500 YEARS AGO
People inhabited the remote areas of
Thailand, but we know very little about them. We know of their existence
only by the cliff paintings they left behind, some of which are
dimly visible on the cliffs near Mae Klang Visitor's center.
150 YEARS AGO
hilltribe people began to settle on the lower slopes of the mountain
150 years ago, circa 1850. Pamon village -a beautiful Karen village- is one
of the oldest settlements in the park.
100 YEARS AGO
Until early in this century, this mountain
was known as Doi Ang Ka. The last ruler of the Lanna Kingdom, King Inthravitchayanon,
decreed that his remains should be placed at the summit to remind the people
of his love and respect for this important place.
He died in l898, and his remains were
brought by pony train to the mountain. Later, his daughter established
a beautiful chedi to honor her father, and the name of the mountain
was changed to Doi Inthanon in honor of the memory of the last King of
Chiangmai. To this day, people come to the summit to pay homage to
the former ruler.
The Hmong people began to move
into the region about 70 years ago, and the village of Khun Klang
was established about 1925. The Hmong were traditionally opium growers,
and the upper slopes of this mountain were once covered in opium poppies.
An unfortunate consequence of the opium trade was its devastating impact
on the environment; the hills of Chiangrai and Chiangmai provinces are
seriously deforested and depleted from years of opium production.
25 YEARS AGO TO THE PRESENT
Mr. Boonsong Lekagul, the father of
the environmental movement in Thailand, made several excursions to Doi
Inthanon in the 1960s, and he established his base camp (Nipompri) in Pamon.
The school at Pamon retains the word 'nipompri' in its name, and villagers
there can take you to see the remains of some of Mr. Boonsong Lekagul's
Doi Inthanon National Park was established
by an act of Congress in 1966, under the supervision of Mr. Nyrung Saikon.
Mr. Nyrung died in a plane crash while surveying the park in 1967, and
you can visit his memorial site located just off the Ang
Ka Nature Trail on the summit. It is believed that the plane Mr.
Nyrung was in suffered a fuel leak, and it exploded when he lit a match
for a cigarette; consequently, many people leave lighted cigarettes at
the memorial to honor the park's former supervisor.
In the 1970s, the government
started an active opium suppression and drug rehabilitation program
to combat the problems associated with the opium trade. As part of that
program, the King established a Royal Project in Khun Klang village
to teach the Hmong people to grow non-opium flower crops. The Project is
open to visitors all year.
The radar station and the road to
the summit were constructed in 1972 by the American Army Corps of Engineers
- allowing easy access to the summit area.