:: If ask me to rank the most beautiful mountain in Thailand which suits for beginners, I have to say "Khao Chang Phuak", Amphoe Thong Pha Phoom, Kanchanaburi.
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:: 10 things to know before backpack at Khao Chang Phuak
Table of contents:
Khao Chang Phuak
10 things to know before backpack at Khao Chang Phuak
:: Actually there are many methods to go to Khao Chang Phuak but what I would like to recommend is ...
To use your personal vehicle and invite 3 - 4 friends joining the journey would be great.
Because they would share the expense since the beginning to the end of the trip. LOL
But to make it really work is to hitchhike. Thai people are deadly generous!
Just kidding, haha!!
:: Distance from Bangkok to Pilok village (starting point to go on foot) is almost 400 km.
You can search for direction at your convenience. Along the way, you can switch with friends to drive.
Without much effort, we take around 5 - 6 hours to arrive. If you are a fast driver, 4 hours is also possible.
However, please be careful.
:: The route from Bangkok to Amphoe Thong Pha Phoom is very convenient. If your vehicle requires LPG or NGV, you can store here.
Because there is no gas station on the hill. After this, the road will be full of tough curves.
The previous trip was f_cking bad. The road is extremely rough. Some part of the way is broken. Falling down would meet only abyss and abyss.
Most of the way is slipped because forest in that area is so plentiful that the branches spread into the road.
Let's say the 60 km. distance from Amphoe Thong Pha Phoom to Pilok village requires more than an hour to arrive. If you are a car lover, it can take up to 2 hours.
:: Before entering in the village, you have to park at Thong Pha Phoom National Park in order to acknowledge conditions and pay the fees.
(We have to book 7 days in advance according to national park's requirement.) The main charges are entrance fee, tent fee and leading fee. Approximate charges are as per below;
1. Entrance of national park 30 THB
2. Entry of vehicle 40 THB
3. Tent 30 THB
4. Leading fee 1200 THB (for 10 people)
5. Carrying bags 1100 THB per person (2 days 1 night)
Personally I deduct carrying fee because climbing Khao Chang Phuak is not that tough. Carrying own bags is more proud.
:: After seeing all costs, do you think you should come alone or invite friends?
Let me calculate the expense roughly before climbing Khao Chang Phuak.
In order to know estimate budget with condition of 10 people, according to national park's requirement.
1. Gasoline (LPG) : Average for round trip is 700 km. (2.5 THB per km.). The cost is 1750 THB. Make it round at 2000 THB. There are 5 persons in a car, 400 THB per person (must have personal car).
2. Entrance fee 30 THB per person
3. Tent fee 30 THB per person
4. Entry fee for vehicle 40 THB per car : Divided by 5 persons = 8 THB per person (Actually don't have to share.)
5. Leading fee by staff 1200 THB per 10 people = 120 THB per person
6. Average provisions per day 100 THB (for 2 days) = 200 THB
7. Miscellaneous cost 200 THB per person
Sum all numbers together, we will see expense for this short trip
Okay, let's calculate budget for Khao Chang Phuak trip.
:: 400 + 30 + 30 + 8 + 120 + 200 + 200 ::
----- Total expense is 888 THB. (eight hundred eighty eight Baht) -----
Haha, how is it? Are you stunned?!
(In case the car consumes fuel, the cost would be plus/minus 1000 THB. Not more than this.)
:: From national park to Pilok village is not too long as it is only 10 km far.
Around 2 - 3 km. before reaching the village, there is a scenery point called "Nern Chang Suk".
If you have time, please stop by. Make a left turn.
The road is not in a good condition because that area used to be rock mine. The way is full of rocks. I mean real rocks.
Anyway, you will know upon visiting the place. Distance from main road to Nern Chang Suk is 3 km.
:: As my car is old, it cannot go up the hill. There is a long steep part.
My car really can't climb up. So, we have to park and hitchhike instead.
:: At highest peak, you can see the whole village and panoramic view of the mountains. Very stunning.
Previously this area is used to be fortress of soldiers while there was a war. It is counted as a great stronghold.
There is a thick fog when we visit. Therefore, the view is not perfectly clear.
But still worthwhile to go as it is the first nice view of the trip.
:: Upon reaching Pilok village, we have to find parking space because entrance of village is not suitable to park a car.
I would recommend to go slightly further and park in front of a school. If you are not serious, parking beside sideways is also okay.
Then gather bags getting ready to climb mountain ridge.
:: There are few old shops inside Pilok village where tourists can find breakfast or hot coffee before going up the mountain.
For food, I recommend Noi's restaurant but chilling place should be Ant's one (Coffee in Pilok).
Have a try and you won't regret.
:: Finishing from personal business, it's time to get ready.
There is one big shop in village which is meeting location of tourists and national park staffs.
This shop also supplies necessary stuffs and provisions. When everyone's ready, we go to meet with staff.
Also, bring card received from national park to show to staff in order to confirm on what we have agreed.
And when everything's ready, the journey begins...
Khao Chang Phuak
:: After this point will be atmosphere of the journey on Khao Chang Phuak representing through my camera. Let the photos describe itself...
:: Average time in climbing the hill for general tourists is 4 hours.
Distance of first part is approximately 7 km. The initial place we are going is "base camp".
Upon reaching to base camp, we find right location to set up tent.
I would suggest to find a low mound since the wind blows strongly at night. In some months, it is too windy to sleep.
And don't be afraid of not seeing the fog. On Khao Chang Phuak, you will definitely, like 1000%, see it.
:: During this time, we are no allowed to mount further. So, we have wait to for staff until the right time.
At 4.00PM, staff brings us to significant point which is "San Kom Meed", "Lung Chang" and "The Peak of Khao Chang Phuak".
This is the second part of the journey which is a memorably short distance of 1.5 km...
" San Kom Meed "
" Lung Chang "
:: I would recommend to bring your own light. Just in case of emergency that you climb down from the second part later than usual.
It might be too dark to see the way. However, we try to make it as fast as possible for our own safety.
After the second part (San Kom Meed, Lung Chang and the peak of Khao Chang Phuak), some group eat food they have prepared earlier or some freshly cook at that moment.
May I not recommend about about that. It's depended on skills and leftover energy of each group.
Let's say spending the time worthwhile like it's the last day of your life.
:: Normally the staff would mount down since early morning, 7.00AM on average.
Tourists, in general, take 3 hours to walk back the same way.
Upon reaching Pilok village, if you wanna travel further, there are places to go.
And the important attraction of this city is "Somsak Mining" and "Jok Ka Din Waterfall".
At this point, I wish travel happily, stay in carefulness...
And get home safely.
10 things to know before backpack at Khao Chang Phuak;
1. Khao Chang Phuak is approximately 1249 meters high from the sea level and receives only 60 tourists per day.
2. Distance of walking from beginning to the peak of mountain is 8.5 km.
3. This hill is easy to walk and suits for beginners. Only you have passion and courage.
4. There are 2 periods suitable for visiting in a year. First period is season's beginning as the whole mountain is in rich green. Another moment is at the end of season when the mountain is in golden yellow. However, opening period is based on national park's meeting in each year. Opening period in 2014 is at beginning of November to end of January, in following year.
5. The mountain is not suitable for kids, pregnant women and elderly people.
6. Strong people would take only 3 hours to climb up and 2 hours for climbing down which is not necessary to stay overnight on hills. However, the national park does not allow to do so. Saying it's about safety of tourists is not completely yes. It's somehow relating with national park's management as well?
7. There was once tourist going up the hill without permission. When came back to the ground, he had to pay fine of 500 THB.
8. Tour agencies hire villagers in requesting for approval to access, with national park, since 6.00 - 7.00AM. So, that's the reason why individuals can't book on weekends.
9. AIS mobile signal can be found the whole way while DTAC is available only base camp area. And True can be found just on the peak point.
10. Khao Chang Phuak is not popular to foreign tourists because there's nothing to do on the mountain.
Reviewed by : PhuwanartThana