Doi Suthep Pui National Park Chiang Mai
- Doi Suthep (Suthep Mountain) dominates the landscape with Chiang Mai City at its feet. The second peak (which is higher) is Doi Pui and both form part of the 260 square kilometre (100 square mile) park. Doi Pui reaches 1,685 meters (5,528 feet) and provides protection to over 320 species of birds, 60 species of mammals, 500 species of butterflies, 50 species of reptiles and over 2,200 species of plants.
- This is the most accessible of North Thailand's protected forests. In the lower levels are the more sparse deciduous dipterocarp oak forests which drop their leaves in the hot dry season. At the elevation of 700 meters (2,300 feet)appear the mixed deciduous forests and at 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) appear the evergreen forests. Each vegetation type provides a distinct eco system.
- The Park is also home to other major places of interest. Wat Phra Boromathat Doi Suthep on Doi Suthep National Park is a must see in that apart from its features which were constructed in 1372 and the trip to it up the mountain, once there it overlooks the City of Chiang Mai and parts of the Ping River Valley. At its peak is Phuphing Palace, a retreat for the Royal Family and elsewhere are several Hmong villages.
Doi Suthep National Forest
Doi Suthep Pui National Park Geograhy
- The geography features of Doi Suthep Pui National Park include two separate mountainous sections on the west side of Chiang Mai City. The two sections are about 20 kilometers apart and Doi Pui area is to the direct north of Doi Suthep area. They comprise about 261 square kilometers and have elevations ranging between 330 and 1,685 meters above sea level.
- The important areas are the forests, the watershed areas, Mae Sa waterfall, the summit views, the old growth forest of Ang Ka Forest, the waterfalls (Mae Ya Waterfall, Mae Klang Waterfall, Wang Pra Chao Waterfall, Vichiratharn Watedall, Tan Noi Waterfasll, Siriphoon Waterfall, Mae Pan Waterfall, Pha Samran Watefall and Huai Sai Luang Waterfall), the Caves (Borichinda Cave and Bupha Sawan Cave), and the walking tracks, such as Kew Mae Pan Track.
Wat Phra Boromathat Doi Suthep On Doi Suthep National Park
- Wat Phra Boromathat Doi Suthep on Doi Suthep National Park is 900 metres high up on the sacred mountain top of Doi Suthep with views overlooking the Ping River valley and National Park. This very popular and revered temple is well worth a visit.
- The founding of this wat is based on a Buddhist legend. In 1371 an elephant carrying the other half of the holy relic from the Wat Suan Dok (see above) proceeded to climb Doi Suthep. After three days it stopped on a flat piece of the mountain and died. This was considered an auspicious place to house the relic, so a seven metre high chedi was constructed to house the relic.
- Access to the temple was a long steep walk up the mountain, then another 200 steps up the staircase lined with naga. However in 1935 a mountain road was built by volunteers under the supervision of Khru Ba Srivichai, the most revered Lan Na monk of the 20th century.
- On the lower terrace of the chedi, a statue stands in honour of the founding elephant. Another statue of the hermit Wasuthep stands draped in a tiger skin, in a niche. He was living on the mountain when the wat was founded and gave his name to it.
- There are also bells and gongs for the devotees to sound.
- Enormous Burmese style parasols stand on the four corners of the chedi.
- The inner sanctuary houses the magnificent gold plated chedi, which was augmented to its present size of 16 metres high by 12 metres diameter between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. It is surrounded by red and gold railings enclosing a walkway for devotees to perform the ritual of circumambulation.
- The corridors of the marbled courtyard contain Buddha images and murals of the life of Buddha. On either side of the chedi, east and west, are two viharns. Devotees receive blessings in the western viharn and use the shrines on the south and north side for prayer and to make merit.