station.

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Royal Agricultural Research Station

Doi Inthanon Royal Project is in Khun Klang village close to the park headquarters. The project was initiated in 1979 to help the hill tribes to cultivate cash crops other than opium and train them on modern agricultural practices.  Most produces are temperate zone plants.  Flower plantations, a plant breeding research lab and flower plantations of hill tribes (Hmong) are open to visitors.

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Khun Wang royal project

From Inthanon Station there is a path linking to Khun Wang Royal Project Center, which is famous for the planting of chrysanthemum in different colors,in bloom the whole year round. Visitors are also afforded the views of vegetable plots,flowering plant plots in glasshouses,pot plants, temperate-zone fruit trees,and Chinese tea plantations upon which the harvesting process is demonstrated. It is the hot place to be in the winter, as the cherry trees burst into bloom

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Mae Ya Waterfall

Namtok Mae Ya is one of the most beautiful cascades in Chiang Mai. A cascading waterfall plunging from several tiers over 250 meters steep cliff onto different rock formations in a lower basin, creating a beautiful scene., but the main tier that tourists see once they get there is a 40 to 50 meters high. This nearly 100 meters wide tier has quite an impressive view.

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Mae Klang Waterfall

Only 8km from the town of Chom Tong and just within the boundaries of Doi Inthanon national park. This impressive waterfall is very popular with Thai picnickers and is great place to take a dip in the cool cascading waters. On the weekends expect to see plenty of Thai families enjoying a picnic near this scenic point.

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Vachiritharn Waterfall

Namtok Wachirathan is a large waterfall Namtok Siriphum is a splendid waterfall that falls from a steep cliff in two lines and can be seen en route to Doi Inthanon.  The attractive waterfall is located at Km. 31 of Highway No. 1009, take a right turn for 2 kilometres and is approachable only on foot from the base of the waterfall.

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Sirithan Waterfall

One of popular waterfalls, at km 22, accessible by a 200 meters long trail from the parking area on the main road.

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Siriphum Waterfall

Close to the summit you will find the slender white wisp of Siriphum Waterfall, which is usually less crowded than its cousins. The water level of Siriphum varies a great deal from season to season.

How to get to Inthanon national park

To get to Inthanon National park from Chiang Mai take route 108 towards Chomthong. Follow this road for 57 km (35 miles) and turn right onto route 1009 (Chomthong-Doi Inthanon Road). Follow this road for 31km (19 miles) and you will arrive at the entrance of the park (trip time approximately 90 minutes). Once in the park you can explore it on foot or in a vehicle. While the climb is tiring, it is a great way to experience the entire park. The ranger station at the entrance to the park is well equipped and can provide maps, guides and information on the park.

Admission: 300 baht for adults, 150 baht for children