If you refer to a small and quiet town surrounded by the beautiful nature, the name of "Chiang Khan" in Loei would come into the mind of many Thai people. Today we will take you to another trip around Isan and will introduce you to Phu Tok mountain.
Phu Tok is the mountain in Chiang Khan. It is a popular view point for tourists who wish to see a magical sea of fog covering the mountains at the time of sunrise. At the top of Phu Tok, you will see the beautiful scenery of Chiang Khan, mountains and Mekong River.
If you want to see the sunrise, you should wake up at 5.30 am and get a Tuk-Tuk to pick you up from your hotel at 6 am. Normally the Tuk-Tuk ride to Phu Tok should cost 100 baht per person for round trip. If the driver is asking for more, you should consider negotiating the price. The Tuk-Tuk will take you to the foot of the mountain and wait for you there. However, if you have your own car, you can easily drive to the foot of the mountain and leave your car there as there is a parking lot nearby.
A drive to Phu Tok from our hotel which was conveniently located just near the famous Walking Street took us about 10-15 minutes.
When you arrive to the foot of the mountain, you can only use the public pickup truck service provided by the Chiang Khan district to go to the top of Phu Tok. You cannot drive the car up by yourself because the road there is narrow and dangerous and there are no parking spaces on the top.
The pickup trucks are waiting for tourists in the early morning every day to carry about 10 people up to the mountain each time. The fare is 25 baht per person for a round trip.
The distance to the top of the mountain is only 2 km, but the road is very steep and hilly. The ride up is quite an experience and takes about 7-10 minutes.
Expect to see lots of people when you arrive.
This is a perfect spot to spend time waiting for the sunrise.
At the top of the mountain, you will see two signs in Thai Language - the first one meaning "Welcome to the fog sea of Phu Tok, Chiang Khan", the second - "Morning sunrise". These signs are very popular photo spots with Thais. Be like local, make one for yourself too.
You should be there around 6.00 - 7.30 am. If you will go later than that, you will only see a beautiful panoramic view but the fog will most probably be more or less gone, depending on the weather conditions.
We have heard from the villagers that you can observe the fog on the Mekong River to expect the sea of fog on the mountain. When the cold air meets the warmth of the Mekong River, it becomes a fog and makes the view of the surroundings mystical.
We didn’t expect much of our day-trip to Chiang Khan but it was spectacular. The visit to Phu Tok and the magnificent views from the top of it was definitely the cherry on the cake.
When we went down, lots of tourists were still waiting to go up. There are many shops providing food and souvenirs at the foot of the mountain making it easy to combine your trip to Phu Tok with tasting some local delicacies.
- It is recommended to wear thick clothes to go up the hill in early morning.
- The villagers suggest that the best time to see the fog sea is from August to February, but there are no guarantees because this occurrence depends on daily weather conditions.
- The sun is rising and coming out of the back of the mountain about 6.45-6.55 am.
- There is no bathroom at the top of Phu Thok, so you should handle it before going up.
- Chiang Khan is very popular destination for Thais, so you should book accommodation in advance, especially on weekends and holidays.