Op Luang National Park / Chiang Mai. Op Luang is a small yet charming national park, with impressive, mysterious landscapes. It is located south east of the city of Chiang Mai and functions as a continuation of Doi Inthanon – a national park which is located further ahead in the north (it takes about 2 hours to drive from one national park to the other).
Mae Chaem river runs through the Op Luang national park, in a deep and narrow canyon, with a dramatic, breathtaking view. The canyon is the main attraction ion site and indeed, Op Luang means the great canyon.
The Op Luang National Park itself is pleasant and lovely; it contains a comfortable walking path which leads you along the canyon, so you can watch the river flowing intensely (depending on the season) low and deep beneath your feet. The rolling echo of the waterflow will accompany you as you walk by.
Later along the road, you will arrive at the most spectacular sight of the Op Luang National Park – 2 giant cliffs that stand close to each other, connected by a small 10-meter bridge, high above the river that runs through a narrow passage. The spectacular sight will surely astound you!!
The bridge seems a little scary from afar (and perhaps when you are near too), but there is no problem to cross it. However, its banister is not high enough to ensure its safety, so don’t let kids cross the bridge alone, without an adult supervision!!
My 2 cents: the Op Luang National Park is certainly beautiful and impressive, so I recommend integrating it in your tour route, if you travel from Chiang Mai/ Doi Inthanon towards Mae Sariang. However, to fully enjoy it, you’ll need a smart, careful tour plan.
Suan Bo Kaeo Pine Park is located outside of Op Luang National Park , but rather close to it. The little pine park consists of several lines of pine trees that stand tall and proud, providing the place with a romantic, beautiful appearance. It is located right on the side of the road and definitely worth a pause to visit.
FYI: We’ve decided not to include Op Luang National Park and the canyon as part of Tiptop Travel private luxury tours in the north as posted online, since these sites require specific, detailed planning that somewhat complicates the routes – but if you would like to visit there, Tiptop Travel will be happy to plan it especially for you.
Please notice this important explanation about planning your route from Chiang Mai, through Doi Inthanon national park and on to Mae Sariang for your overnight accommodation
Independent travelers and different companies often follow a circular route, in which the first (southern) part includes a ride from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon, and from there to Mae Sariang for an evening out and overnight accommodation, followed by a drive to the city of Mae Hong Son throughout the next day.
After following this path several times and consulting locals who know the area very well, our conclusion was that the first part – Chiang Mai -> Doi Inthanon – Mae Hong Son has many flaws which I would like to explain here.
· The ride from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon takes some 2 hours, and its continuation from there to Mae Sariang for an overnight stay takes some 3.5 hours, so that if you choose this route, you’ll be spending at least 5.5 hours on the road during that same day! Of course, this means that the time you can spend in the excellent national park of Doi Inthanon will be very short and you won’t be able to explore and enjoy it… Visiting the place just to take a picture by some waterfall and next to the top means completely missing out on the Doi Inthanon experience. Additionally, you won’t be able to visit Op Laung in such a short amount of time.
· The town of Mae Sariang is hardly interesting and lacks a good-quality resort.
· The next day, the drive from Mae Sariang to the city of Mae Hong Son, requires yet another long ride of some 3 and a half hours, with no particular point of interest along the way, apart from a vantage point that is nothing special (you can find similar points overlooking beautiful landscapes in many places across the north). I don’t find any particular interest in Kaew Komon cave, which you will find along the way too.
In conclusion: this route perhaps looks good on the map, but it is very faulty as I’ve explained above, and I highly recommend avoiding it. If you’d like to visit both Doi Inthanon and Op Luang national parks, you should spend the night at Doi Inthanon as I have.
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TipTop Travel private luxury tours to northern Thailand maintain similar high quality and class as their southern ‘siblings’. The tour routes were carefully planned, the best attractions and most enjoyable activities were handpicked, accompanied by the best hotels/resorts available in each and every region. We welcome you to enjoy the excellent restaurants we have picked for you to enjoy along the way; we invite you to follow the best guides we have sought, who will provide you with the best service available. This perfect combination will create your ultimate tour plan! an unforgettable, private luxury tour, to remain in your hearts and memories for many years.
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♣ Check out the attached clip of the rafting experience which I took on site on early March (when the water level was already low)…Enjoy!