Doi Pha Hom Pok
Although one of the lesser-known national parks in Thailand, this immaculately maintained, beautiful rugged park, which boasts amazing hot springs as well the second highest mountain in Thailand, continually receives rave reviews by those who go there. There is much to do and see here, and we suggest you allocate sufficient time to properly explore what’s on offer. The Fang Hot Springs, which is probably the most well-known feature of the park, is spread over an area of ten-acres, near to the HQ and visitor's centre. The highlight here is a spectacular geyser which gushes out hot sulphur water some 30 metres into the air every 30 minutes and lasts for 9 minutes in duration. You can take a dip in the hot (50°C) outdoor sauna - 20B for as long as you like - and you might want to join in the popular local activity of boiling eggs, although we do not recommend eating them. There are also private spa baths which cost 50B per person for a 30-minute bathe. Be careful of 'out of bounds springs' as the temperatures can reach 80°C. The grounds around the visitor centre are spotlessly landscaped, and the well-organised and informative visitor centre will provide you with English pamphlets, along with maps and details of the wildlife that abounds in the area. Bird watchers can hire binoculars. This area also contains a beauty salon, a Thai Massage parlour, a coffee shop and bakery and an official office where you have to book hikes along nature trails and your treks into the mountains. The nature treks last around two-hours and usually include a cave and a waterfall. For the more adventurous, you can arrange a trek to the top of Doi Pha Pok - an altitude of 2,285m. This hike can be achieved in a day - partly walking and partly by 4wd vehicle, but we strongly suggest that you stay overnight at one of the camp sites located below the summit. This is in order to catch the breath-taking sunrise. The summit can be reached from the campsite area in a one-hour strenuous hike. If you choose to stay longer in the mountains, another option could be to stay at Doi Pumuen Homestay in a Lahu hill-tribe village, located at an elevation of about 1,300 meters near the national park. Tea, coffee and other crops are grown by villagers who welcome foreign guests to participate in their hill-tribe way of life. It's a 14km hike from the village to the summit of Doi Pha Hom Pok, and there is plenty of other hiking opportunities in the area. Altogether, there are over 500sq km of rugged mountainous terrain in this park, and the mountain ridge runs close to the Burmese border. The mountains are covered in dry deciduous (mainly teak), pine and cloud forests which are shrouded in mist and rich in mosses and ferns. In winter time in particular, the colder mountain climate attracts many species of migratory birds, and all year round there is an abundance of rare orchids, plants and colourful butterflies, that can only be found in this region. Apart from the campsites high up in the mountains, the only other accommodation available are the chalets which are located on a hill behind the visitors' centre. They come with hot water, A/C and accommodate up to four people for 2,000B per night. Entry: 300B (children 150B) Parking: Bike/motorbike/car, 10B/20B/30B Open: 7:30am - 7:00pm. Tel: +66 864309748, +66 53453517 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 224 Moo 6, Pong Nam Ron, Fang, Chiang Mai. Getting Here: From Tha Thon take Route 1089 in a westerly direction and then the right fork onto route 107 which will lead you to the park entrance a distance of about 56km which will take you about 1 hour.