Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mae Surin National Park and Waterfall - Mae Hong Son

Mae Surin National Park is given national park status in 1981, this natural wonder, which straddles Mueang and Khun Yuam districts, encompasses a wildlife and botanical reserve, a huge waterfall and a spectacular terraced mountain. Namtok Mae Surin, its main attraction, is 37 kilometers from Khun Yuam district. It is a huge waterfall cascading over eighty meters down below.

Mae Surin national park is located in Mae Hong Son province, it covers 397 square kilometers of rugged terrain. It was established in 1981 as the 37th national park of Thailand. The park contains some of the main peaks of Thanon Tongchai range with elevation varying between 300 and 1,700 meters above sea level. These highland give birth to numerous streams and small rivers which are important tributaries of the Pai river, the main river of this region. 

The three seasons of northern Thailand offer varied conditions within Mae Surin National Park throughout the year. With the mountain tops and river valleys often wreathed in mist, the cold season (November to February) offers beautiful scenery, lush vegetation, and comfortable temperatures for hiking and camping. The temperature during the hot season (late February to May) can be somewhat oppressive in the lowlands of Mae Hong Son with a mean high temperature of 39ºC in the month of April. Rainy season is normally from June to October. This brings the forest into vibrant life and fills the rivers and their waterfalls to full capacity. While nature is at this time in its grandest state, hiking along the mountains will be quite difficult. Careful planning must be done for safety. White water rafting on Pai river is a popular activity during the rainy season. 

Drastic variations in topography and soil types in this region have created numerous habitat types ranging from sparsely vegetated stands of broadleaf deciduous to lush stands of tropical evergreen forest. Flora of interest are: increasingly rare stands of teak, stands of temperate pine, and a number of orchid and wildflower species. Probable animal species present in the park include Malay sun bear, golden cat, common wild pig, barking deer, and serow.

Mae Surin waterfall (Thai: น้ำตกแม่สุรินทร์), is a not-to-miss attraction in the park and is set amidst towering limestone mountains. A single jet of water leaping off a cliff face and plunging gracefully onto the rocks 100 meters below, Mae Surin waterfall is one of the tallest and most beautiful single tier waterfalls in Thailand. The fall can be viewed from the hills across the valley, or you can hike down the hills for a closer look. On the way to the waterfall, there are Karen and Hmong hill tribe villages as well as the famous Toong Bua Tong (Thai: ทุ่งบัวตอง), or fields of wild sunflowers, which bloom for two weeks only in the month of November.

The Park itself has two main locations with visitor facilities. The main Headquarters is located just North of Mae Hong Sorn along Route 1095 and beside the Pai River. At Mae Surin Waterfall, there is another information centre and visitor facilities. Both locations have accommodation available. The Headquarters has three bungalows overlooking the Pai river. At Mae Surin Waterfall, there are 2 new Bungalows and 2 basic Adobe huts available (There is no mainline electricity at this location. A generator provides electricity from Dusk until 22:00 hrs.). Both locations have camp grounds and tent rental.

The highlights of the Park include Mae Surin Waterfall, Doi Mae U-Kor, Mae Sakeud Nature Trail, Rafting and the Huay Fai Kor Wildlife Conservation Project.



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