Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Chiang Mai
Kew Mae Pan is renowned as the most picturesque viewpoint for the sea of hill fog and the sunrise at dawn atop Doi lnthanon National Park, the highest mountain in Thailand. It is a grand creation of nature to highlight that we are only small human on the mountain’s height of 2,000 meters above the sea level.
If you plan on visiting ‘Doi Inthanon‘ and see beautiful sunrise, it is a good idea to take the opportunity to visit ‘Kiew Mae Pan‘ before making a trip back.
There are many nature trails on Doi Inthanon, the favorite one is Kew Mae Pan which suitable for everyone who have limited of time. This trail is about 3 kilometers long take about 2-4 hours every groups need a trekking leader. All 21 stations offer detailed explanations about the plants and ecosystems, whether it be ferns from ancient times, Himalayan flora species, dense cloud forest or grassland.
“At the northwestern end of Kew Mae Pan forest, you can see a tiny water source only a metre in diameter.”
The tiny stream cascades down the mountain’s evergreen forest, combining with other small streams and finally becoming an impressive waterfall hidden in the deep jungle.
“Its height is more than 100m in total,” Soonthorn confirmed.
During rainy season, it’s easy to spot the white stripe of the waterfall among the dense jungle while driving on highway 1192 from the national park’s second checkpoint. But it is a bit far from other attractions on the mountain, which is probably why Mae Pan Falls is far less popular than Kew Mae Pan. Standing about 2,200m above sea level, Kew Mae Pan is among the best nature trails available in Thailand’s national parks.
Kew means narrow path, and this one snakes along a towering mountain range which is home to great variety of plants and animals.
“Just dim light and fog may be enough for the delicate fern to grow. It may turn brown and lifeless in summer, however, it springs back to life once it gets moisture from the fog in the rainy and hot season,” a sign along the trail explained about the highland fern.
At such heights, we try to walk much slower than usual, allowing our lungs to absorb more oxygen from thin air.
Slow hiking, by the way, allows us to notice the natural wonder on the trail to Mae Pan Falls. Trees grow as high as 40m to get light while the cloud regularly hits the mountain and soaks the whole forest with high moisture.
Moss and tiny ferns cover all tree trunks. When cloud hits the forest, covering the whole with mist, they all seem to be shivering under green blankets. The most stunning view is a semi-alpine meadow that sits side by side with the jungle, but on the other side of the slope. The meadow is caused by severe deforestation from the past. Strong winds prevent young plants from growing here.
It is said that Kew Mae Pan is most beautiful during rainy season when the forest recovers its lushness after the dry spell. However, it is a pity that the trail is also temporary closed in the rainy season, allowing nature to refresh.
So, if you want to see the Doi Inthanon forest at its greenest, Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail may be a good choice.
How to get to Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
The Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail, is found at kilometer 42 on the road to the summit. It has been developed as an ‘educative nature trail’ and there are quite a few signs (in Thai and English) along the well-maintained trail.
Opening hours & Entrance fee
The trail open from beginning of Nov until the end of May each year. It’s 200 baht per group to hire a guide for the trail, which isn’t optional.