Phu Kradueng National Park
Located in the far south of Loei, this National Park covers a 60km² plateau which contains huge areas of untouched forest, waterfalls draped in red-and-yellow leaves, a vast array of temperate wildflowers and heavenly sunrises. For those who take the challenge to trek to the summit, the rewards can be breathtaking. The plateau is so high that it enjoys an average annual temperature of 20°C and on the coldest nights, it can drop to freezing.
This National Park is very popular with Thais, so on national holidays and weekends during the cooler months, it can get overrun with busloads of school children who stay overnight.
Start your ascent to the summit before 2pm, or if you are going to start later than this make sure you have torches. Note there are no porters available to hire after 2pm so you will need to carry your own gear. Once up there, you can follow a trail which goes near half a dozen waterfalls and numerous viewpoints, two of which have Buddha images and shrines. Picks of the bunch are the mighty Tat Hong waterfall and Pha Lamsak - a rock ledge that juts out from the mountainside and has a lone pine tree which provides incredible views. You can also walk deep into the lush forests which abound with birds. You should definitely try seeing the beautiful sunrise and sunset here. The park guides offer a free organised trip to see the sunrise at Nok Aan Cliff (1.8km away), setting off from at 5am. A bicycle shop opens at 8am and you can rent them for the day for 360B. If you are there for the weekend or holidays, it’s recommended you get there for the opening time if you haven’t already booked the bicycle.
When To Go
The best period to visit this park is April and May when there is an abundance of wildflowers, but October is the prime time to see the waterfalls. The Park is closed to the public from June to September for visitor safety and forest rejuvenation. November and December are the months for those wishing to see the maple trees shedding their leaves from green to red.
You should be reasonably fit to hike up the 6km track to the summit plateau at 1,316m. It takes on average about 4 hours to make the climb and most visitors stay for at least two nights.
A visitor centre is located at the base of the mountain where English- speaking staff will provide you with English maps, information on birds and wildlife. They will also arrange your accommodation at the top from the choice of tents or cabins. Before you set out, there are plenty of food vendors near the car park, with basic food and drinks on sale at every kilometre along the trail. There is also a much welcomed Thai restaurant at the top. *TIP* - Start your trek up to the plateau in the early morning when the weather is much cooler. If you are carrying a lot of luggage, porters can be hired to carry some of it up the mountain for 30B per kilo. Entry: 400B/200B (Adult/Child) Open: October 1st to May 31st (Gates at the base) 8:00am - 3:00pm Tel: +66 42871333 or +66 25614292 Address: Moo 1, Tambon Sri base, Phu Kradueng, Loei Getting Here: See the Info section in the app.