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[TRAVELS] Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง @ Phayao, Chiangrai

Posted by swisscheese on Apr 24, 2016 in chiangrai, hiking, waterfall

Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง

On the second day of my Chiangrai/Chiangmai trip, the owners of Upcountry Bungalow brought both Vivienne and I to Phu Sang National Park to view the waterfall and hot springs after our yoga, meditation and breakfast sessions. This is another portion of the 2,000 baht tour package other than our Phu Chi Fa tour that I previously wrote about.

Phu Sang National Park
Mu 10, TambonPhu Sang,
AmphoePhu Sang Minor,
Phayao 56110
0 5440 1099

Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง

Phu Sang National Park is about 20-30 minutes / 22.3km away from Upcountry Bungalow. When you first alight at the national park, you will be able to see the locals having picnics on the grasses, the water fountain flowing down (7th-10th pictures) and the children swimming in the waters. Remember to bring a hat when hiking at the park as it is very hot, particularly in April (36 degrees). Just for your enlightenment, the park comprises of both a dry evergreen forest and peat swarm forest. The dry evergreen forest has many taller trees such as the ones depicted in third to sixth pictures. Since this is a closed canopy forest, this makes the hiking trail shady and cool. Prior to entering the peat swarm forest, you will be able to go through the Ecotone area, which is the transition zone between the dry evergreen forest and the peat swarm forest. The peat forest is inundated with freshwater and has lesser green plants. The end point of this trip is definitely the hot springs shown in the last two pictures. The pool is about 35 degrees Celsius and 5 meters deep.  April is such a hot time to be dipping your hands into the hot springs as the deeper the hot springs, the inner the Earth’s core, the temperature increases.

The explanation of the origins of the hot springs is as follows:

“The meteoric water on the surface percolates deeply into the crust of rocks through the Earth. As water comes into close contact with the molten rock, the high temperature gradient near the molten rock causes the water to be heated and erupted to the surface of the Earth.” 

Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง
Phu Sang National Park / อุทยานแห่งชาติภูซาง

After our arduous hiking trip, we walked around to check out the miniature bazaar around the park. These stalls sell traditional costumes of the native Thai/Laos people. Lastly, we had lunch right beside the park and Nuna ordered sticky rice, som tam, grilled fish, chicken and pork. The som tam was too spicy for me but I love it! Grilled fish was so tasty but I cannot say the same for the chicken and pork. The texture of the pork is too hard for me to chew since I am putting on braces.

OPENING HOURS: 6AM-6PM
PAYMENT METHODS: CASH ONLY! Phu Chi Fa trip coupled with another afternoon trip the day before = 2,000 baht (CAD$73.15 / SGD$77.48/ USD$57.08)

I would definitely recommend hiking at Phu Sang National Park when the weather is cooler during the winter. You have to sweat your heart out of you come during the dry season.

*swisscheese

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[TRAVELS] Phu Chi Fa ภูชี้ฟ้า @ Thoeng, Chiangrai

Posted by swisscheese on Apr 17, 2016 in mountain, sunrise, thoeng

Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า

It was the third day of my Chiangrai/Chiangmai trip two Thursdays back and we got out of bed at 4am to leave the bungalow for Phu Chi Fa at 5am. Even though it is very dry and hot at Thoeng, I love the mountains for it’s cooling weather during the wee hours of the morning.

Phu Chi Fa ภูชี้ฟ้า Thoeng, Chiangrai

Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า

Our host (Nuna) of the bungalow made a cup of tea for me prior to our departure and gave us a bunch of bananas to bring for our trip. Along the way, I kept conversing with her so as to understand the way of life for the local people of Thoeng. It was an hour journey from her bungalow to Phu Chi Fa so when we reached, it was already close to 7am and the sky was already quite bright. The roads to the mountain is rather narrow, mind you! I have to compliment Nuna for her excellent driving skills though. There are a couple of unenclosed stores near the carpark area and we went to use  the washroom before hiking up the mountains. I have to warn you that the washroom is very dark and you need a torch when you are in the cubicle. I saw a spider right at the left hand side of my cubicle. However, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of nature better after relieving yourself. If you head towards the dead end of the cubicles of washrooms, you will be able to see the lovely flowers as shown in the pictures above. Both Vivienne and Nuna took a bunch of it on our way back to the bungalow.

Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chee Fah ภูชี้ฟ้า Phu Chi Fa ภูชี้ฟ้า

When you head back to the carpark area, you will be greeted by small hilltribe children singing along the steep stairs to the mountain. To walk to the top of Phu Chi Fa (last picture), you would need to trek another 800 meters. This is quite an easy trek for practically anyone as the path from the trail head is very distinct. I love how the cold winds blow while we hike up so that we could catch our breath much easier while walking up the steep slopes. We were admiring the view 100 meters below the top of the mountain (2nd & 4th pictures). It was the last hurdle before Nuna ran up to the tallest part of the mountain as depicted in the first picture. Both Vivienne and I were taking walking up at our own pace though. It was so unfortunate that we did not manage to catch the sunrise. Instead, we only caught up with the sun! Both Vivienne and Nuna then started posing with the sun as they did a number of stunts and yoga poses. We could see and smell the forest fires of Chiangrai and Laos from the peak of the mountain and cannot help feeling sad for the trees and the environment. Hopefully, the local people can be educated on how to treat the trees right. Although I am afraid of heights, I will not turn back despite the steep stairs. It rained the previous day but it did not rain hard enough so I was thankful that the path up was not too slippery. Back at the carpark, I gave three children dressed in traditional costumes 20 baht each before ending the trip with a washroom visit. It is such a pity that at a tender age of 7-9 years old, they are malnourished and out in the cold early in the morning to perform for tourists without a proper stage.

PAYMENT METHODS: CASH ONLY! Phu Chi Fa trip coupled with another afternoon trip the day before = 2,000 baht (CAD$73.15 / SGD$77.48/ USD$57.08)

Although there were a small handful of foreign tourists, I was happy that this attraction is not a mega touristy attraction as it is not heavily infested of many foreign tourists and people that come here are usually local. If I ever head back to Chiangrai, I will definitely head back to Phu Chi Fa to catch the sunrise and sunset since I did not manage to do so this time.

*swisscheese

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