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Sri Lanna National Park guide for backpackers

Serenity on Tap: All About Sri Lanna National Park

Sri Lanna National Park Showcases The Best of Northern Thailand

Soak up the best of northern Thailand in the beautiful Sri Lanna National Park.  

Situated just an hour or two north of Chiang Mai, Sri Lanna National Park is a relaxing natural haven which is perfect for a day or two’s relaxation away from the city. Founded in 1989 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King Bhumibol’s coronation, it comprises nearly 1,500 square kilometers of natural wonderland to explore. Think emerald green forests, glistening lakes and wildlife in abundance. Here are our recommendations for a great trip to this beguiling place.

Waterfalls Galore

First on the list for your visit should be the spectacular Mon Hin Lai waterfall. Clear water cascades down 6 levels of falls in a lush forest setting, and unlike some waterfalls in the area, the falls are full all year round.

Next, consider a trip south to the Bua Tong ‘Sticky’ waterfalls at Nam Phu Chet Si. These natural falls are amazing to visit because of the sticky, grippy surface underneath the water’s flow. Calcium carbonate deposits have gradually built up to form a layer of rock that allow your feet to stick like glue. Ropes dangle down through the water to allow you to haul yourself up through the cool stream. Get climbing and unleash your inner Tarzan!

Lakeside Relaxation

After a couple of hours fun at the falls, move on to the Mae Ngat reservoir. This man-made lake is anything but sterile, and if you’re feeling particularly energetic then you can take to the water for a jaunt on a sailing boat or a paddle in a kayak. The water here is used to irrigate the surrounding agricultural land and you’ll often see farmers and fishermen working on the banks or drawing water for crops.

The highlight of the lake is the water trampoline at the Mountain Float lodge, which is as entertaining as it sounds! See Sri Lanna from a different perspective as you bounce as high as you can, before flying out across the water and landing with a big splash.

swimming in the lake at Sri Lanna National Park

Where to Stay and Eat

The Mountain Lodge itself is a lovely place to stay but it isn’t cheap- expect to pay several hundred bucks in peak season! A more affordable option is the Riverside Homestay to the east of the Mae Ngat dam, where a private room with bathroom starts from around 650 baht a night.

The best option for lunch is a trip to one of the floating restaurants on the lake. A 3-course meal will set you back about 500 baht per person but the fish comes fresh straight out of the water each morning and the dishes are fresh and authentic.

How to Get to Sri Lanna National Park

Renting a scooter in Chiang Mai turns a visit to Sri Lanna into a great road trip. Head north out of the old city on the main 107 road, passing the turn-off to Pai about one hour out of town. Turn right onto the 3038 and follow signs to Mae Ngat dam.

If you’d rather sit back and relax then lots of agencies in Chiang Mai offer tours to the park. A full day’s excursion including biking, hiking and kayaking will cost around 2500 baht, with food and transport included. All you need to bring is a camera and a sense of adventure!

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