Ob-Luang National Park is part of Tanon Tong Chai mountain range, thus the forest is still quite rich. This is the origin of the Mae Jam River and the lower Ping River, Ob-Luang used to be an abundant habitat of pre-historic people. Usually Ob-Luang visitors are tourists who stop by on the way to or from Mae Hong Son using the Chiang Mai-Hod road, or those who visit Doi Inthanon and pass Mae Jam district to Chiang Mai. From Mae Jam they take Highway 1088 to Hod and pay a fun and enjoyable visit to Ob-Luang and its hot spring, its color-changing forest, the historical site, and the exciting rafting before heading back to Chiang Mai.
Driving from Mae Jam District on Highway 1088 just before reaching Hod district, you will find yourself arriving at the first welcoming attraction; Teppanom hot springs. The fifteen hot springs look prominent on the plain with a surface temperature of 99 degree Celsius. Some natural cold springs are also nearby as a result of Huai Pong River influence.Not far from the springs is Ob-Luang National Park. Walk from the National Park information center for 200 meters and you’ll be stunned by Mae Jam River that divides two cliffs and creates a steep and narrow creek in between. The Mae Chaem River was originally called the “Salak hin”. The river created a big but narrow canyon, which is called Ob Luang. The rocks and cliffs are subject to erosion by the strong currents of the river and have formed the canyon and strangely shaped rock formations. The water has to force its way past rocks and boulders obstructing the course which is a magnificent sight. There’s a 30 meter long bridge connecting the two cliffs. The gap of the cliffs is 32 meters at the widest, two meters long at the narrowest, and the canyon is 300 meters long.
Apart from sight-seeing, Ob-Luang also provides a path to many pre-historic sites that contain bronze bracelets, beads, baked clay containers, Hobinnian culture, and wall paintings. Next is a shady trail that leads you to a rock cliff where you can practice rock-climbing and enjoy the magnificence of the color-changing forest, Mae Jam River, and the monumental scenery of Mae Jam District.Another activity that you should never miss at Ob-Luang National Park is white-water rafting. The route is 5 km. long and takes about an hour. You’ll have a great time defying the power of the river over ten cataracts with an adventure level ranging from 1 to 3. The perfect period for rafting is between October and March, but if you’re not afraid of challenging and risky rafting the rainy season can offer a truly memorable experience.
How to get there
Traveling from Chiang Mai, take the road number 108 to the town of Hod. At Hod take the Hod – Mae Sariang road. After 17 km. you will reach the park’s headquarters. Total distance from Chiang Mai is 105 km.
When to go : All year, with exceptional rafting experience in the rainy season