Phu Kradueng National Park in Thailand

Phu Kradueng National Park

Phu Kradung National Park, the way to which is long and difficult, is one of the most popular national parks of Thailand among local tourists. Due to its remote location, it is less known to foreign tourists.

This park is located in the area of the eponymous mountain Phu Kradung, in Lei province, located in the central part of northern Thailand. The park is popular for its many long trails, harsh winters, and a large number of waterfalls and lookouts. Unlike most other major national parks in the country, Phu Kradung is accessible by public transportation from all nearby provinces and Bangkok.

For the most part, the park is one big mountain mesa covering an area of 350 km, the highest point of which is at 1316 meters above sea level. The flat top plateau of the mountain, where all the main attractions are located, has an area of about 60 km, and its average height above sea level varies from 1200 to 1250 meters.

Phu Kradueng National Park

Forests in the park are broadleaved and dipterocarp forests, located 800 meters below sea level, and with increasing altitude alternately occur deciduous dipterocarp forests, mixed deciduous, dry evergreen forests, and on the hilltops evergreen forests. Mixed bamboo forests are common at middle altitudes, with pines and oaks predominating on the plateaus.

Phu Kradung National Park is part of the Western Isaan Forest Complex, which includes three other national parks and four wildlife reserves with a total area of 4,494 km2. Other protected sites in the complex are; Nam Nao National Park, Tat Moc National Park, Phu Pa Man National Park, Phu Khio Nature Reserve, Phu Phung Nature Reserve, Phu Phu Daeng Nature Reserve, and Taboa Huai Yai Nature Reserve.

Phu Kradueng National Park

The park is closed for reforestation during the rainy season from June to September, but the rest of the year, including holidays, is open every day. The holidays are busy, not to mention the peak days of the year.

How to get there and where to visit

There are two visitor centers in the park. The lower one is the entrance point to Phu Kradung town on the eastern side of the park, the upper one is on the plateau with a spacious camping area. Both visitor centers have bungalows, campsites, restaurants and several stores.

Phu Kradueng National Park

It is recommended to start the hike up the mountain early in the morning, for this reason hikers should get to the lower visitor center the day before the hike and stay in one of the bungalows or in a tent at the campsite. The trailhead opens at 7 a.m.

The entrance fee is 400 baht for adults and 200 baht for children (foreigners) or 40 baht for adults and 20 baht for children (local tourists).

How to get to the park

Because there will not be enough time to get to the upper visitor center in time to get there before dark, the lower visitor center closes at 3:00 p.m. It is a good idea to take this into consideration when you are there. There are several hotels in Phu Kradung town.

By car.

From Bangkok, drive north on Highway 1, then turn east to Highway 2, finally halfway between Pak Chong and Nakhonratchasima turn left to Highway 201 north. The route is about 500 km long.

There is an opportunity to park your car for a few days in a designated area, parking is always guarded.

When using a GPS navigator or similar application on your phone, enter the following coordinates; 16.870460, 101.846647.

How to get to Phu Kradueng

By train

In Bangkok, take the train at Hualampong train station and go to Khon Kaen train station, from there take the bus to Lei and get off at Pha Nok Khao or Phu Kradung, and then take the Songtheu to the park.

By bus.

In Bangkok, take the bus to Lei at Mo Chit 2 bus station and get off at Pha Nok Khao, and there take the Songtheu to the park.

There are many companies offering bus services to Lei in Mo Chit 2. Air Mueang Loei at ticket counter 6 and Phu Kradueng Tour Bus at ticket counter 3, 3rd floor.

When buying a ticket, make sure that you are going to Phu Kradung, Pha Noc Khao (destination).

Songtheu of Pha Noc Khao

Songtheu are small vehicles, trucks or pickup trucks adapted to carry passengers. They are very common throughout Thailand, even in Bangkok, and are often used for trips lasting no more than a couple of hours. Tickets cost 30 baht per person, but if there aren't enough passengers, passengers split the fee of 300 baht per trip. The travel time from Pha Nok Khao to the visitor center is about 20 minutes.

How to get to Bangkok or other provinces

Take the Songtheu from the visitor center to Pha Nok Khao, Phu Kradueng Tour Bus leaves for Bangkok at 9:30, 17:50, 19:30, 20:30 and 21:30. Buses to other nearby towns such as Khon Kaen, Lei, and Phet Chabun also depart from Pha Nok Khao.

How to get to the upper camping site

The upper camping site can be accessed via a challenging 8.7 km trail. It will take less than 5 hours for someone with average training to get there. The trail is quite clean and does not require any directions, it starts at a place slightly below the visitor center, where the necessary preparations can be made.

The first 5.2 km of the trail is an ascent up the slope of the plateau, the altitude varies from 285 to 1275 meters above sea level. The first 800 meters of the trail is quite steep, and the last 1,300 meters before the top of the plateau is even steeper and harder, but you don't have to climb up there. There are concrete, bamboo or wooden stairs on the steepest sections. From the summit you will need to walk another 3.5 km on a very flat dirt road to get to the upper tourist center.

Phu Kradueng National Park

The trail trail is quite clear, there is no risk of making a wrong turn. At several points along the way, the trail splits into two directions, but they soon connect again, so it doesn't matter which of the two branches to follow.

Higher up the trail, there are 5 recreation sites that will be open during the high season, longer holidays and weekends. Only 3 of them will be open the rest of the time. These rest spots have several food vendors who also sell drinks and coffee, which means you don't have to carry more than a small bottle of water on the trail. Most places have vendors who sell various souvenirs, t-shirts, raincoats, etc.

Local carriers can deliver heavier bags to the upper tourist center for 30 baht per kilogram (May 2018 price).

Where to go once you're there

Phu Kradung is a great place to hike, unlike most other national parks in the country. There is also no need for guides to walk the long trails here. The trails are clear and well-marked, and the plateau is easy to walk between landmarks.

Signposts in Phu Kradueng

A network of dirt roads and trails crisscrossing each other on the southern plateau makes it possible to reach many waterfalls and viewpoints from different directions. Read more about these attractions and their locations below in the "attractions" section.

For those looking for adventure, hiking can be considered as an option, but you can also rent a bicycle at the tourist center. There are about 100 mountain bikes available for rent, with prices ranging from 360 baht to 410 baht. You can't rent bikes during the rainy season, as the dirt roads become muddy. There are no cars at the top of the mountain, except for a few light vehicles used by the staff, so you can only get around on your feet or by bicycle.

The Jungle at Phu Kradueng

At the top of the campground there are two options for accommodations; a tent or a bungalow, see below for details.

There are many restaurants around the campsite, most of which are open from 7am to 8pm or 10pm, depending on the number of visitors. In Phu Kradung, food and other goods are more expensive compared to most other national parks because they have to be transported on foot at considerable cost. A bottle of water costs 25-30 baht, a large bottle of water costs 50 baht. Food can cost anywhere from 60 baht. (Prices May 2018)

Phu Kradueng National Park

Cell phone service at the top of the visitor center, and even on most of the trails, is pretty good. Solar-charged batteries will be available every evening from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. At all times, the restaurants will be able to charge phones and other devices for 30 baht per gadget, since the restaurants have their own solar panels.


The campsite at the top of the mountain is probably one of the largest in Thailand with enough space to accommodate about 5,000 tents. The park gets very busy during longer holidays such as the Songkran Festival or other long weekends that last 3-4 days. On weekdays, Monday through Friday, the campground becomes less crowded with tents. It is recommended to get there on weekdays when there are far fewer people.

Camping in Phu Kradueng

Tents can only be rented locally; 150 baht for 2 people, 200 baht for 3 people or 400 baht for 4 people (May 2018 price). For 2 people, we recommend tents for 3 people, as you will need some space for your bags, otherwise you may have less leg room while sleeping. Same with 3 people, it's better to get a tent for 4 people.

Sleeping gear can be rented from 10 to 30 baht, all for 60 baht per person. On less busy days, there may be room for tents under one of the several pavilions, a good place to shelter from possible rain, and a little shade as well.

There are many showers and toilets at the campsite, all of which are cleaned regularly.

It is also possible to rent a tent upon arrival at the lower camping site.

Phu Kradueng Nature


The upper camping area has a large number of bungalows, which can be rented from 900 baht for 6 people or 3600 baht for 12 people. The bungalows have towels and gas-fired hot showers. These bungalows can only be booked online through ( and reservations must be made in advance.

Bungalows in Phu Kradueng

Since the transfer of funds must be made within 2 days of booking, it may not be possible to book a bungalow from abroad. If you are in Thailand, however, payment can be made through local banks or 7-Eleven stores.

If there are bungalows available at the bottom of the visitor center, they can be booked either upon arrival or in advance through the DNP website.


Phu Kradung Park is not a place to watch wildlife, there are very few mammals. Sambara deer are the most common animal in the upper part of the campsite, they are neither timid nor fearful, you can see them every day. Boars and jackals are occasionally seen visiting the campsite. While jackals prefer the edges of the campground where they are in dense areas in the late afternoon or evening, wild boars can be seen walking through the campground at any time. Other common animals are western striped and other squirrels.

Wildlife at Phu Kradueng National Park

Some areas around the campground are elephant habitat, so the trails will have signs warning of this. Trails may sometimes be closed to visitors if elephants are seen in the vicinity. Visitors should keep their distance from wild elephants, even if they see only one, and not come within 100 meters of them - elephant attacks on humans are common in Thailand, sometimes ending in death.

Phu Kradung sights


There are several waterfalls in the park to the west and northwest of the campground, and all of them can be accessed via several circular trails.

Waterfall in Phu Kradueng National Park

Wang Kwang

The waterfall is 7 meters high at a distance of about 1 km from the upper camping site. Directly behind the water falling down, there is a naturally flat rocky passage wide enough not to get wet and reach the other side of the creek.

There Yai.

Located about 2.3 km from the visitor center, 1.4 km from Phen Phob waterfall along the same trail. The environment of this waterfall becomes impressively beautiful every year in late November and early December, when maple trees cover the forest floor with a red blanket.


Tan Sawan

Located about 250 meters downstream, south of Tam Yai Falls.

Phen Phob.

Located 1.1 km north of Tam Yai Falls.

Phon Phob.

Phon Phob waterfall is an 8-level cascading waterfall over 30 meters long. The waterfall is named after the first Thai world boxing champion, who found the waterfall an ideal place to prepare for the championship, which was held in a colder climate.

Phen Phob Mai

About 600 meters north of Phon Phob, it is a medium-sized waterfall with a magnificent view. At this waterfall from late November to early December, you can also see a surprisingly beautiful picture: the falling red leaves of a maple tree.

Waterfall in Phu Kradueng


There are several observation decks in different directions and in different parts of the camp, from which you can watch the sunrise and sunset. The closest one is about a kilometer away, the others are located from east to west along the southern edge of the plateau, and the farthest one is 9 km from the visitor center.

Noc Aan Cliffs

This is the closest observation deck with a view of the sunrise in the early morning. It is located 1.1 km east of the visitor center.

Lom Sac Cliff

The most popular cliff to contemplate the sunset at the southwestern edge of the plateau, 9 km from the tourist center. Most visitors get to this particular cliff to see the sunset. There is a vendor nearby who sells drinks and snacks.

Nok Aan Cliff

Mack Duck Cliffs

The closest observation deck is on the south side of the mountain, about 2.5 kilometers from the visitor center.

Cliff Na Noah

1.2 km farther west from Mack-Duke or 3.3 km from the center for visitors on a shorter route.

Cliff Yap Meck

Located about 2.1 km west of the Na Noi cliff.

Viewpoint Daeng

It is located 1.2 km west of the cliff of Iap Mek.

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