Doi Phu Kha National Park is located in Nan Province in North Thailand, along the Luang Prabang Range. The park is known for its scenic overlooks along the park’s main road, cold weather, higher-elevation campgrounds, numerous trails, and some outstanding caverns. Nan is the closest city, and the main entry to the park’s headquarters is from Pua Town to the west. At an elevation of 1,920 meters above sea level, Doi Dong Ya Wai Mountain is the park’s highest peak; the peak is known as Doi Phu Kha. Chomphu phu kha tree, a tree with pink blossoms that is relatively prevalent in the park, is called after the park and this mountain top. The rainy season begins in May and lasts through September, with virtually daily rain in August and September. The rest of the year is relatively dry.
Background information on Doi Phu Kha National Park
Mr. Somchai Lohasotti, a member of the Nan Provincial House of Representatives, wrote Mr. Narong Wongwan, the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives at the time, a letter No. 13/2526 dated September 24, 1983. Locals had asked him to establish a national park in the Doi Phu Kha Forest in Nan Province’s Pua District. Because the summit of Doi Phu Kha, with a height of 1,980 meters above sea level, was Nan Province’s highest mountain and the province’s symbol. It was an Upstream Forests that formed the Nan River’s source. As a historical site, it boasts lovely scenery. Furthermore, the old city of the Nan people’s ancestors was said to be in the Doi Phu Kha mountain range since ancient times.
Following that, on January 27, 1984, the 3rd Army Region, the Front Division, and the Internal Security Operations Command, Region 3, published a letter stating that they had discovered forestry conditions in the area of Banpu, Nan Province, where there was plenty and beautiful environment. And the area around Q A 2686 includes a magnificent, gorgeous waterfall that deserves to be declared a national park by royal proclamation. As a result, on November 24, 1983, the National Park Division of the Royal Forest Department issued order 1786/2526 authorizing Mr. Panya Pridisanit, a forest scholar, to investigate the aforementioned preliminary area. The forest conditions appeared to be fertile, and there was a forest upstream with plentiful species and magnificent natural landscape. Mr. Wanchai Pankasem, a forest official, was then given an order 1641/2528 dated October 21, 1985 by the Royal Forest Department to perform surveys and designate the forest area as a national park. According to the findings of the survey, published in book No.0713 on 28 dated May 11, 1987, the forests of Doi Phu Kha and surrounding areas were eligible for the establishment of a national park.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP) had brought about the management of Doi Phu Kha National Park in the meeting, and had issued an order No. 12/2531 dated October 4, 2531 that resolved to establish a Doi Phu Kha National Park. The Department had presented the National Park Board with a resolution in meeting No. 2/2531 dated October 19, 2531, which approved the designation of Doi Phu Kha forest area as a national park, which has a royal decree specifying the land of Doi Phu Kha Forest, Pha Daeng Forest, Nan River Forest on the southern east side, Nam Wa Forest and Mae Charim Forest in Huai Kon Subdistrict, Khun Nan Subdistrict, Chhun Nan Subdistrict With an area of roughly 1,065,000 rai or 1,704 square kilometers, it was announced in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, Volume 116, Part 48A, dated June 17, 1999.
Wildlife in Doi Phu Kha National Park
In recent years, a smaller herd of elephants has been observed near the park’s southernmost limit. Nobody knows if the herd is still in the region or if it has crossed the border into Laos or somewhere else. There hasn’t been any recent evidence of larger mammal activity in the park aside from that. Back-striped weasels, as well as Assam and northern pig-tailed macaques, have all been found in the park. Around 240 bird species can be found in the park, including a few that are extremely rare in Thailand, such as the chestnut-bellied nuthatch and the beautiful nuthatch, as well as less common species like the black-throated bushtits and purple cochoa. Other uncommon species include the whiskered yuhina, grey-bellied tesia and Fujian niltava. The reptile and amphibian population of the park is extremely diverse. Species that are new to Thailand or have never been found before have been discovered on a regular basis.
Some of Thailand’s snake species such as the Laotian bearded snake (Parafimbrios lao), red river krait, green rat snake, many-banded green snake, and common bamboo snake (Pseudoxenodon bambusicola) are only found in Doi Phu Kha National Park or nearby districts and parks such as Khun Nan National Park at the present time. They have not yet been discovered in other parts of Thailand. A number of interesting reptile species can be found in the park, including: large-eyed bamboo snakes (Pseudoxenodon macrops), as well as Himalayan mountain pit vipers (Ovophis monticola), Gumprecht pit vipers (Trimeresurus gumprechti), Guo’s green pit vipers (Trimeresurus guoi), fire-back keelbacks (Hebius igneus), smooth snakes ( (Draco maculatus).
What is the best way to get to Doi Phu Kha National Park?
The park is not accessible by public transit. Only personal vehicles, bicycles, or private taxis are permitted to enter the park. To move around the park and to numerous locations, you’ll need your own car or bike.
Arriving in the park
Nan Nakhon Airport in Nan, about 85 kilometers from the headquarters, is the nearest airport. AirAsia operates three daily flights from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport to Nan.
To get to Nan, Pua, the national park, or anywhere else in the province, taxis can be rented on the spot at the airport. The best route to the park is Highway 1256, which begins a few hundred meters from the big t-junction in the heart of Pua Town. Pua is 24 kilometers from the headquarters.
Pua is a good place to hire a songthaew for a reasonable price. Songthaews can be hired at a parking lot at the town’s main T-junction, next to Payapanong Stadium, an open football stadium.
A one-way fare to the headquarters area is 500 Baht, or 1,500 Baht for a full day of service to a number of locations along the major road to Bo Kluea and back to Pua costs 1,500 Baht.
Costs of admission and hours of operation
The cost of admission is 200 Baht per person (100 Baht for children), 30 Baht for vehicles, and 20 Baht for motorcyclists. There are no limits on when you can visit the park and when you can leave. Every year, from the 1st of June to the 30th of September, Doi Phu Kha National Park is closed.
Stay and eat at Doi Phu Kha National Park
The park has three camping areas and a large variety of park lodging options in the headquarters area. Aside from the cheapest choice, most lodging options include hot showers and a refrigerator. Many hotels/resorts may be found in adjacent Pua and Bo Kluea, all of which are within a 30-minute drive from the headquarters area. The temperature drops dramatically at night, especially during the winter months and on days with heavy rain, therefore long pants and a sweater are recommended.
Doi Phu Kha National Park is a great place to camp.
In the park, there are three campsites: one near the headquarters and two further east at higher elevations. For more information and directions to these campgrounds, see the “Attractions” section below.
Accommodations available in Doi Phu Kha National Park
In the headquarters area, there are a number of lodging alternatives. These prices range from 300 to 3,200 Baht, however the cheapest choice should be avoided. The basic 300 Baht rooms are cramped; the entire inside space is taken up by a double bed, leaving barely 30-40 cm of space in front to store goods. Because the ceiling is so low, these rooms are so little that you can’t even stand inside. A tent might be a better option than these low-quality rooms if there isn’t a lot of rain. There are no hot showers and the toilets and facilities are outside. In these cramped quarters, there are lamps but no outlets for charging various electronics.
Cars may be parked along the roadside.
The 800 and 2,000 Baht choices include a hot shower, refrigerator, water heater, and parking space, and are suitable for 4 to 6 persons. The 3,200 Baht options are for larger groups of up to 16 persons and come with four rooms. There is also a hot shower, refrigerator, water heater, and parking space in these rooms. If you book from Monday to Thursday, you’ll get a 20% discount on all accommodations.
If accommodations are available, they can be reserved in advance on the DNP website or at the tourist center upon arrival. It may not be feasible to book these from overseas in advance due to the need for a money transfer within two days of the booking. Payments can be made at 7-Eleven convenience stores or local banks when in Thailand.
Doi Phu Kha National Park has conservation difficulties.
The park, which is one of Thailand’s most important, requires immediate treatment. Illegal hunting and deforestation are persistent issues. There are far too many communities within or near the park’s boundaries where locals are permitted to access forest resources, resulting in increased deforestation for a variety of reasons. Because deforestation is such a major issue, most of what is left could be gone in the next several decades. Hunting guns were openly carried by hunters along the major route. From the park’s main roads or communities, these hunters take a variety of trails to enter the forest. Hundreds, if not thousands, of feral cattle wreak havoc on the montane woods deeper within the park, far from communities. Dogs, cats, and goats are examples of domestic animals.
Doi Phu Kha's top attractions
Areas of the visitor center and the campground
Along Highway 1256, about 24 kilometers east of Pua District, is the visitor center area. There is a campground, restaurant, cafe, canteen, and a 4.2-kilometer circular route in the region. A campground is located about 300 meters uphill from the visitor center. The visitor center rents a tent for three persons with all the necessary equipment for 450 Baht per night. Using the campground space with your own tent will cost you 30 Baht. The tourist center area has a large circular route, which may be found further down in the “trails” section.
The trail is a circle.
The walk begins on the opposite side of the headquarters building at roughly 1,300 meters above sea level, passes a few smaller streams, and terminates at the campsite at 1,360 meters above sea level. The first 1.5 kilometers of this trail climb steeply to 1,540 meters above sea level, before gradually descending to the campsite. A clear track branches off somewhere near the trail’s highest point, leading all the way to Doi Phu Kha’s top. From HQ east, another trail leads down to the main road and ends adjacent to the nearest village. Hikers must report to the visitor center before traveling this trail, even if they are not accompanied by a ranger or guide. An averagely fit hiker might walk the trail in around 2-3 hours.
1715 Trail, campground, and viewpoint
The highest point along the park’s main route, at 1715 meters above sea level, is a view point. Many passing motorists stop to admire the view and take photographs. A ranger station, a small campground, and a toilet/bathroom are all located in the lookout area. People who bring their own tent can camp in the designated area. There are no tents for hire, and there are no restaurants within walking distance. Behind the ranger building, there is a long trek. To begin, the trail generally follows mountain ridges, gradually descends, crosses a few streams, and eventually terminates at a few communities near the park’s edge. We only logged 1.9 kilometers of this trail on our last visit, which is shown on the map. The trail is wide and clear for the most part.
Km 30 Lan Du Dao Viewpoint and campsite
Around 5 kilometers east of the headquarters is an overlook with a new campground. In this campground area, there are only toilet/shower facilities and ranger buildings. There are no tents for hire, and there are no restaurants nearby. Restaurants, stores, and cafes used to be located here, but they have all been demolished. Tents are only accessible from October to December and can be reserved by calling the visitor center, though not too far ahead of time.