Doi Phahompok, Chiang Mai province, Thailand

Doi Phahompok – The mountain top

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Doi Phahompok (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติดอยผ้าห่มปก) is the second highest mountain in Thailand (2,285 MSL) located in Chiang Mai province, not far from Fang city. It is not too popular among tourists – usually only locals go there. In order to reach the mountain top, it is necessary to use 4WD or a motorbike. The road is dirt and very challenging. One time I went up on my faithful 125 cc Honda Sonic (just take a look at photos, how dusty the road is!) and another time I went on the back of a local’s pick up truck. Outside of the season (the season goes from December until February) almost nobody comes here.

Before reaching the camp site, it is worth taking a small detour to the left, a little bit after the ticket booth (ticket for foreigners – 400 baht, about 9 euro, ticket for Thais  – 40 baht, about 1 euro) in order to see the Huai Bon cave. The cave entrance is rather small, but the cave goes on for 324 m and the corridor is anything between 2 and 25 m wide. Inside the cave, one can find many interesting rock formations, not to mention the abundance of stalactites and stalagmites. There are no lights whatsoever inside the cave so it is necessary to bring your own torch (flashlight). There are few other smaller caves in the area, but there are no signs pointing their exact location. Rarely people come to visit Huai Bon cave – I was the only visitor there. After seeing the cave, it is time to move on.

By going up, we reach a camp ground – the highest in Thailand (1,924 MSL). One can easily rent a tent. During the season, there is also a working restaurant here. There is a 3.5 km trail that allows us to reach the mountain top. The trail goes up almost all the time and can be challenging for some. The park rangers said that it takes about 2 hours to reach the summit. For me, as I am an experienced hiker, it took only one hour. First time I woke up at 4 am to reach the summit for the sunrise at 6 am, but instead I have reached the peak at 5 am and I waited over one hour for the sunrise (at that time I was also the only tourist – really the only one who was spending a night there). The second time I knew that it will take me only 1 hour to reach the summit so I started my hike later.

“Doi Phahompok” means “mountain with a flat top” and so it is – the top offers great views in all directions. The peak has 2,285 MSL, so in the morning we are above the clouds and the rising sun comes out of the sea of clouds. When we look to the west, we can see the border with Myanmar (Burma, and further into the country) and military outposts on the mountain tops. A little to the southwest one can see Doi Ang Khang (which I covered in the previous posts) if the weather is clear enough.

Doi Phahompok National Park offers other attractions nearby – famous hot springs and few waterfalls. I will cover these in the next post.

On the way I have made a stop at one temple, which houses the 300 year old wooden Buddha image – it is quite unique, and therefore, worth seeing.

Don’t forget to check out the second post about Doi Phahompok National Park by clicking here.

Doi Phahompok National Park (A – ticket booth, B – Kiew Lom camp ground, C – Fang hot springs)

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