Phu Kradueng National Park is one of Thailand’s most popular national parks, with a hard lengthy climb to get there. Foreign tourists are less familiar with it due to its isolated location. The park is known for its long trails, freezing winter months, and numerous waterfalls and vistas. It is located in the Phu Kradueng District of Loei Province in central north Thailand. Unlike most of Thailand’s other major national parks, Phu Kradueng National Park is easily accessible by public transit from all adjacent provinces as well as Bangkok.
History of Phu Kradueng
According to legend, a hunter attempted to track down a bull that had run to the summit of a mountain in Srithan sub-district. (At the moment, in the district of Phu Kradueng.) This is the first time anyone has seen this mountain. The hunter discovered gorgeous broad plains, pine trees, flora, and other sorts of wildlife when he followed the bull to the top of that mountain. Prince Prachaksinlapakhom visited the area and prepared a geographic report, which he delivered to the Ministry of the Interior. The National Forest was established by a government edict in 1943. For the first time, the Royal Forest Department began a survey to build a national park in Phu Kradueng, Loei Province, but due to a lack of funds and authorities, little progress was made and the project was abandoned.
The Cabinet passed a resolution on October 7, 1959, designating 14 woods in various provinces as national parks in order to permanently safeguard natural resources for the common good. The Forest Department has suggested the Phu Kradueng forest be designated as a national park in accordance with Section 6 of the National Park Act 1961. A national park is located in the Phu Kradueng Subdistrict in the Wang Saphung District of Loei Province. The Cabinet voted on July 6, 1977, to revoke the national park area in the area where the Air Force wants to build a government-owned telecommunications relay station. The Royal Forestry Department requested the revocation of the land area in 1978 since the military occupies an area of approximately 5 rai.
Phu Kradueng Geography
The park is mostly made up of a single large mountain mesa, encompassing 350 square kilometers at an elevation of 1,316 meters above sea level. The mountain’s flat summit plateau, where the main attractions are located, covers an area of 60 square kilometers and an elevation between 1,200 and 1,250 meters above sea level. The park’s forests include deciduous dipterocarp forest below an elevation of 800 meters asl, mixed deciduous forest, dry evergreen forest, and hill evergreen forest at the park’s highest points. Bamboo woods are prevalent in the mid-elevations, while pine and oak trees predominate on the plateaus and higher ground. The Western Isaan Forest Complex includes Phu Kradueng National Park as well as three other national parks and four animal sanctuaries totaling 4,594 square kilometers. Nam Nao National Park, Tat Mok National Park, Phu Pha Man National Park, Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Pha Phung Wildlife Sanctuary, Phu Pha Daeng Wildlife Sanctuary, and Taboa Huai Yai Wildlife Sanctuary are only a few of the protected areas found within the complex’s boundaries.
Wildlife at Phu Kradueng
Although the park isn’t a good place to go animal watching, there are some creatures can be seen in the area. When visiting the top camping site, keep an eye out for sambar deer, which are not afraid and can be found there almost every day. There have been reports of wild boars and golden jackals passing through the campground. In contrast to the cautious golden jackals that can only be seen in the busiest parts of the campsite, boars are more active and can be seen roaming the grounds. Variable squirrels and western striped squirrels are also frequent. There are elephant habitats near the campsite, so look out for caution signs about elephants on the trails. If elephant activity is detected in the area, the paths may be temporarily restricted to visitors. When encountering a wild elephant, keep a safe distance of at least 100 meters away from it. Elephant fatalities are all too common in Thailand.
Another mammal found in the area is the Asian golden cat. Other mammals found in the park include the white-handed and black giant squirrels. Civets may be spotted in the area around the campsite at night, if you’re lucky. Some of the birds found in Phu Kradueng National Park include Nepal house martins, white-bellied green pigeons, rufous-wedged fulvettas, grey-sided thrushes, dark-backed sibia, lesser shortwings, striated yuhina, red-billed scimitar babbler, golden-throated barbets, moustached barbecues, and mountain bulbul. Phu Kradueng National Park
Phu Kradueng Climate
All year round, Phu Kradueng is pleasantly cool and comfortable. The average annual temperature is 6 °C warmer than the arctic. The coldest nights of the year are when the temperatures drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The weather can swiftly shift throughout the rainy season. It’s common for the sky to be shrouded in fog or a low layer of clouds. After excessive rain erodes the soil beneath the sandstone crown, cliffs may crumble under their own weight. Flash floods in the streams that flow down the mountain can also be caused by heavy rain. As a result, the park is closed from June to September each year to ensure the safety of visitors and to allow the forest to regenerate.
Phu Kradueng National Park visitor centers
At each of the park’s two visitor centers, you’ll find a campground.
-The park’s first tourist center and campsite are located near Phu Kradueng Town on the park’s east side.
-The major destinations are the second tourist center and the campsite on the plateau, which can only be accessed after a strenuous climb. From here, you may access all of the park’s attractions.
Getting to Phu Kradueng National Park
The lower visitor center closes at 4 p.m. every day because visitors will not have enough time to go to the higher visitor center before it becomes dark. This is something to keep in mind when you get there. In order to get to the top campsite before dark, you should arrive at the park as early as possible. It’s best to arrive the night before you expect to go up, so you have time to set up camp and get a head start on the hike.
Travel by car: If you’re traveling by automobile, take Highway 1 north from Bangkok to Highway 2, then Highway 2 east to Highway 201 north. When you reach Pak Chong, turn left onto Highway 201 north. The course has a total length of about 500 kilometers. There is a designated space where cars can be parked for a number of days, and the parking lot is adequately patrolled at all hours.
Getting by train: From Bangkok, board a train from Hualamphong Railway Station to Khon Kaen Railway Station. Get off the bus at Pha Nok Khao or Phu Kradueng in Khon Kaen and then take a songthaew to the park to reach Loei.
By bus: From Bangkok, take the bus to Loei at the Mo Chit Bus Station 2 and get off at Pha Nok Khao, from there take a songthaew to the park. Buses to Loei are available from a number of firms at Mo Chit 2, including Air Mueang Loei (ticket counter 6), and Phu Kradueng Tour Bus (ticket counter 82) (third floor). Depending on when you want to leave Phu Kradueng, you can choose between four different times: 8:30 in the morning, 10:10 in the afternoon, or 8 in the evening. The 9:30 p.m. bus from Mo Chit 2 Terminal arrives to Pha Nok Khao around 6 a.m.
Make it explicit when purchasing a ticket that you want to be dropped off at Pha Nok Khao (the final destination) for Phu Kradueng.
Truck-based Songthaews from Pha Nok Khao – Songthaews are smaller pickup-based passenger vehicles. Tickets are 30 Baht each, but if there aren’t enough people to fill the plane, passengers in the middle can pay 300 Baht each to take off anyhow.. Pha Nok Khao’s visitor center is about a 20-minute drive away. A songthaew can take you from the visitor center in Krabi to Pha Nok Khao, where a Phu Kradueng Tour Bus departs for Bangkok at 9:30 am and 5:50 pm and 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm, respectively. Pha Nok Khao serves as a jumping off point for trips to adjacent cities such Khaon Kaen, Loei, and Phetchabun.
How to get to the top camping area
It is recommended that guests begin trekking uphill early in the morning. The trailhead is open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The higher camping ground is reached via an 8.7-kilometer hard trek that takes an averagely fit person less than 5 hours to walk. The trail is well-marked and does not necessitate the use of a guide; it begins behind the lower tourist center area, where appropriate arrangements can be made. The trail ascends from 285 meters above sea level to 1,275 meters above sea level during the first 5.2 kilometers to the plateau. The trail up is quite steep for the first 800 meters, and the following 1,3 kilometers before reaching the plateau are even steeper and more difficult to walk. Concrete, bamboo, or other wooden stairways are used at the steepest points. On a fairly flat dirt road, it takes another 3.5 km to reach the higher tourist center once you’ve reached the top. The path up is well-marked, so there’s no danger of getting lost.
The trail splits into two ways a few times on the way up, but they reconnect soon after; it doesn’t matter which direction you choose at those moments.
There are five rest stops along the way up the path, all of which will be open during peak seasons, lengthier public holidays, and weekends. During the off-season, just three rest spots will be open. These rest stops each offer a number of food sellers, as well as beverages and coffees, so you won’t need to bring more than a couple of small bottles of water with you on this hike. At these locations, there are also some shopping sellers selling souvenirs, t-shirts, rain coats, and other items. Heavier luggage can be carried by native carriers all the way to the upper visitor center for 30 Baht per kilo. Local transportation can be booked through the visitor center.
Phu Kradueng National Park: Getting Around
Phu Kradueng is an excellent place to go trekking because, unlike most other national parks in Thailand, there is no need to hire a guide to walk the longer trails. The routes on the plateau are well-marked, well-signposted, and easy to walk between the attractions. On the southern plateau, a grid of dirt roads and paths crosses each other, allowing access to a number of waterfalls and overlooks from various angles. For further information about these attractions and their locations, see the “attractions” section lower down. Hiking is an option for those looking for a challenge, but you can also rent bicycles at the tourist center to go about. There are approximately 100 mountain bikes available for rent, ranging in price from 360 to 410 Baht. Bicycles cannot be rented during periods of heavy rain because the dirt roads become muddy. Apart from a few light vehicles used by park employees, there are no cars at the top of the mountain, therefore moving around is only possible on foot or by bicycle.
Fees and hours of operation
Foreign visitors pay 400 Baht (children pay 200 Baht) and Thai citizens pay 40 Baht (20 Baht for children).
Cars were charged 30 Baht, while bikes were charged 20 Baht. During the rainy season, from June to September each year, the park is closed for forest recovery, but it is otherwise open every day, including public holidays.
Every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the main visitor center is open.
Every day from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., the upper visitor center is open.
Camping at Phu Kradueng National Park
With adequate space for 5,000 tents, the top camping field is likely one of Thailand’s largest. During lengthier holidays, such as Songkran Festival or other three- or four-day weekend combined holidays, the park becomes quite crowded. The campsite is less active during the weekdays, from Monday to Friday. It’s best to go on weekdays when there are fewer people. Tents may only be rented on the spot and cost 150 Baht for two people, 200 Baht for three people, or 400 Baht for four people. We recommend renting the 3 pax tents for two people because you’ll need a little extra room for your baggage, and you’ll have less room for your legs while sleeping. If you’re traveling with three people, you’ll want to choose the four-person option. Sleeping bags, mats, and pillows can be rented for 10 to 30 Baht per person, for a total of 60 Baht. On less busy days, there may be space beneath one of the few pavilions to pitch a tent, which is a nice way to get some shade and protect yourself from the rain. Around the camping grounds, there are numerous shower/toilet facilities, all of which are cleaned on a regular basis. At the lower camping ground, you can also hire a tent when you arrive.
Phu Kradueng National Park accommodations
There are a lot of places to stay near the higher campsite that you may rent. The possibilities are as follows:
-900 Baht/night for 6 persons sharing a toilet outside.
-Six people, three bedrooms, and one toilet – 1,800 Baht per night
-2,000 Baht/night for 10 persons, 1 large bedroom, and 1 toilet
-2400 Baht/night for 8 persons, 2 bedrooms, and 1 toilet
The park’s lodging can only be reserved online through the DNP website, and reservations must be made in advance. It may not be possible to book from abroad since the money transfer must be completed within two days of the booking. Payment can be made at local banks or 7-Eleven convenience stores while in Thailand.
Restaurants at Phu Kradueng National Park
Both the higher and lower campsites have a plethora of restaurants. The lower tourist center restaurants are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday, while the higher visitor center eateries are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Food and beverages are more expensive at Phu Kradueng’s upper campsite than in most other national parks since they must be carried up at a significant cost on foot. A bottle of water costs 25 Baht, refreshments cost between 30 and 50 Baht, and a large bottle of water costs 50 Baht. A regular lunch in a restaurant can cost anything between 60 and 200 Baht.
Phu Kradueng National Park Waterfalls
A variety of waterfalls may be found west and northwest of the camping area, all of which are accessible by a few circular pathways.
Waterfall Wang Kwang
It is a 7-meter-high waterfall located about a kilometer from the higher camping ground. Behind the cascading water, there is a naturally flat stone path broad enough to walk to the opposite side of the stream without getting wet.
Tham Yai Waterfall
Along the same trail, around 2.3 kilometers from the visitor center and 1.4 km before Phen Phop Waterfall. Every year from late November to early December, when maple trees cover the forest floor in crimson, the region around this waterfall becomes breathtakingly gorgeous.
Than Sawan Waterfall
Phen Phob Waterfall is around 250 meters downstream from Tham Yai Waterfall. Tham Yai Waterfall is 1.1 kilometers to the north.
Phon Phob Waterfall
The Phon Phob Waterfall is a 30-meter-high, eight-tiered cascading waterfall. The waterfall was named after the first Thai world champion boxer, who used it as a training ground for a competition held in a colder climate.
Phen Phob Mai Waterfall
It’s a medium-sized waterfall with a fantastic view that’s around 600 meters north of Phon Phob. From late November to early December, this waterfall, too, boasts a beautiful vista of falling red maples.
Phu Kradueng National Park Viewpoints
There are several locations from which to observe the dawn and sunset in varying directions and distances from the campsite. The nearest is roughly a kilometer away from the visitor center, and the others are spread out from east to west along the plateau’s southern edge, up to 9 kilometers away.
Nok Aan Cliff
In the early mornings, this is the closest viewpoint with a sunrise view. It’s 1.1 kilometers east of the visitor center.
Lom Sak Cliff
Lom Sak Cliff, on the southwest side of the plateau and 9 kilometers from the visitor center, is the most popular place to watch the sunset. On busy days, there is a vendor nearby who sells drinks and snacks.
Mak Duk Cliff
Mak Duk Cliff, on the south edge of the plateau, is the closest viewpoint, about 2.5 kilometers from the visitor center.
Na Noi Cliff
Na Noi Cliff is 1.2 kilometers west of Mak Duk, or 3.3 kilometers by a shorter route from the visitor center.
Yiap Mek Cliff
About 2.1 kilometers west of Na Noi Cliff and 5.1 kilometers from the visitor center.
Located 1.2 km west from Yiap Mek Cliff.
Before you tackle Phu Kradueng, here are some things you should know.
1. Take a tour bus to Loei Province (Pha Nok Khao parking spot). It is the most convenient and connects you to a minibus at Je Kim Shop-Phu Kradueng, regardless of the province you are from. Rent a car for 300 baht per person per journey for up to 10 people, and wait for people to arrive at the same time so that the car fare can be shared.
2. Park admission charge of 40 baht, insurance fee of 10 baht, and park tent fee of 225 baht (sleeping 2-3 persons).
3. Prepare comfortable clothes, good ventilation And bring a sweater for the cold weather, as well as trekking shoes or canvas for regular exercise, a flashlight for navigating to see the sunrise and sunset, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and trekking sticks to save energy, though if you don’t have any, you can use the bamboo cut prepared by the staff at the ascent.
4. If you want to carry it yourself, the bag just organizes the necessary items; otherwise, you can hire a porter for 30 baht per kilogram.
5. Wang Kwang is within walking distance from Foothills. About 10 kilometres from the Visitor Center (Ground tent). There will be a rest stop, restaurant, and restroom on the route through each sum. Don’t forget to try the watermelon, which is incredibly tasty and only costs 20 baht per slice.
6. There are numerous attractions in the area surrounding Phu Kradueng. Viewpoints along various cliffs, numerous waterfalls, Buddha statues, Anodat pond, and so on, with each point separated by a great distance. If you don’t want to walk, you can rent a bicycle for 60 baht for small wheels and 410 baht for large wheels (for riding during the dry season because there is a lot of sand).
7. Visitors should plan on staying at Phu Kradueng for at least 3 days and 2 nights.
8. Cooking is not permitted on the premises. There are numerous eateries on Phu Kradueng where you will not go hungry. The price may rise slightly, but not much. Moo kra ta (grilled pork on a pan) is a popular dish on Phu Kradueng.
9.October till the beginning of December You’ll run into a lot of slugs. However, this comes at the expense of greenery and a succulent environment in December and January. During this time, a large number of people come to see the maple leaves.
Visitors can go to Phu Kradueng on their own. Visitors will meet many companions along the road who will assist us and will be able to use the money to solve difficulties, whether utilizing the porter service and purchasing groceries that are not tough for beginners and going it alone. However, conquering Phu Kradueng is difficult due to the lengthy distances and steepness of many of the hills. Come on, don’t be frightened, which is a play on the phrase “Once in a lifetime, we are the victors of Phu Kradueng.”
Additional drills during the duration of COVID-19
– Have finished 2 injections or got 1 dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine within the last 14 days.
– Finish both Sinovac vaccination doses.
– Sinovac 1 + AstraZeneca 1 vaccine combo.
– according to the Ministry of Public Health, injection of other brands
– Get a Covid-19 test result in 70 hours or 3 days using an Antigen Test Kit or RT-PCR.
– Visitors to Phu Kradueng National Park must wear a mask at all times.