At the Park Headquarters

The Trail to the Mountain

What to do

How to get There



Phu Kradeung National Park is situated in Si Than Sub-District, Phu Kradeung District, Loei Province. The mountain was declared a National Park on November 23rd, 1962, which makes it the second National Park of Thailand. It covers an area of 348 km² with 60 km² of plateau of the top of the mountain.

The elevation of Phu Kradeung is between 400-1200 meters with the summit point of 1316m at Khok Moei. In general, Phu Kradeung consists of sandstone and boasts an abundance of flora and fauna and numerous cliffs, savannas, streams and waterfalls. Phu Kradeung also is the watershed of Lam Nam Phong River, which is one of the most important rivers in Northeastern Thailand.

Due to its high elevation and climatic conditions, the weather on Phu Kradeung is cool all year round. In winter, the temperatures may drop to the freezing point. Thai people are fascinated by this, so Phu Kradeung is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. In fact, every Thai should conquer Phu Kradeung at least once in his life.

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At the Park Headquarters

Park EntranceAt the Park Headquarters, which is located at the foot of the mountain, you can buy everything you need for the trail. There are several restaurants which sell warm food, but also snacks and drinks. You can also buy hats and scarfs made from wool, which may be necessary for cold nights in winter, but actually they are also a nice souvenir.

Equipment Rental

There are three important things to do at the Headquarters. First, you can rent your equipment here, such as tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and pillow. But don’t worry, you don’t have to pick up all that stuff here, instead you only pay here and receive a booking confirmation and pick up the equipment at the Visitor Center on the top of the mountain. You can also book small houses here if you don’t like camping.
Prices are 150 baht/night for a two-person tent and 250 baht/night for a three-person tent. A set consisting of sleeping bag, sleeping mat and pillow costs around 60 baht/night.

Porter Service

One of Phu Kradeung's Super HumansThe second important thing is the porter service. Yes, porter. Like a sherpa in Nepal, these superhumans carry your bags for you for only 10 baht per kilogram. That’s why you will see many Thai people at the camp who seem to have brought their complete household with them. These guys not only carry your bags, but also the supplies for the restaurants on the top of the mountain. You will even see porters carrying heavy gas flasks. Some porters carry up to 75 kg all the way up, you will even see women doing this hard work.
In order to get the porter service, you have to have your bags weighed, then you get a receipt which identifies your bag. When you reach the Visitor Center on the top of the mountain, you can pick up your bad when you show your receipt. You also pay the porter when you pick up your stuff.

Entrance Fee

The last step, and the most unpopular, is the entrance fee, which you pay on exiting the grounds of the Park Headquarters. The entrance fee policy is, as usual in Thailand, a bit discriminating against foreign visitors: Thai people pay 20 baht, foreigners pay 200 baht.

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The Trail to the Mountain

Map of the trail - click to enlargeThe total distance from the foot of the mountain to the Visitor Center and the campground is around 9200 meters, of which 3800 meters are flat. There are numerous “pitstops” on the way up where you have the chance to get some food and re-stock your water supplies.

The first 1000 meters after the Park Headquarters are quite steep, climbing 250 meters. After reaching Sam Haek, the trail gets easier. 700 meters are almost flat before it gets steeper again. But still, the following 2400 meters are not that hard. Some segments of the trail are several meters wide and constructed like a staircase, others get steep and narrow.

The final 1300 meters are the hardest part. The trails gets very steep again, some inclines are covered by stairs made from steel which are very steep. But in order to put it into perspective: if a 60-kg-guy carrying 75 kgs on his shoulders can manage to climb this path, then why shouldn’t you be able to do the same without all the weight?

After reaching the top, most visitors stop to take photos, since a photo with the sign greeting the proud conqueror of the mountain makes a pretty good souvenir. From this point on, the path to the Visitor Center is almost flat, with just minor changes in elevation. A true relief after the steep trail on the way up. The landscape changes from forest to savannah with only scattered trees.

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What to see


Flora & Fauna

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How to get there

By car

Follow Highway No. 1 out of Bangkok. Change to Highway No. 2 near Saraburi, then turn left to road no. 201 in Pak Chong District. Follow the road through Chaiyaphum, turn left in Chumpae to road no. 12 and the right again onto road no. 201 in Phu Pha Man district. Turn left into road no. 2019 in Pha Nok Khao district to reach the park. The distance from Bangkok is roughly 470 km.

By bus

The the Bangkok-Loei bus at the Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mor Chit 2) and get off at Pha Nok Khao or Phu Kradeung Bus Terminal. Then take the local bus (Songthaew) to the park.
The one-way fare is around 380 baht for the 1st class bus and 530 baht for a 24-seat VIP bus. The songthaew fare is 25 baht per person, but you have to wait for a total of 12 passengers on board. If you don’t want to wait, you pay 300 baht for all passengers.

By train

Get on the train at Bangkok’s Hualumphong Railway Station and travel to Khon Kaen. In Khon Kaen, take the bus to Loei and get off at Pha Nok Khao or Phu Kradeung Bus Terminal. Then take the local bus (Songthaew) to the park.

By air

There are daily flights from Bangkok to Khon Kaen and Udon Thani, which are both not too far from Phu Kradeung. From your destination, you can travel to Phu Kradeung by bus or by rental car. AVIS has car rental stations in both Khon Kaen and Udon Thani.

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4 Responses to “Phu Kradeung”

  1. Truly Thaiway ™ » Don’t be closed! Says:

    […] The beauty of good Tinglish amazes me all the time. Amazing Thailand – Truly Thaiway… Seen on Phu Kradueng, Loei province, Thailand […]

  2. Keith Robinson Says:

    Truly Thaiway – Thank you for the information you have provided. I will be going to Amphoe Wang Pla Pom, Tambon Na Wang in Nong Bua Lam Phu in January and want to go via Loei, instead of Udon Thani. This has helped.


  3. lena Says:

    hi there, would like to know approximately how long it takes on average to get up to the mountain. and does it mean we got to take warm clothings as well?
    can u by any chance give a direct contact for us to book and make necessary arrangements as per what u wrote above.
    how much does the porter service charged?
    Also to take train, how long will i take from bangkok?
    Thanks and sorry for the many questions

  4. Carsten Says:

    Lena, it took us 3.5 hrs up to the mountain but I think we were quite slow. The nights can get a bit chilly so I’d advise to bring a sweater.
    Reservations can be made through Thai Department of National Parks
    I haven’t tried the train service, check for timetable of the Northeastern line at Going by bus might be the better (faster and almost direct) choice, check at Bangkok’s Northern bus terminal Morchit.
    Can’t remember the porter fee, sorry.
    When are you planning to go? Some sources state the park is closed from June to October due to rain… I did the trail in October and it was all fine. Keep us posted here, thanks,

    Enjoy your trip… 🙂

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