2015 - North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Day 1, 2

North-Eastern (I-San) Thailand and Laos, 16 Nov to 10 Dec 2015 (25days)
L-R: Chew Leng Soon, Chan Meng Fye, Chia Chai Ling, Ching Neng Bin

Day 01 (16 Nov) AirAsia AK 856 KUL. 12.45pm to Chiang Mai (1,738km)

It was a 2 hour 45 minute flight from KLIA2 to Chiang Mai. If by road it is 2,194km in 25 hours. Arrived at Chiang Mai International Airport at 2.30pm. Took a taxi to Chiang Mai bus terminal 3. From here we took the 5.30pm night bus to Loei which was 479km away. Sleeping in the bus.
This was how I packed my backpack by arranging all the items from head-gear to my feet. Don't forget your passport, money, personal medication and the first-aid box.
 
From here we took the 5.30pm night bus to Loei which was 479km away.

Wat Koo Kam beside the Chiang Mai bus terminal 3.

Monks folding red cloth at Wat Koo Kam
The route: KL- Chieng Mai - Loei - Phu Kradueng National Park - Khon Kaen - Kalasin - Sakon Nakhon - Nakhon Phanom - Tha Khaek (Laos) – Nakhon Phanom - Mukdahan – Phu Pha Thoet National Park – Ubon Ratchathani - Pakse - Si Phan Don (both in Laos) - Chong Mek – Ubon Ratchathani - Si Sa Ket - Buri Ram - Nakhon Rachasima – Phimai – Nakhon Rachasima - Bangkok - Prachuat KiriKhan - Hadyai – Butterworth - KL


Day 02 (17 Nov) Chiang Mai to Loei to Phu Kradueng to Khon Kaen (691km)
 

Loei to Phu Kradueng National Park is 80km. We arrived at Loei bus station at 3am. From here we took the 3.45am bus to Pha Nok Khao village arriving at 5.20am for breakfast at 6.30am. At 7am we took a tuktuk to the Phu Kradueng National Park Office to get the park entrance ticket for trekking up the mountain. As all the mountain top chalets and camps were taken up, we had no choice but to trek up and down and moved on to Khon Kaen.

We started trekking at 7.30am for about 3 hours (5.5km) before getting to the mountain top at 10.25am. After a 20 minutes rest with a can of beer Chang, I trekked down at 10.45am arriving at the foothill at 1.10pm for lunch behind the park office. At 3pm we took a songteaw to
Pha Nok Khao village to take the 3.16pm bus to Khon Kean arriving at 5.30pm. Sleeping at Roma Hotel, Khon Kaen
Arrived at Pha Nok Khao village at 5.20am. At 7am we took a tuktuk to the Phu Kradueng National Park Office to get the park entrance ticket for trekking up the mountain plateau.

Scenic view of Phu Kradueng plateau from Pha Nok Khao village.

We had our 6.30am breakfast in this shop where the bus stopped at 5.20am.


How to get here - From Khon Kaen or Loei take a local bus going to Phu Kradung district. Get off at Pha Nok Khao village where there is a 5 km road to the park headquarters. Normally there are pickup trucks running this stretch.

Phu Kradueng National Park Office to get the park entrance ticket (TB200 pp) for trekking up the mountain plateau.

The Phu Kradueng park is largely covered with seasonal tropical rain forest and ever green forests.

Tents and porters can be arranged at the Phu Kradueng park office located at the foot of the mountain and at the top.

It was a 5,450m trek to the mountain top of Phu Kradueng.

At this trail entrance check-point is 800m to Pang Kok Ka. It is a 9.5km distance from the base of the mountain to the camp ground and office at the top of the mountain. (5.5km to the mountain top and the final 4km is a walk on the plateau to reach the park headquarters and the camping ground.

There are some mammals including elephant and barking deer, and many bird species in this deciduous dipterocarp forest.

























































Villagers have set up food and drink stalls at Sam Haek along the climb.




I met the local trekkers: Ms.Pond and Mr.Top.  email: pond.sakulnamarka@gmail.com











The orderly ants trail.

Villagers have set up food and drink stalls at Sam Bon.

This is how they carry a person up or down the mountain.


















This is the Park Rangers accommodation at Sam Kok Done.

This is the last area where you can buy food and drinks along the climb.
The wild flowers in Phu Kradueng.

From here it was the toughest 1,300m trek up to the Mountain Top with so many step ladders. From here is the hill evergreen forest.



At the elephant rock.





Very strong porters, both female & male.

Yes, I am at the Mountain Top after 3hours of trekking.

Trails showing temple & waterfalls on the plateau of Phu Kradueng. You actually need to stay 2 nights up here to cover it. Booking has to been done with Thailand National Park office.


At the top of Phu Kradueng 1,288m as a conqueror.

Ms.Pond and Mr.Top. Many couples use this trail to prove their love if they could conquer Phu Kradueng will have a steady married life.

The trek takes 3 to 6 hrs. On the plateau visitors have 50 km of marked trails to cliffs, waterfalls and meadows. Expedition into the deep forest where large animals exist should be accompanied by a guide provided by the park office.


The region receives heaviest rain in October and there is almost no rain during December to February. The park is closed from June to August because of intense pressure on the environment by the visitors. Most popular months are October to January when the park can be crowded on weekends.


The 60 square kilometers (mountain top) plateau is a savanna of pines, oak, beech, etc.




View from the mountain top.

Located in the north eastern province of Loei, the park is one of Thailand's most romantic spots. The 1288 meters high mountain might have received its name Phu Kradung from its bell like shape (kradung means bell in Thai).


After a 20 minute rest with a large can of Beer Chang and some Nestle crunch wafer, I trekked down at 10.45am arriving at the foothill at 1.10pm. I took a shower and changed to dry cloths before taking our lunch behind the park office.

All the way down the mountain to the foot-hill.

One photo for the album after the climb.

Immediately after descending Phu Kradueng we had lunch at the park office food stall and then took a bus to Khon Kaen.

Roma Hotel in Khon Kaen.



The 3Cs in a room taking a good rest at Roma Hotel, Khon Kaen.












Click below to view:
Day 01 (16.11.15) AirAsia AK 856 KUL. 12.45pm to Chiang Mai, (1738km)
Day 02 (17 Nov) Chiang Mai to Loei to Phu Kradueng to Khon Kaen (691km)
Day 03 (18 Nov) Khon Kaen City walk around
Day 04 (19 Nov) Khon Kaen City to Kalasin (80km)
Day 05 (20 Nov) Kalasin to Sakon Nakhon (129km)

Day 06 (21 Nov) Sakon Nakhon to Nakhon Phanom (92km)
Day 07 (22 Nov) Nakhon Phanom - day trip to Thakhek, Laos (62km)
Day 08 (23 Nov) Nakhon Phanom to Mukdahan (125km)
Day 09 (24 Nov) Mukdahan - trip to Phu Pha Thoet National Park (108km)
Day 10 (25 Nov) Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (194km)

Day 11 (26 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse to Si Phan Don, Laos (291km)
Day 12 (27 Nov) Si Phan Don - a long walk to Somphamit Waterfall
Day 13 (28 Nov) Si Phan Don to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (291km)
Day 14 (29 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Si Sa Ket by van (67km)
Day 15 (30 Nov) Si Sa Ket to Buri Ram by train (148km)

Day 16 (01 Dec) Buri Ram - day visit to 3 places (219km)
Day 17 (02 Dec) Buri Ram to Nakhon Ratchasima by train (129km)
Day 18 (03 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima - day trip to Phimai (120km)
Day 19 (04 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok by train (264km)
Day 20 (05 Dec) Bangkok - Chao Phraya River boat ride to Khaosan Road

Day 21 (06 Dec) Bangkok - rest day and dinner at Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Day 22 (07 Dec) Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan by train (320km)
Day 23 (08 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan
Day 24 (09 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan to Hatyai by night train (660km)
Day 25 (10 Dec) Hatyai to Butterworth by train and to KL by bus (555km)
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