Phu Chi Fa Forest Park

Phu Chi Fa can be reached driving north from Chiang Kham taking a couple of hours, or east from Chiang Rai taking up to 3 hours. The road from the base of the mountain is good, but steep and winding. The journey should only be attempted in a vehicle with a high capacity motor. You will not make it up the mountain in a small city car. From the bottom of the mountain you drive up the steep winding road to reach Pu Chi Fa. Prepare to stay at least the first half day and a night and return the next day allowing at least 3 hours return drive before darkness.

You can also take a bus from Chiang Rai bus station on Prasapsook Road. It usually departs at 7am and also one at 1pm. But you should check the day before. Ask at the ticket counter "prung-ni   pai   poo-see-far  krap" - tomorrow go to Phu Chi Fa  (polite particle male speaker).

If you drive, depart Chiang Rai City heading south on Phaholyothin Road which then crosses over highway 1 and continue on highway 1020. Drive to Thoeng on highway 1020 and continue on driving straight (do not turn left into 1020 at Thoeng). You will be on highway 1021 after passing Thoeng.  Drive for 6 kilometers until you reach highway 1155 and turn left into highway 1155. Drive on highway 1155 for about 25 kilometers and then veer right into highway 1093 watching out for signs for Pu Chi Fa.  The total distance from Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fa is 122 kilometers. Purchase a map before departing Chiang Rai and you should have a GPS SatNav (optional hire when renting a car).

At Pu Chi Fa from the main road starting at 5am, for about 20 Baht each person, passenger vehicles with bench seats in the back take you to the top of the mountain up a very steep road to the base carpark.

You can reach the mountain top by walking up the steep path where several viewing spots overlook Laos. The early morning sunrise displays a magnificent sea of fog below. It is very cold and can be windy, so bring warm clothes and a jacket and a beany to keep your head and ears warm. Bring a torch for the trek up to the top or you can purchase a little cheap torch from vendors on the way up.

The best time to visit is from October to February. Peak period is mid December to mid January when all the mostly Thai tourists visit. Do not go during Thai public holidays as all the accomodation will be booked out and it will also be very crowded. Search Wikipedia for "Public holidays in Thailand". Booking accomodation can be difficult as it cannot be done on-line and English is not spoken unless you are lucky. Prices can be exorbitant but you can usually find a room or bungalow. There are camping facilities at the end of the town.

I drove to Phu Chi Fa in a rented Toyota diesal pickup truck with my Thai wife. We did not make any booking and she did all the talking. The bungalow cost us 2,500 Baht for the night !!

Click on the gallery photos below.