Across Doi Phu Kha A Cornucopia of Plant Species the Wonder of Nan

| March 4, 2016

There is a saying that “Nan is a place inaccessible to anyone without the will to get there” Nan is not on a passageway to major tourist centers such as Chiang Mai. Chiang Rai. Lampang. Lamphun etc. It is located on the northeastern edge bordering the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. It is a province in the Upper North. lying over 668 kilometers from Bangkok. quite a distance. Only those intent to come to Nan would get there. and they would not be disappointed. as Nan is rich in all aspects. natural beauty. unique lifestyle of the ethnic Tai Lue. ancient temples. and of course. one of the most exciting and beautiful mountain roads for motorists in Thailand.
Starting from the city of Nan, take Highway No.1 080 northwards, about 48 kilometers to Tha Wang Pha District. The first stretch is asphalted, spanning gentle slopes and flatlands. On both sides are rural communities, vegetable plots, plantations and teak forest, covered with white flowers in the rainy season, from August to September.
From Tha Wang Pha District, continue for over 20 kilometers to Pua District. A stop can be made at Ban Pua Klang, the production site of the famous silverware of Nan, or turn into Wat Prang before reaching Pua District, to view a curiosity called “Dik Diam-Tickling Plant”, one “Unseen In Thailand” item, the only such sensitive tree in the country. Not to be missed is hand-woven textile of the ethnic Tai Lue, as long skirt, loin-cloth, and garments.

Bretschneideraceae Doi Phu Kha Nan Thailand

From Pua District, take Highway No.1236 (Pua-Bo Klua) for about 24 kilometers to Doi Phu Kha National Park which is linked to several other national parks such as Nanthaburi, Mae Charim, Khun Nan and Si Nan, making up the largest conservation forest of the North. The 24-kilometer stretch from Pua to Doi Phu Kha is one of the most challenging routes, running along steep cliffs, with several hairpin bends. Although the road is in good condition, drivers must be skillful and exercise great care. The ride is otherwise most pleasant, especially in winter, when air-conditioner can be turned off, and car windows opened to let in fresh and cool air, as one travels through the lush green hills. Heavy fog can be a problem after the rain and in winter.

A tourist information center is located at kilometer 24 and 25 on the right, with a toll gate of the National Park on the left. The signboard of Doi Phu Kha National Park can be found about 600 meters from the toll gate. The park office is 200 meters inside. Here is where the adventure of the rare plant kingdom starts.
Doi Phu Kha is a large national park, at an elevation of 1,900 meters above mean sea level. At least, a few days should be spared to fully enjoy this wondrous natural site. Accommodations can be reserved with the park office. Failing that, a camping site is available near the star-observing area. Highlight of the park is the rare plant known as Chomphu Phu Kha or Phu Kha Pink, Bretschneidera Sinensis Hems in the Bretschneideraceae family, discovered by a biologist from the Royal Forestry Department, Dr.Thawatchai Santisuk on 20 February 1989. The plant was found in some parts of China over 30-40 years ago. The forests where the specimen were found in China no longer exist. Doi Phu Kha is, therefore, the last remaining habitat of the plant. The bright pink bell-shaped blossoms cover the branches in February and March. The best site to observe the flowers is on Highway No.1256, about 4 kilometers from the park office. A wooden bridge has been put up for naturalists who flock to observe the rare pink blossoms every year.
Another special feaiUre at Doi Phu Kha is Giant Fishtail Palm, standing 8-12 meters tall, with the fishtail leaf spanning 4-5 meters. This giant palm thrives in montane evergreen forest, at 1,500-1,770 meters above mean sea level. It can be observed from the nature study trail, and on Highway No.1256 not far from the park office. In morning fog, an ambiance of the Jurassic Park is easily created with the giant palm.

Giant Fishtail Palm Doi Phu Kha Nan Thailand

Bird watching is a popular activity for visitors, especially in winter, with migratory birds from the northern hemisphere joining the local flocks. The 3.5-kilometer nature study trail is also not to be missed. For trekkers, Doi Dong Ya Wai near the park office can be climbed for an overnight camping on top, with a panoramic view of the Doi Phu Kha area and the sights of various rare plants endemic to the area.
A true adventure is at Doi Phu Wae, a steep limestone hill of over 1,337 meters elevation. Climbers are rewarded by the sight of rare flora, such as White Rhododendron. To reach Doi Phu Wae, take the mountain road Pua-Bo Klua from the Doi Phu Kha Park Office to the Ban Dan Park Office, Bo Klua Distric, about 50 kilometers. The park office provides guides for trekkers who must prepare all provisions for the trekking and camping. About 3 days and 2 nights are required.
A hidden wonder for trekkers is Phu Fa Waterfall, in deep forest to the south of Doi Phu Kha in Mae Charim District. A guide can be sought from the Doi Phu Kha Park Office, or use Highway No.1168 from the city of Nan to Mae Charim District about 38 kilometers away, and contact the Pho.Kho.3 Park Office {Nam Pun) for guides. Phu Fa Waterfall is 144 meters high, in 12 tiers. The top tier is most spectacular with the cascading water appearing like white elephant tusks amid the dense green backdrop.

From Doi Phu Kha, head east on Highway No.1236 to Bo Klua, the ancient salt production site, the proof that the area used to be close to the sea millions of years ago. A 218- million-year cockle ark shell cemetery has also been discovered at Doi Phu Kha.
From Bo Klua, take Highway No.1081 {Bo Klua – Chaloem Phra Kiat) northward for about 6 kilometers, and turn right into Khun Nan National Park. Here one can observe the origin of Nan River. There are several major waterfalls, such as Sapan, Huey Ti, Ban Den, and Huey Ha, including the Wa River running through Khun Nan National Park for over 25 kilometers. Turn back to Highway No.1257 and 1225 heading south for about 50 kilometers to Mae Charim District. From there turn to Highway No.1168 and continue for 4 kilometers, going straight at the three-way intersection along a laterite road for 3 kilometers to reach the Mae Charim National Park, where a pleasant white- water rafting on the Wa River can be made, especially during November to January when the current is not too strong. The rafting starts from Ban Sop Mang in B o Klua District and ends at Ban Wang Lun in Mae Charim District. The stretch of Central Wa River starts at Mae Charim Park Office and ends at Ban Hat Rai.

Nan Map Thailand

Category: Nan