Do you sometimes have this urge have of just escaping to the wilderness for a couple hours, leaving (almost) everything behind?
Not far away from Chiang Mai is a beautiful national park that seems to be forgotten by every travel guide – Khun Tan National Park.
To be frank, even we didn’t hear about this place until a couple weeks ago but immediately thought that this is one of Chiang Mai’s best-kept secrets.
And it’s quite easy to get there as well, you just take the train from Chiang Mai to Khun Tan (it’s essentially the same train that goes to Bangkok, you gotta let the train staff know, that you want to go to Khun Tan), which takes just a mere hour and suddenly you find yourself the wilderness. Yes, even the train station is bedded within the picturesque scenery of the park, with just a handful of small shops/ food stalls around. There isn’t much traffic here, nor will you see crowds of tourists. Ah, piece!
Follow the path from the train station to the park (about 1.5km). Entry is 100 THB (for foreigners). From the entrance, you can easily follow the signs to the various peaks. The first is about 5km from the park’s entrance, while the last and highest is about 8km away. As the trails aren’t too demanding, you’re not required to have an outstanding endurance, but rest assured it will push your cardio.
Food and drinking options are only available at the train station, next to the park’s entrance plus one bistro is halfway to the first viewing point. It’s best if you get a bottle of water plus some snacks and sandwiches before you leave Chiang Mai as you don’t want to be too dependent on the shops (seriously, there are no other options and it seemed that the shops open and close whenever they want to).
The park itself lies on the border of the two provinces of Lamphun and Lampang. There are various viewpoints as well a number of camp sites and small bungalows around (starting at 500 THB per night) . Overall we can say that the park is clean and well-maintained plus adequately marked with signs. A visit to Khun Tan National Park is definitely worth it, especially when you’re looking for a place of untouched wilderness in Chiang Mai’s surrounding, without the nerve-racking influx of tourists.
How to get to Khun Tan National Park from Chiang Mai:
There are two trains leaving in the morning, one at 06:30, the other around 08:30 (verify the timings a day before). Get the train ticket at the counter (don’t forget to take your passport). Once you reach Khun Tan, go and get your return ticket before you start hiking. A 2nd class ticket costs 50 THB/way (steaaaalll!!!).
Since you’re here, have a look at our travel video ‘Hiking Around Khun Tan National Park”: