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A Complete Hiking Guide and 5 Best Things to Do at Phu Chi Fa
Hiking Doi Pha Tang for Sunset
Like most iconic peaks elsewhere in the world, the best view of the batch is normally not at the top of the bill itself but at the top of another high acme nearby where you can actually see the iconic acme from afar, and that is what Doi Pha Tang is .
Located 22 kilometer north from Phu Chi Fa, this balded mountain offers a big vantage point for us to see just how iconic and beautiful Phu Chi Fa is from afar .
Doi Pha Tang is the northern-most extremum of all the peak I will be recommending here so you can see Phu Chi Fa, Phu Chi Dao, and Phu Chi Duen, all in one go at the top of Doi Pha Tang making it the perfect place to start your hiking slip at Phu Chi Fa Forest Park .
You can drive up to Doi Pha Tang ‘s park distribute where the trail head to the circus tent of Doi Pha Tang is located. The trail head starts from the gate shown in the video above and the chase will take you to the top of Doi Pha Tang passing through some very concern landscapes .
As you continue hiking up the trail, around 10 minutes in you will arrive at the beginning vantage point where you will be able to have a sandbag view of Laos and the mighty Mekong River running through the valley that divides Thailand and Laos .
even at the first point of view, the scene is already breathtaking with an unobstructed bird’s-eye see of the lavish green mountains in Laos. From the first vantage point, you will besides be able to see the crown of Doi Pha Tang where we will be heading future .
On your way to the top of Doi Pha Tang, as the drag descends a bit, you will find a courteous collection of rocks dubbed Rock Forest which makes for quite a nice photograph descry before you continue down and improving Doi Pha Tang .
After hiking for about 5 minutes, you will arrive at the top of Doi Pha Tang where you will be able to see the stun Phu Chi Fa in its broad aura from the southerly cliffside .
The scene from Doi Pha Tang, make bold I say, is even prettier than from Phu Chi Fa, specially during sunset where the light casts a shadow on the peaks creating depth allowing you to see good how building complex and beautiful these mountains are .
What is sol impressive about the point of view at Doi Pha Tang is the cliff at the vantage point that drops straight down opening up the view allowing us to the dependable scale of Phu Chi Fa .
From the vantage point, you can see the road as it curves left and mighty along Phu Chi Fa mountainside and climb up onto the ridge. To make it flush more dramatic, I was there during the golden hour which was equitable perfect .
I was up there around 4:50 PM and spent the future hour relax at the point of view and watch as the sunset behind the mountains and the discolor of the sky turned purple. It was quite a sight to behold and decidedly worth the expect. If you can time your raise, be sure to get to the top of Doi Pha Tang before sunset .
As the sunset, I would recommend you make your way down a fast as you can to get to your car and continue on to Phu Chi Fa, where we will be camping for the night .
The rationality why I recommend you to move fast is that I do not recommend driving this mountainous road at night if you can avoid it. The road is reasonably narrow and there are a short ton of sharp turns that will keep you on your toe most of the clock time .
unfortunately, we ca n’t avoid it as we want to watch the sunset so drive lento and safely and you should arrive at Phu Chi Fa Campsite in no prison term .
If you came excessively late and the gate is closed as I did, you can besides camp at another Forest Park campsite near the entrance. They are pretty a lot the same and offer no advantage over one another. The campsite will cost 50 THB per person and if you want to rent a tent, it ‘s around 300 THB for a 3-person tent, sleeping cup of tea, mat, and a pillow .
You wo n’t find any restaurants at Phu Chi Fa campsite indeed I recommend you buy your dinner before you get to the campsite. differently, you can drive around and find a restaurant or a guest theater where they serve food nearby .
Hiking Phu Chi Fa to Sunrise
After spending the night at Phu Chi Fa Forest Park campsite, it is time to tackle the crown jewel and raise Phu Chi Fa. I highly recommend you start your hike 40 minutes before dawn so that you will be at the top on time for the charming hour .
Depending on which calendar month you are visiting Phu Chi Fa, you will likely witness the rare sea of clouds phenomena merely during the winter months from late November to early February .
If you are there during the winter, the sun should rise around 6:30 AM ( check on google ahead barely to be sure ), then wake up at 5:15 AM, do n’t pack anything yet, and drive straight to Phu Chi Fa trailhead which should take about 10 minutes before you arrive at Phu Chi Fa ‘s park distribute where you can get a quick breakfast at the shops there and start hiking at around 5:45 AM .
The hike is all up from beginning to end and it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to climb to the top. If you start hiking at 5:45 AM, you should arrive at the peak by 6:15 AM, equitable in time for you to catch your hint and watch the sunrise from behind the laotian mountains .
Phu Chi Fa is extremely popular among local anesthetic tourists and indeed be prepared for the crowd up there at dawn. If you arrive early, choose a good topographic point for the sunrise before the herd come .
The drag itself started up pretty wide but as you approach the acme, the trail becomes narrower and with the cliffside on your mighty, please be identical careful when you hike the end part specially at night .
The opinion from the top of Phu Chi Fa is decidedly worth all the perspiration. Just like when you were at the top of Doi Pha Tang, you will be able to have a 360° bird’s-eye view of the landscape surrounding the mountain but this time, you will see some lao villages amidst the sea of clouds and the harmonious valley as the sun rises up from behind .
Be sure to wear layers when you are hiking up Phu Chi Fa as it can get very long-winded and cold specially justly before sunrise. I was an hour early on and had to find a rock to shelter from the wind as it got cold and colder the longer I stayed stationary .
After watching the sunrise, you can continue down the same room to the parking distribute, have another breakfast if you must, and continue down to your campsite to pack before driving to our future finish .
Admire the Beauty of Thai Sakura Trees at Banpot Wittaya School
not besides far from Doi Pha Tang is a little local school called Banpot Wittaya School where they have cultivated and grown these beautiful Thai Sakura trees or wild Himalayan red blossoms and they much bloom and turn the entire school pinko around early on January until the end of the month .
If you are visiting Phu Chi Fa during those times, be surely to drop by the educate and check out these stunning trees. When you arrive at the entrance, you will need to take the local pickup hand truck to get to the school. They charge about 20 THB per person as a direction to support the local community and the school which I do n’t mind paying at all .
once you arrive at the acme, you will find the school all covered in these beautiful pink flowers all over. You might even meet and get to interact with some of the local students there .
Visiting the school is a great way to support this remote control community where study is not thus easy to come by. The school opens from 8 AM to 4 PM and the tone arm truck that drops you off will take you back to the parking draw when you are done .
Take the Local 4WD up to Phu Chi Dao
If Phu Chi Fa is a little excessively crowded for you, you might consider going up the other peaks nearby such as Phu Chi Dao, another point of view located fair 7.5 kilometer northeast of Phu Chi Fa where you will be able to see a similar view as from the top of Phu Chi Fa but with way fewer people .
unfortunately, the road to Phu Chi Dao is not paved here sol you will have to hire a local pickup truck that often waits at the al-qaeda of the vertex for 500 THB per one car to take you up there.
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You can split the monetary value with early travelers or you can simply wait with the cartridge truck until you get enough people to contribution the car with. Phu Chi Dao offers a bang-up option for those looking to enjoy the stunning view of the encompassing mountains without the crowd .
Take the Local 4WD up to Phu Chi Duen
Another bang-up point that offers an alternative to Phu Chi Fa and Phu Chi Dao is Phu Chi Duen, a 1,742m high extremum located even further north, halfway between Doi Pha Tang and Phu Chi Fa .
The platform at the vantage point is smaller than at Phu Chi Fa but you will be able to get a similar opinion as early peaks while being able to see both Phu Chi Fa and Doi Pha Tang from afar. At the exceed, you will besides find a beautiful Mexican Sunflower flowers airfield which makes for a stun photograph at sunrise .
The same goes for Phu Chi Duen as the road going up is unpaved and you will have to hire a pickup truck to get you up there for 500 THB per car. When you arrive at the base of the vertex, you will a few pick-up trucks waiting for you .
Which Hike Should I Do at Phu Chi Fa?
personally, I did n’t go up Phu Chi Dao and Phu Chi Duen as I did n’t have enough time but I did spend a lot of time researching about it and many seem to recommend as alternate peaks to Phu Chi Fa and Doi Pha Tang for those looking to avoid crowd .
For regular visitors that good want to spend some time in nature and rise around this outside upland, hiking Doi Pha Tang at sunset and Phu Chi Fa at dawn is more than enough for you to enjoy the dependable beauty of Phu Chi Fa .
When to Hike Phu Chi Fa
The best time to hike Phu Chi Fa is from November to January where the weather is cooler and less humid due to Thai ‘s northern climate increasing the find of you seeing the sea of clouds in the dawn .
January is besides recommended as you will be able to see the Thai Sakuras bloom turning an entire sphere pink which lone happens during this fourth dimension of the year .
That said, Thailand in late years has suffered a batch from air travel contamination due to the burn temper and it is extremely prevailing during Thailand ‘s winter period ( December – January ) so evening though the weather is cool, your visibility might not be the best. Be sure to buy a boldness masquerade if you decided to visit Thailand during this time .
March – April is the hot and humid period of the year so if you ca n’t handle heat identical well, avoid visiting during this time. The air quality may be a bite better during this clock time but it ‘s not guaranteed .
All the other months are considered to be a showery season which, even though the weather is a little more manageable than the summer months, you will besides be seeing a lot more rain which might prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. Air quality during this prison term should be better due to rain .
As you can see, the best time to visit Thailand used to be during its winter BUT now that the air travel quality is getting bad and worst, you will have to decide which is more important to you as a traveler, commodity weather but bad air quality or frailty versa .
How to Get to Phu Chi Fa
Phu Chi Fa is located within Chiang Rai province in Northern Thailand and in order to travel there, you will first have to get yourself to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand .
thankfully, Bangkok is one of the largest hub in the area, you should have no trouble finding a flight from your home country to Suvarnabhumi International Airport .
From the US, unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Bangkok so you will have to rely on passage flights by Emirates, Qatar, or Turkish Airlines from the East Coast or ANA Airlines or Korean Air from the West Coast .
From Europe, you can fly from most popular european hubs like London, Paris, or Frankfurt via Thai Airways or local carriers like British Airways, Air France, or Lufthansa to Bangkok, and then you can fly domestically to Chiang Mai. You can besides go with Etihad, Qatar, or Emirates if you do n’t mind transiting .
From within Asia, there are several low-cost airlines offering several routes from many hub cities like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Jakarta to Bangkok. AirAsia is a great option as they have the most connection to Bangkok from around Asia .
To find a brassy flight to Bangkok, I would recommend you use Skyscanner or Expedia to look for the cheapest road and agenda so you can compare and pick the best one .
Looking for a complete change of location guide to Bangkok ? 15 Best Things to Do in Bangkok
Getting From Bangkok to Chiang Rai
once you arrive in Bangkok, you will then have to travel to Chiang Rai and there are several ways you can so as follows :
By Air: This is the fastest manner to get to Chiang Rai. You can get a domestic flight from Don Muang Airport to Chiang Rai for 1000 THB. There are several flights per day from AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Thai Smile, and Thai Vietjet Air. You can script the trajectory from Bangkok to Chiang Rai here > .
By Bus: If you are not in a rush, you can besides take the bus from Bangkok to Chiang Rai which will take you about 11 hours and monetary value around 600 THB. There are around 5 buses per day and you can koran the bus here : Book a bus topology from Bangkok to Chiang Rai .
By Car: You can besides rent a car straight from Bangkok ‘s Airports. Keep in mind that Chiang Rai is about 800 km away from Bangkok and you are looking at an 11 hours drive so I would only recommend this if you are traveling to Chiang Rai as separate of a bigger trip in Thailand. Click the radio link below to rent a car :
Rent a car in Bangkok
Getting From Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fa
By Motorbike: If you are looking to rent a motorcycle in Chiang Rai to drive to Phu Chi Fa, you can rent one from the K Buddy Bike for 300 THB per day. Their motorbikes are in great condition and you have many choices of scooters to pick from .
By Car: There is no public transportation system from Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fa so you will have to rent a vehicle from Chiang Rai and drive there. Phu Chi Fa is around 90 km aside from Chiang Rai City and it will take you about 2 hours to drive up to Phu Chi Fa .
You can rent a car immediately from Chiang Rai Airport for around 700 – 1500 THB. All you need is a valid drive license and around 5,000 THB for situate. To rent a cable car in Chiang Rai, click the connection below :
Rent a car in Chiang Rai
Getting From Chiang Mai to Phu Chi Fa
Phu Chi Fa is over 320 km aside from Chiang Mai and driving such a long distance with a minibike, specially on a Thai road is not recommended indeed I would recommend you either travel to Chiang Rai and rent there following the instructions under “ Getting From Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fa ” part and lease a motorbike from Chiang Rai or rent a car straight from Chiang Mai .
By Car: Renting a car and driving yourself is the best way to travel from Chiang Mai to Phu Chi Fa and you can rent one uncoiled from Chiang Mai Airport for around 700 – 1500 THB per day. All you need is a valid drive license and around 5,000 THB for the deposit. To rent a car in Chiang Mai, click the liaison below :
Rent a car in Chiang Mai
How to Get Around Phu Chi Fa
By Car: Before we can hike Phu Chi Fa and the surrounding peaks, we will have to get to the trailheads and can only be reached by car so you will need to rent one before embarking on the travel. The roads are by and large paved so there is no need for you to rent a 4WD to travel to Phu Chi Fa .
By Hiking: Once you arrive at each designated park distribute, you will have to hike along one of the many hike trails that will take you to the viewpoints. The trails are n’t long and that unmanageable so anyone can hike them no trouble .
How Many Days To Spend at Phu Chi Fa?
Given that you leave early the day before and arrive at Phu Chi Fa before 4 PM, spending 2 days ( 1 night ) at Phu Chi Fa is more than adequate to complete this path. here is a approximate travel plan for 2 days at Phu Chi Fa :
Day 0: Drive to Phu Chi Fa, raise Doi Pha Tang for sunset, and camp at Phu Chi Fa forest park .
Day 2: Wake up early and hike Phu Chi Fa at sunrise. Check out the Thai Sakura at Doi Chi Fa or Banpot Wittaya School, before heading back down to Chiang Mai .
How Much Money Do I Need For Phu Chi Fa?
With the rough travel guidebook above, we can calculate approximately how a lot you will be spending at Phu Chi Fa for 2 days as follows :
Accommodation: For 1 night of camping at Phu Chi Fa Forest Park, you can expect to pay around 10 USD (309 THB) for accommodation .
Food: Food costs about 50 THB minimum in Chiang Rai on average so you can expect to pay around 300 THB for 2 full days .
Transportation: if we go with renting a motorbike for 3 days, you will be spending around 1,000 THB + 500 THB for gas for department of transportation .
Activities: It is free to enter Phu Chi Fa Forest Park so you will be paying 0 THB for activities .
Total Budget for 2 days at Phu Chi Fa: 2,109 THB (68.38 USD)
Is Phu Chi Fa Hike Difficult?
No, not at all. The trail to the top of Phu Chi Fa takes only 20 minutes to hike and anyone, even if they do n’t exercise regularly, can do it. The lead may seem like it is going up a lot but it is not besides steep and it goes up for merely around 1 kilometer before you arrive at the top. Take it slow and you will arrive at the top in no time .
The lapp goes for the hikes at Doi Pha Tang. In fact, it is evening easier here as the abruptness of the raise are well-distributed throughout the length of the drag and there are more stops where you can rest and catch your breath at Doi Pha Tang than Phu Chi Fa so you should have no trouble hiking these 2 recommended trails here .
Is it Safe at Phu Chi Fa?
Like most off-the-beaten-path destinations in Thailand, Phu Chi Fa is very dependable to travel to. The locals are supernumerary friendly as there do n’t normally get a batch of tourists and you will improbable find scammers or touters like other places in Thailand .
That said, you will be driving up and down steep and narrow mountainous roads so be extra careful when you are driving to Phu Chi Fa. I highly recommend you use a abject gear ( D1, D2, D3, or L ) to give your car enough office to climb up the steep road and be peculiarly careful when turning around arch roads .
DO NOT drive up to Phu Chi Fa using the road from the north! That road is not in good circumstance and they are highly extremely STEEP .
I made the mistake of driving up that road at night and there were times when I was n’t surely if the break would be enough to hold my car from sliding down the batch. Yup, it is that steep !
Drive up the road from the south rather of where the Phu Chi Fa Forest Park gate is located. The road here is good paved and the road is not ampere poor as the one from the north .
And since you will be driving on Thai roads, it is my duty as a Thai to warn you that we are not the best drivers in the universe. The roads are bang-up throughout but we sometimes do drive like maniacs so make certain to be extra careful when you are on the road .
Drive slowly but surely and you should be able to get up Phu Chi Fa in no time. other than driving safety, you should have no trouble exploring Phu Chi Fa at your own leisure .
Internet in Thailand
There are 3 major carriers in Thailand, AIS, DTAC, and True, all of which offer a reasonably exchangeable image of traveler ‘s packages a well as coverages. I personally use AIS as I have been with them since my beginning call and they have a distribute of Support Center around Thailand and their coverage has n’t failed me however indeed if you are looking for a authentic carrier, I can recommend AIS .
There are 3 packages for tourists, 5 GB for 5 days at 160 THB, 15 GB for 8 days at 299 THB, and 30 GB for 15 days. Depending on how long your trip to Thailand will be, you can pick one of these 3 packages that fit your travel plan the most .
With these 3 packages, you can top-up more in case you need more data or calls for your trip. More frequently than not, 5 GB is more than adequate for me to travel around Thailand for a month .
For more information about Thailand’s local sim card: Thailand ‘s Prepaid Data Sim Card .
Tips: To stay connected with your love ones at home, be certain to have a VPN service like NordVPN installed before traveling so that you can bypass whatever local Internet censoring you might run into while in Thailand .
What to Pack for Phu Chi Fa
As you know, I am a light traveler and tamp down light for a trip like this is an art in and of itself. here are a few tips on what to pack for your slip to Chiang Rai, Thailand :
See My Packing number : 60 Travel Essentials
Don’t forget to Get Travel Insurance
If you are looking for travel indemnity to go along with your trip to Chiang Rai, Thailand, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure .
Get a quotation mark from World Nomads
Further Reading for Northern Thailand
Looking for more information for your stumble to Northern Thailand ? here is a collection of articles about Thailand that you might find utilitarian :