Explore Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail
There are many nature trails on Doi Inthanon National Park, the favorite one is Kew Mae Pan which suitable for everyone who have limited of time. 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 you will enjoy your nice short trekking about 2.78 km. along a beautiful view and forest. There is a 200 baht entrance fee which pays for a guide (Hmong guide) to accompany you, although mine did not speak much English.
Trekking through the nature of the evergreen forest over the top of the highest peak of Thailand, Doi Inthanon. See wildlife and rare plants on the walk way. Overlook the panoramic view from the open area where you can see mountains curtain all around. Kew means narrow path, and this one wind along a towering mountain range which is home to great variety of plants and animals. The 2.78 km. long trail takes you through a forest teeming with biodiversity. 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. Absorb more oxygen from thin air, Slow hiking, by the way, allows me 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.
The beginning of the hike was mostly through the mossy forest. The evergreen forest is a watershed area because of its key role in trapping moisture in the cloud. The forest floor was littered with leaves and organic matter forming a dense layer that would take long to decompose because of the cold climate. This section of the forest was devoid of human activity and therefore in superb condition.
An hour into the trek you will arrive at a wind-swept savannah-like landscape next to a ridge. The semi alpine meadow was so strange. Moss and lichen grew everywhere but on the whole the terrain was rather dry, as evident from the yellow and brown grass, the grazing ground for gorals, although bright yellow blooms of the hypericum plant could be spotted here and there.
When we arrived at the panoramic view point. It was indeed a glorious sight to behold. The trail then straddled a ridge shaped by two colossal rocks pushed into position ages ago by tectonic activity beneath the earth’s surface we said “Lover Stone”. It is a good place to see raptors if you are lucky although sometimes the view is obscured by swirling clouds of mist.
Past that point, you will trekking along an area that was mostly made out of rock cliffs. It was a pretty view and wasn’t as dangerous as we anticipated. There were fences built along the edge of the cliffs to keep you from falling off.
Next up was highlight of the trek, Rhododendron trees that thrive on acidic soil at altitudes of 1,800 metres and above sea level.
And then, You will see the King’s stupa, all big and golden brown, facing the Queen’s stupa, a delicate lilac structure which were built to honour the King and Queen for their 60th birthdays respectively.
Going back, we walk through the forest again. you were nearing the end of the trail when you passed a little podium built for visitors to sit and enjoy the music of the forest. That was in reference to the sounds of nature: subtle rustling of the leaves in the cold breeze, the chirping of birds in conversation, the lapping of the streams that breathe life and the voices of a million other creatures.
Getting truly experience by trekking along Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail through the beautiful green forest, passing giant Rhododendrons, rare bird life, impressive waterfalls and streams which leads to a cliff where you can enjoy breathtaking mountain views.
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