Paul has traveled to many places in Thailand. He has visited the northern mountains, southern beaches, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai.
Our Trip to Phu Thap Boek Mountain
On June 21, 2020, my Thai family and I began our two-day and one-night trip from Udonthani City to Phu Thap Boek Mountain in Phetchabun Province. The trip was made at the suggestion of my son-in-law Kaeo. He had seen very good reviews about Phu Thap Boek online. Most people had raved about viewing the sunrise and sunset through a sea of clouds at the top of the mountain. Kaeo and my daughter also probably remembered our trip to a temple in the Phetchabun mountains in 2018.
In this article, I'll relive our SUV trip from Udon City to Phetchabun. After arriving at Phu Thap Boek, I recall searching for overnight lodging. I then describe dinner at our lodging, a problem during the night, and exploring the mountaintop the next day. Finally, I remember the long drive back to Udon!
Where is Phu Thap Boek Mountain?
According to Wikipedia, Phu Thap Boek is a 1,768-meter (approximately 5,310-foot) high mountain in the Phetchabun Province, Thailand. It is located in the northeastern part of Northern Thailand in the Lom Kao District near the border with Loei Province. Situated 428 kilometers (km) from Bangkok, it takes about six and a half hours by car to reach the mountain. Phu Thap Boek is the highest peak of the Phetchabun Mountains. Its peak rises 12km west of Highway 203 between the towns of Loei and Phetchabun.
Traveling From Udon City to Phu Thap Boek
We departed from our home in Udon City at 10:30 on the morning of June 21, 2020. My traveling companions were my wife Suai, daughter Pu, son-in-law Kaeo, and my granddaughter Yuri.
After filling up our SUV, we departed Udon and took Highway 210 in a southwesterly direction toward Nong Bua Lamphu. After passing through this town, we continued on a four-lane road to Na Wang Prefecture. From Na Wang, we had to use a two-lane road that took us past the exit to the Erawan Cave and eventually to Wang Saphung in Loei Province.
After getting to Wang Saphung, we took Highway 201 in a southeasterly direction to Highway 12. Then, we followed 12 west until we hit Highway 203. On Highway 203, we headed north to Lom Kao and then 12 km west to Phu Thap Boek.
Ascending Phu Thap Boek
It was about 3:30 pm when we started our ascent to Phu Thap Boek. We were on a two-lane road and could not travel very quickly due to the many curves in the road. Altogether there must have been about 25 before reaching the summit. At an elevation of approximately 1,300 meters, there was a scenic area off to the right where we could stop. We took pictures there for several minutes before continuing our climb.
At around 4:45 pm, we were close to the summit and started to look for overnight lodging.
Searching for Overnight Lodging
It was no easy task searching for overnight lodging on Phu Thap Boek. There are no western-style hotels on the mountain. Instead, you will find one-room bungalows that look like shacks and tents! Since we were one of the late-arriving tourists, all of the bungalows with the best views had been booked already. We finally settled on two bungalows situated in a row of four with no view of the valley below. The rate for each bungalow was 1,500 Thai baht or a little under $50. Tents with no plumbing were offered for 500 Thai baht per night.
Our bungalow had one small room with a queen bed and an attached bathroom with a western flush toilet, shower, and hot water.
Dinner at our Lodgings
We decided on having a Thai-style barbecue in the evening. The landlord of the two bungalows was more than eager to sell us some pork and vegetables for the barbecue. He also lent us the use of a barbecue hot pot. My son-in-law and daughter barbecued and we all had a tasty dinner.
Before dinner, my wife and granddaughter went exploring in the cabbage patch across from our bungalows.
A Problem During the Night
When we retired at about 10:00 p.m., it was very cool and we didn't need air-conditioning to sleep. The hot water worked well and we had a nice shower. That was the good news. However, in the middle of the night at around 2:00 a.m, I noticed there was no water when I flushed the toilet. The running water was off all night until about 6:30 am when the landlord turned it on just as we were checking out!
Exploring the Top of Phu Thap Boek
On Monday morning, June 22, we started exploring the top of Phu Thap Boek. We quickly learned the mountain is covered with mixed evergreen forest. Farming on the slopes is favorable for cabbage cultivation.
The villagers are mostly Christian Hmong hill tribespeople who immigrated from Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. I noticed crosses and churches in many places.
When we left our bungalow at 6:30, the temperature was 18 degrees Centigrade or about 65 Fahrenheit. The coldest time of the year to visit is in December and January when temperatures will drop to near freezing on the mountain top.
After we reached the peak of the mountain, we had a light breakfast at a roadside market and took more pictures before descending Phu Thap Boek.
Descending Phu Thap Boek and Returning to Udon
At 9:00 a.m., we started our descent from the top of Phu Thap Boek. Before reaching the foot of the mountain, we stopped at a roadside market where my wife and Pu purchased some fruit, honey, and grape wine. We returned the same way we came and Kaeo drove the first leg of the journey. I drove from Wang Saphung to Udon where we arrived at 1:30 p.m.
It was a tiring trip but we all had an exciting time!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Paul Richard Kuehn