Introducing Phu Chong Nayoi National Park
Stretching across the ‘Emerald Triangle’, the jungle-clad intersection of the Lao, Thai and Cambodian borders, is the little-known Phu Chong Nayoi National Park (0 4541 1515, reservations 0 2562 0760; admission 400B; 24hr), one of Thailand’s wildest parks and healthiest forests. Fauna includes barking deer, monkeys, gibbons, Malayan sun bears, Asiatic black bears, black hornbills, red jungle fowl and the endangered white-winged ducks. Elephants and tigers often cross over the border into the park.
The park’s primary attraction is Nam Tok Huay Luang, which plunges 40m over a cliff in two separate but parallel streams. A short trail leads to the top, and you can walk down 272 steps to the bottom. Another 170m downstream is little Nam Tok Pa On La-Oe, also a pretty picture. You can swim below both, though they dry up around March. Rangers love taking visitors on short bamboo raft trips (price negotiable) above the falls where they insist you might see a python; but water levels are often too high or too low to make the trip, especially from February to April. At the far end of the 687-sq-km park, there are superb vistas of the surrounding countryside (it looks a lot like the view from Pha Taem cliff, but with jungle instead of the Mekong at the bottom of the valley) from atop Pha Hin Dang. It’s a 50km drive from the main park entrance and then a 2km hike.
Stargazing is superb here, so consider spending the night. There are four three-bed bungalows (600B) with hot water and electricity, plus a camp site (per person 30B). During our visit there was no tent hire, but this may change. A couple of restaurants operate on weekends and holidays only, but park staff will cook for overnight guests with advance notice. Snacks and drinks are available daily.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009