Chang phuak mountain trek (thong pha phum national park)

08 Mar 2019 23:01 - 26 Apr 2020 13:03 #5197 by wvwv
Chang Phuak.

This is one of the easiest overnight treks with some of the best views. A must for semi-lazy people who love a spectacular vista. 

You are supposed to register for this in advance and they called us the day before we were due to arrive to ask if we were still going. I think you might be okay just turning up at the visitor centre the afternoon before but to be safe it's best to call a few days in advance.  They were also taking copies of passports and id cards so don't forget that.  It's a long way from bangkok and by public transport isn't easy as you'd most likely have to change in kanchanaburi. The kanchanaburi to sangklaburi bus stops in thong pha phum and from there there are shared songtaews to the visitor centre but if you didn't get a very early bus from Bangkok you might have to private hire. There's also motorbike rent where the bus stops.

Once at the visitor centre there's a lot of nonsense with double pricing. Not just the park entry fee but the compulsory insurance as well. Not expensive at about the price of a coffee but its the principle, 4 times the cost as the thais and barely any difference in the cover.  Actual cost of the trek depends how many people. They divide their cost by the number of people in the group that day and for us it worked out at about 230 baht each.  Porters can be hired.

Total trek is 8km but it's mainly flat because it starts at such a high elevation. You go up in staggered groups of about 12. The mountains are like a knife ridge and this trek was closed for a while because a Thai girl fell off the ridge and it took hours to get her to safety. There are rudimentary toilets at the campsite (hole in the ground). Most of the slopes along the way are bare, I guess due to the steepness/wind/high elevation, so don't expect much in the way of fauna. On the plus side it means you get lots of views all the time.

The final viewpoint has 360 degree views and you can see the huge lake and as far as khao laem national park. Behind you is Myanmar.  In the morning you go down about 8am or 9am. If you are getting the songtaews there's no need to rush down and be first to the bottom as you'll have to wait for the songtaew to fill up (unless you private hire it for about 1000 baht). 

If you don't want to do this trek the park still has a lot to offer with great views and a couple of waterfalls. Note the drive from thong pha phum to the visitor centre is very slow/bumpy.

The following user(s) said Thank You: Paul T, BKKBen

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11 Mar 2019 07:40 #5199 by BKKBen
Nice write up! I was planning on doing this hike several years ago, but my plans got changed and I kind of forgot about it. Back onto the list it goes. Those grassy hills and views look great!

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28 Dec 2019 01:59 #5406 by Scuzz106
Hi! Good tips here, I signed up to do this hike next week. How early did you have to be there?

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03 Jan 2020 23:35 #5414 by wvwv
I don't remember exactly but it wasn't very early, about 9am-ish? They will pick you up and ferry you to the start if you are camping at the national park. But it really needs a Thai speaker to in your group in order to know where to wait etc.

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