Thong Pha Phum National Park, near the end of ear-popping Hwy 3272, crosses a serrated mountain range along the Myanmar border and is one of the most beautiful but least-known places in Thailand. It bills itself as the ‘Land of Fog and Freezing Rainforest’, which in travellers terms means waking up early to see the cold-season fog filling the valleys and bringing warm clothes.
It’s best known among foreign travellers for its tree-top accommodation. These 6m-to-10m-tall ‘Tarzan’ rooms are quite rustic, with electricity only in the early evening and roofs that tend to leak when it rains, but the views are superb. The rooms down on solid ground are in better shape. There’s also a campground; tent hire costs 270B.
The park is wildlife rich, and while you won’t likely spot elephants, tigers or bears, marbled cats, palm civets, serow (Asian mountain goats) and Fea’s muntjac often wander through the visitor centre/lodging area. You’ll surely meet Wan Waew, the wild-but-tame great hornbill.
Thais know the park for the ranger-led overnight treks (16km round trip) to Chang Pheuk mountain, through grassland much of the way, offering 360-degree views over Myanmar. It’s possible from October to January and costs 1200B for up to 10 trekkers. Porters are available. People rarely trek elsewhere, but rangers can lead you through the forest to various waterfalls and viewpoints.
You can drive to within 300m of Jokkadin Waterfall, which falls 30m with force. It’s 2km southwest of the visitor centre then 3km down a steep side road.
The latter half of the 62km ride from Thong Pha Phum is along one of Thailand‘s most remote and winding roads. It’s paved, but rough in many spots. Yellow sŏrng·tăa·ou to E-Thong pass the visitor centre.
Naturally rich Thong Pha Phum directly borders the relatively intact forests in Myanmar through which it is connected to the Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province. Both of the parks are very important for conservation of biodiversity of the region.
Geography and Climate
Through the Khao Laem National Park the park is connected with the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary and directly is connected to the Sai Yok National Park and the forests in Myanma. The weather in this area has three distinct seasons: rains from June to October, the winter from November to January and the summer from February to May.
Flora and Fauna
The forested hills accommodate many plants and wildlife including elephant, mountain goat, tiger, bear, buffalo, barking deer, civet and birds.
What to See
Khao Yai Waterfall – a big 3-tier waterfall, accessible via a 4 km nature trail
Dip Yai Waterfall – situated next below Khao Yai Waterfall with which the stream eventually meets. To get there use the same route as to the Khao Yai Waterfall.
Jok Ka Din Waterfall – a beautiful towering waterfall falling down from a 30 m high cliff. It is 3 km from the park headquarters.
Khao Khad Viewpoint – close to Jok Ka Din Waterfall. The highest elevation viewpoint from which the surrounding forest and Jok Ka Din Waterfall can be seen.
Khao Noi Cave – located in Taling Daeng village the cave contains a Buddha image and stalactite and stalagmite.
Km 15 Viewpoint – located at km 15 of the Ban Rai – E-tong road, the viewpoint is a good place to see the Khao Lam reservoir
Nern Sao Thong – Nern Sao Thong (a Flagstaff mountain, named after the Thai flag on top) is a mountain peak on the border of Thailand and Myanma. It hosts a permanent Thai army camp, but can be visited to enjoy the views to Thailand and Myanmar.
What to Do
Headquarters – accommodation, restaurant, visitors center, parking
Camping site is available at the headquarters.
By car or by yellow public pick-up (line number 8280) going to E-Tong village from Thong Pha Phum in Kanchanaburi province. The pick-up passes the park headquarters as well as the turn-off to the Jok Ka Din waterfall.
An off the trail national park located near the border with Myanmar. Camp or stay the night in Tarzan tree houses in the parks headquarters. Visit unseen waterfalls, old tin mines, or trek up to the parks highest peak Khao Chang Phueak
Thong Pha Phum National Park in Kanchanaburi gets missed off most peoples trip itinerary’s due to its remote location, but its well worth the effort to get there. The undiscovered park features caves, waterfalls, tin mines, and vast jungles stretching into Burma. A popular activity is to stay the night in Tarzan huts located in the parks headquarters, the hut’s look over the jungle canopy and provide a unique way of getting close to nature. A large campsite is also located with the headquarters with viewing areas looking out across the mountainous jungle.
Thong Pha Phum National Park is located around 200 kilometers northwest of Kanchanaburi town and around 65 kilometers from the district center of Thong Pha Phum. Although only 65 kilometers long, the twisty mountain road can take two hours or more to navigate, but the view across the mountains and valleys is spectacular. The park covers a total area of 1,120 square kilometers.
The fertile forests of Thong Pha Phum connect to neighboring Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, and then on to Hua Kha Khaeng, Mae Wong, and Umphang wildlife sanctuary’s. The whole area forms one of the largest protected areas in South East Asia and is home to avast array of valuable plants and wildlife. Also connecting with Thong Pha Phum are Sai Yok National Park, Khao Laem National Park and the mysterious wilderness over the border in Myanmar.
The park has a number of waterfalls and caves, and used to be an area active in Tin and Tungsten mining. Khao Noi Cave is located in Taling Daeng Village, inside the cave there are Buddha images along with stalagmites and Stalactites.
thong-pha-phum-national-park-jok-ka-din-waterfallJok Ka Din waterfall, near to Thong Pha Phum park headquarters
Jok Ka Din Waterfall drops 30 metres down a sheer cliff face into a pool of water and is spectacular during the wet season between July and October, the waterfall is located around 3 kilometers from the parks headquarters down a dirt road which can be tricky to navigate during the wet season. KhaoYai is another large waterfall with three levels, other waterfalls in the park include Dip Yai, Bi Teng, Chet Mit and PhaPae. Many of the waterfalls can only be reached by a guided tour or just simply ask the rangers to take you.
Khao Chang Phueak is the parks highest point, it is possible to join a trekking trip to its peak in the dry season from November-February. Nern Sao Thong marks the Thai-Burma border and offers a great vantage point, on a clear day, the Andaman sea can be seen from here.
The parks headquarters have accommodation in the form of simple wooden huts with excellent jungle views. Tarzan huts are also available which are high up in the tree canopy and offer even more spectacular views and the feeling of being close to nature. Tarzan huts can booked on arrival to the park. There is also a large campground with tents and camping equipment available to hire from the lodge. There are also several other bungalows to rent as well as the tree-houses.
A conserved park covering an area of approximately 1,20 square kilometers, featuring lush tropical forest, mountainous landscape, headwater sources and rare wildlife animals. Visitors shouldn’t miss to visit two main view points: Doi Tong Palae which is about 300 metres uphill from where Namtok Chokkadin is visible, and Noen Kut Doi, that national park’s highest peak offering a panoramic view of the mountains, Vajiralongkorn Dam and Khao Chang Phueak. For adventurous travelers, trekking to one of three major waterfalls: Namtok Chokkadin , Namtok Pha Pae and Namtok ChetMit can be a thrilling experience. A four-wheel drive car and hired guide will be needed. Accommodation and camping ground is available.
Admission: 200 baht for adults, 100 baht for children
Contact: Thong Pha Phum National Park, P.O. Box 18, Amphoe Thong Pha Phum, Kanchanaburi 21110, tel. 08 1382 0359, 0 3453 2114
Getting there: Use Highway 323 to Amphoe Thong Pha Phum and turn into Highway 3272 (Thong Pha Phum – Pilok Mine) for some 57 km. to Thong Pha Phum National Park’s headquarters.
To get there, from Kanchanaburi, follow Highway 323 to Amphoe Thong Pha Phum and turn into Highway 3272 (Thong Pha Phum – Pilok Mine) for some 57 km. to Thong Pha Phum National Park’s headquarters. The road, though asphalted, climbs up the mountain with several sharp curves; drivers will have to drive carefully.