Phu Kradueng is a famous national park in northern Thailand. The highlight of the park is it’s mountain, at the top of which is a beautiful, cool plateau famous for it’s wildlife and waterfalls.
Why visit Phu Kradueng?
Phu Kradueng is famous throughout Thailand for it’s beauty and cool and comfortable climate. Climbing the mountain is a rite of passage for many young Thais, and spending a night at the top of the mountain is a great way to get away from the bustle of the cities and escape the tropical heat.
If you are a nature lover or a hiker, and if you want to explore the natural beauty of Thailand, then Phu Kradueng is a great option.
Getting to Phu Kradueng
Phu Kradueng National Park is located in the Northern region of Thailand. The easiest way to get to Phu Kradueng is by bus. Take a bus to Pha Nok Khao and then take the local bus (Song Thaeo) to the National Park.
How to climb Phu Kradueng
If you plan to hike up and down Phu Kradueng as a day trip (like I did) then it is imperative to start hiking at sunrise. Another alternative is to camp at the campground at the plateau on the mountain, however it is still probably advisable to start out early.
You can camp at the base of the mountain near the park entrance. There is an abundance of food stalls at the base of the mountain and many of them also have camping gear to rent. You can stay overnight here, so that you can start out bright and early.
Once you pay your entrance fee you can start your hike to the top. It is 9km’s to the top of the mountain and it generally takes people about 3 – 4 hours. Most of the walk is at a fairly forgiving incline. It’s mostly just a really long hike up a hill, until the last 1300 meters which suddenly gets very steep. This section of the mountain has ladders and steps to help climbers. You don’t have to have any mountain climbing expertise to make it to the summit of this mountain.
There are several rest areas along the path up the mountain. Each rest stop is more or less 400 – 500 meters from each other, with the exception of the first rest stop which is 1 km from the starting point. There are food vendors located at each rest stop.
The most popular time to hike the mountain is during the winter. I did the hike in the summer which is the low season, and because of this, hardly any of the rest stops actually had any vendors set up there. Luckily, we bought enough water for our hike from the vendors at the bottom of the mountain.
At the top of Phu Kradueng
When the finally reach the top of the mountain you will have to take the customary photos with the Phu Kradueng Conqueror sign.
There is a campsite at the top and also plenty of places to eat. Luckily, these places were mostly open even during the low season.
The top of Phy Kradueng is a large plateau and there are 50 km of marked trails to cliffs, waterfalls and meadows. We were only visiting the mountain on a day trip, so we went to see only two of the waterfalls before we had to head back down the mountain.
You can see a variety of wild animals on the mountain. The most common are deer (which are strangely unafraid of humans), elephants, mountain crabs, and my arch nemesis…. leeches (also, not at all afraid of humans… unfortunately).