Ob Luang national park is about 105 kilometers from Chiang Mai and is a very worthwhile day trip. The park is famous for its gorge through which the Mae Chaem River flows. It is also known as the "Grand Canyon of Thailand".
A footbridge across the gorge 500 meters downstream makes a walk through the natural trail possible. The walk passes an ancient burial site (Land of Prehistoric Human), the remains of which are in the National Museum in Chiang Mai. They found human bones, beads, wrist rings, clay bowls, tools, weapons, etc. You can also see ancient rock drawings from about 2500 -3000 years ago and an amazing view over the valley can be enjoyed from the rock outcrop above at Doi Pa Chang.
Ob Luang is furthermore known for its water rafting. While we were there the river was not particularly high but it was definitely forceful, with a strong current and plenty of water to enjoy a wild water rafting trip. When there is less water it is also possible to enjoy canoeing and kayaking.
The National Park covers a total area of 553 square kilometers of steep forested granite hills, adjoining the much higher mountains of Doi Inthanon Park to the northwest. The elevation ranges from 200 meters to 1,656 meters along the Mae Chaem River to the northeast. The Mae Chaem River originates from the mountain range in Mae Hong Son. It is running along steep cliffs, knolls, and valleys and has some islands as well as sandy beaches on the side.
The National Park Office has tents and sleeping equipment for visitors to rent (although tents have to be put up no later the 6 pm). Contact Ob Luang National Park, P.O. Box 2, Hang Dong Sub district, Hord District, Chiang Mai 50240. Tel: 053-229272.
How to get there
Traveling from Chiang Mai, take the road number 108 to the town of Hot. At Hot take the Hot – Mae Sariang road. After 17 km you will reach the park’s headquarters. Total distance from Chiang Mai is 105 km.