Phu Kradung Travel Guide

  • View of Wild Elephant Plateau
    View of Wild Elephant Plateau
    by AlbuqRay
  • Sunset Over Phu Kradung
    Sunset Over Phu Kradung
    by AlbuqRay
  • Does Not Look Like Thailand to Me
    Does Not Look Like Thailand to Me
    by AlbuqRay

Phu Kradung Things to Do

  • The Best Lemonade

    A lady at the Sum Haek reststop had the best lemonade ever. She was in the group of shelters on the right hand side about in the middle. Two lemonades and a small bottle of water were 20 baht. Her secret was the hand-driven ice crushing machine. You can decide whether you want salt in the sweet lemonade or not. I had some since it was hot and I was...

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  • Phu Kradung National Park Headquarters

    The lower Visitors' Center is the park headquarters. You need to register here. We had made our reservations and prepaid (2000 baht) for the mountaintop bungalow at the Forest Service office in Bangkok. They will store suitcases for you for free, so only take up what you need to the top of the mountain. Not many people were storing suitcases; at...

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  • Well Marked Trails

    The trails in the southern part of the park on top of the mountain are well marked with signs like these, as was the trail up the mountain. They also give you a handout with maps at the Park Headquarters. You can find your way around easily.

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  • Phu Kradung Rock Outcropping

    I am not a geologist so I cannot tell you what the gray rock formations are. I think they are a type of granite but it is different from what we have in New Mexico. There were also beautiful lichens everywhere. Too bad it was hazy from the rain the night before or this picture would have had a great view too.

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  • View at Jam Sin Cliff

    There are many places like this along the south rim. I was a little nervous standing next to that drop-off at the edge of the cliff. You cannot see it in the picture but it was several hundred feet down just one step to my right.

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  • Mesa Meadow

    The trails on top of Phu Kradung wind through mountain meadows. Phu Kradung is a flat-topped mesa, so you can see a long way.

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  • Bungalow vs. Tent

    It really rained hard the first night we were there and the next morning you could see that many people had moved their tents under whatever shelter they could find, e.g. picnic shelters. I was a little disappointed in the bungalow (see my Accommodations tip) but at least it was dry inside.

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  • Wang Kwang Visitors' Center

    The upper Visitors' Center is where you check in to let them know that you made the climb safely. This is also where you get your bungalow key or your tent and sleeping gear. It was starting to rain when we arrived. Just be aware that the climate changes a lot as you get higher in elevation and be prepared. It was hot and sunny when we started at...

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  • Reststops on the Trail

    Approximately every kilometer on the way up there are places to stop, rest, and get food or drinks. The prices are set by the Forest Service and they increase as you get higher. This is probably because everything must be carried up by hand. Sum-Haek was the first place to stop that had refreshments. It took us about 40 minutes of climbing to get...

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  • Made It and Still Alive

    I was very happy to get to the mountain top. It was a long and tiring climb for me. We had started about 8:45 AM and it was now about 1:30 PM. After the stop at Sum-Haek, we also took breaks at Sum-Kor-Sang, Sum-Kok-Done, and Sum-Krae. The latter only had one vendor but he had small watermelons and green mangos with spicy salt (one each peeled and...

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  • Pay the Entrance Fee

    Don't ask me why you don't pay your fee at park headquarters or the trailhead gate, but there is a separate booth for collecting the fee. The fee is 200 baht for foreigners and 20 baht for Thai people.

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  • Porter Service

    If you want to use the porter service to have your things carried up for you, take them to this facility. Seems like it was 2-3 baht for a claim ticket. You actually pay the 10 baht per kilogram when you get your things at the top. They load the bags into nets to carry on the ends of a bamboo pole (see also my Transportation tips).

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  • Get Ready to Climb

    Although it is steep and long , the trail is easy to follow. There are well placed signs along the way to indicate distances and sites. The barrel had walking sticks. I was glad to have one many times, especially coming down.

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  • Kaew Pond

    Kaew Pond was a beautiful, serene place formed by a small clear water stream. It is about 1.7 km. from the Visitors' Center.

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  • Buddha Image

    The Buddha Image is only about 500 m. from the Visitors' Center. It is on a flat rock area and also has many bells.

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Phu Kradung Restaurants

  • AlbuqRay's Profile Photo
    Outdoor Restaurants

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 4, 2004

    There are several outdoor restaurants near the Phu Kradung Visitors' Center. We happened to try the last one in the first building (4th or 5th from the end toward the Visitors' Center). The owners were nice and the food good, so we ate there every time. The prices are controlled by the Forest Service and are reasonable (80-100 B for a meal). There are tame deer that beg for scraps but, as one little boy found out, don't bother them while they are eating. The deer snapped at him but fortunately missed.

    Favorite Dish: Over three days, we had tom yum, curry pork, omelete, pork fried rice, boiled rice soup, som tom, tom kha gai soup, and dry suki. The suki made with noodles, pork, chicken and vegetables was my favorite.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • National/State Park

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Phu Kradung Transportation

  • Hire a Porter to Ease the Climb

    There are porters (both men and women) who will carry your "stuff" up and down Phu Kradung for 10 B per kilogram. Believe me, it is worth it. We combined what we needed, had 19 kg. going up and 16 kg. going down. The porter does not go with you, so you will need to carry any necessities yourself.

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  • Your Legs Are It

    Maybe the Forest Service and VIP guests can use helicopters, but otherwise you must climb/walk up and down Phu Kradung, unless you want to pay to be carried up by porters. It was 5.4 km from Park Headquarters to the mountain top (1288 m) with a change in elevation of 1200 m and then another 3.8 km of flat walking to the Visitors' Center. At the...

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Phu Kradung Warnings and Dangers

  • Leech Leggings

    You can see what leech leggings look like in this picture. The Forest Service staff were wearing leech leggings that morning too. BTW, screaming does not help get rid of leeches. Just flick them off with your finger if you find them before they find skin; otherwise, use some salt.

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  • Leeches After the Rain

    Even though it is not jungle, there were still plenty of leeches out after the rain. Anywhere it was shady and had vegetation on the ground, there were leeches. The waterfalls were all in such places. Lucky bought leech leggings (50 baht) and I tucked my pantlegs into my socks. We went to the Tham Yai waterfall, but one rain at the end of the dry...

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  • Be Careful of the Wild Elephants

    There are wild elephants on top of Phu Kradung and on the plateau just below the summit. I heard that a monk was killed a few months ago by a wild elephant near the Buddha Image. We never saw anything but their droppings and warning signs to be careful of wild elephants. However, there was one time we could smell a musty, barnyard like smell. I...

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Phu Kradung Off The Beaten Path

  • Pha Nok Khao Village

    Pha Nok Khao is on the main road between Khon Kaen and Loei. It is where the buses stop for Phu Kradung. Park Headquarters is about 5 km from this village on a paved road. The mountain in this picture is not Phu Kradung, but a small spectacular mountain next to the village.

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  • Waiting for the Bus

    I bought some sticky rice in a bamboo stick while we were waiting on the bus to Khon Kaen in Pha Nok Khao village. The nice lady who sold it to me is thinking...that big farang is really going to eat my cooking. You can see fresh pineapples and sweet tamarinds in the background.

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Phu Kradung Favorites

  • Elevation map of Phu Kradung

    It is hard to read here, but the map shows the elevation and reststops on the trail up Phu Kradung. The two steepest parts are at the beginning (Entrance Gate to Sum-Haek) and the end (Sum-Krae to Mountain Top). It was a good feeling getting safely to the top. At my age, I may not be able to do it again. They have talked about building a tram to...

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  • Pine Forest in Thailand?

    One does not expect to find a pine forest in Thailand. However, if you climb up almost 4000 feet, you can certainly find a beautiful, cooler place. The taller pines are Pinus merkusii. At least I think that's what the sign said. I miss the vistas of pines, grasslands and flowers.

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