A hidden treasure of Thailand – the region of Loei

To get to know Thailand from another perspective – namely its green side – is what we aim at in our blog. Also if Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in South-East Asia, you can find many opportunities to travel off the beaten tracks making unique experiences. Today we take you to the less known region of Loei in the Northern part of Thailand.

Pure nature in the national park

By a total of 127 national parks in Thailand only one handful is really known. Phu Kradueng belongs to those less visited, though its nature is especially impressive and diverse: from the high plateau to bamboo and pinewoods to waterfalls and blossoming meadows. On walks in the park you meet elephant, dogs, squirrels, all sort of birds and the rare species of tortoise Tao Poo Loo. The park is spread over more than 348 km2 – enough space for hiking far away of the bustle. A special highlight in the park is the sunrise over the Pha Nok Aen cliff and the sundown at the Pha Lom Sak cliff. Also in the Phu Kradueng national park you will find the mountain Phu Ho that is often compared to the Japanese Fuji. A real must for all nature lovers.

Highlight: Watch the sunrise on the Nok Aen cliff at the Phu Kradung national park in Loei © TAT
Highlight: Watch the sunrise on the Nok Aen cliff at the Phu Kradung national park in Loei © TAT

The dinosaurs send their regards

As if you have landed in the film set of Jurassic park – this is how you will feel every now and then in the park Suan There Pha Ngam. The weirdly and arbitrarily towering limestone rocks together with the gigantic trees almost look primeval. Exploring the park by feet definitively is a special experience: Some of the walks will lead you to platforms from which you can spot the formations from above. With some imagination you can maybe guess the names of the rocks, which are chosen accurately, for example, “tortoise”, “dinosaur” or “elephant”. Other paths bring you right into the limestone caves hollowed out by the water over millions of years.

Primeval looking national park Suan Hin Pha Ngam © TAT
Primeval looking national park Suan Hin Pha Ngam © TAT

Real insiders tip

If you love (authentic) Thai food as much as me, you should plan a short stay in the small town Chiang Khan. It lies in the Northern part of the region, only separated from the neighboring country Laos by the Mekong. On the weekend the town comes alive: then on every corner you can find food stands and street side barbecues – perfect to get to know the variety of the Thai kitchen apart from Pad Thai! Also worth an excursion is the Mekong rapid Keaeng Khut Khan only a few kilometers from Chiang Khan, which is a real eye-catcher in particularly in the dry season.  Then the river water writhes around multicolored, flatly polished rocks.

Kaeng Khut Khu - Mekong rapid
Sunset at the Mekong rapid Kaeng Khut Khu ©TAT

Colorful mask parade

If you travel to Loei in June, you should by no means miss the three-day-long Bun Phawet festival in the town of the same name. This year the “mind festival” takes place from the 16th to the 18th of June. While on the first day the people ask for the protection of the spirits of the nearby Mun River and take part in Buddhist ceremonies on the third day, the real highlight takes place on the second day: the colorful Phi Ta Khon parade. The locals dress up and dance through the streets up to the temple Wat Phon Chai. The masks are carved with love to the detail from the wood of coconut palms and rice shells and are brightly painted. A little bit creepy, but at the same time also very impressive.

Phi Ta Khon Festival in Loei
Phi Ta Khon Festival in Loei © TAT