Thong Pha Phum National Park

Kanchanaburi Province

This seldom-explored park sprawls across a serrated mountain range along the Myanmar border. Billing itself as the 'land of fog and freezing rainforest', mornings at the park have a brooding beauty, particularly when cold-season mist fills the valleys. Most of the park is inaccessible, but visitors can enjoy waterfalls, trekking and the 'Tarzan' treetop accommodation near the end of one of Thailand's most remote and winding roads.

The park teems with wildlife, including elephants, tigers, bears, serow (Asian mountain goats), marbled cats and palm civets, though most animals are shy. That said, barking deer and kalij pheasant often wander through the visitor centre (8am to 4.30pm) and lodging area.

Thais know the park for its challenging ranger-led overnight treks (16km round trip) to 1249m Khao Chang Pheuk, which offers 360-degree views. The season is up to the weather, but trekking can begin as early as late November and lasts through January. The trek starts at E-Thong village, but registration is done at or before 7am at the visitor centre, 8km away. The cost is 2500B for up to 10 people (the park puts groups together) and porters are available for an extra fee. Numbers are limited so reservations are wise. Be prepared for leeches.

For a less-challenging bit of walking through healthy rainforest, let a ranger lead you (for a small tip) on a 4km two-hour walk from the visitor centre to Doi Tong Pala. Five kilometres southwest of the visitor centre, down a steep side road, Jokkadin Waterfall plummets 34m with force.

The serpentine 62km drive west from Thong Pha Phum town is along a paved but often potholed road. Yellow sŏrng·tăa·ou (passenger pickup trucks) to E-Thong pass the visitor centre (70B; 2¼ hours).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kanchanaburi Province attractions

1. Wat Mueang Pilok

2.69 MILES

Just uphill from the village, a decorative set of stairs leads to this scarlet-and-gold temple. It has a beautiful golden stupa and its large red Buddha…

2. Mueang Pilok Park


Immediately west of the old village, this small park has some rusted old machinery and dilapidated buildings from E-Thong's mining days.

3. Noen Chang Suek

2.79 MILES

The hill with the flag and fence hovering above the town to the south is 'Fighting Elephant Hill'. From its 1053m summit you can get 360-degree views (fog…

4. Noen Sao Thong

2.92 MILES

'Flag Pole Hill' sits right on the border and has large flags of Thailand and Myanmar along with limited views into the latter. It's 750m west of the town…

5. Vajiralongkorn Dam

14.91 MILES

Some 7km northwest of Thong Pha Phum town, this whopping 92m-high hydroelectric dam creates the Khao Laem Reservoir that stretches all the way up to…

6. Wat Tha Khanun

15.83 MILES

This large temple is across Mae Nam Kwae Noi from town. The gleaming golden stupa on the hill above it, which seems to float over the town at night, can…

7. Khao Laem National Park

24.99 MILES

With the Khao Laem Reservoir at its heart and limestone mountains all around, dramatic landscapes define this 1497-sq-km national park. But despite the…