A trip to enjoy the sea of mist at Phu Chi Fa and Pha Tang mountains in the province of Chiang Rai. Review of a highlight spots in Phu Chi Fa area – from excellent viewpoints, hill tribe villages, flower gardens, and main town pagoda.
With winter coming, it is the perfect time to go up into the mountains to enjoy the sea of mist. Phu Chi Fa Forest Park in the Chiang Rai province is one of the top nature attractions in Thailand. Did you know that tours to the site are available year-round, but the sea of mist is most dense around November – February?
That’s why we would like to introduce you to the tourist spots you can visit at any time because since you have already ventured high up into the mountains, it’s worth visiting every stop. And for those of you who would like to travel during the low season to avoid the crowds, you can make your plans as to where to take your best shots.
Phu Chi Fa (ภูชี้ฟ้า), also known as the Phu Chee Fah mountain, located in Thoeng sub-district, Chiang Rai province, is one of the highest peaks of Doi Pha Mon mountain range, which serves as a natural boundary between Thailand and Laos. The mountain owes its name to its shape — a sharp peak reaching into the sky with a boundless sea of mist during sunrise — mountain’s beauty defies words, and the romantic atmosphere can compete with any European mountain trip.
This tour is recommended as an additional route when traveling along the Chiang Rai loop or to Doi Ang Khang. Before traveling through the mountainous regions, do not forget to read our article on why brakes can fail on an automatic scooter and how to fix them. Also do not forget our tips for riders in Thailand.
Location: Chiang Rai Province
Area: 120,000 rai (192 sq.km.)
National Park Established: 6 February 1998
Elevation: 1,442 m
Prominence: 222 m
Mountain range: Phi Pan Nam Range
Best visiting time: Nov. – Feb.
Visitors: 197,144 (2019)
If you are riding a scooter or motorcycle, you can to visit the hill-tribe villages and go further to Doi Pha Tung and other tourist spots quite comfortably. If you are traveling by bus, you can catch your ride at the passenger bus stations in various villages or even hire a songthaew (Thai pick-up truck) to get you around.
If you want to use public transport, a comfortable bus leaves from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3 to Thoeng town once a day. One-way fare is 270-350 baht. Travel time is approximately 5 hours. After that, you will need to hire a taxi, which for an additional 500-600 baht will take you to your destination.
Make your first stop at the hot springs along the main road. There are several places worth paying attention to here. Firstly, a fountain, from which a jet of hot water is pouring several meters upwards. Here you can take a photo as a souvenir. Secondly, you will find here hot mineral baths for your feet, where you can sit for a few minutes and relax for free. Well, thirdly, a stone bath with water whose temperature reaches 98 degrees Celsius. When you come to this stone bath, you will definitely be offered to buy quail eggs in a wicker basket, which you can boil and eat right there.
Around you will find many souvenir shops, 7-Eleven, several cafes.
Be careful when shopping for jewelry. Once, in this place, a jewelry seller sold us expensive earrings, which, according to him, were made of real gold. When we returned home, it turned out that it was imitation jewelry, not gold. We had to go to the police, who helped us get the money back. However, time was wasted.
This was not a seller’s mistake, or a language barrier misunderstanding. We are local and speak excellent Thai, and before paying the money, we asked the seller a lot of clarifying questions. However, we were deceived.
Before you cross the border of Lampang and Phayao provinces, you will meet Tan Tong waterfall on your way. By the way, if you suddenly do not know yet, during your trip to Pu Chi Fa, your path lies through 4 provinces of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai – Lampang – Phayao. And only after you enter Chiang Rai province again, you reach the top of Phu Chi Fa Mountain.
If you’ve seen dinosaurs, congratulations! Are you in Phayao Province! Keep left – there is an exit from the main road. Time for a selfie!
Anyway, if you go to Pu Chi Fa, then you go there overnight to see one of the most delightful sunrises in the world. This means you have a lot of time to explore other attractions that you will meet along the way. Why don’t you turn off the main road for a couple of hours?
Phayao Lake began from the collapse of the lithosphere about 70 million years ago. In the past, the area around Phayao Lake was the area where water from the mountains flowed into streams, rivers, and became small swamps during the dry season every year. Tens year ago the area of Phayao Lake was the urban area which had a lot of temples before. Later, when the Department of Fisheries created a water gate in Phayao to keep water, the temple was submerged in the area.
Bo Sip Song is a tourist attraction of Phayao Province. It is located at Village No. 16 (Moo 16), Ban Tom Sub-district, Mueang Phayao District. It is a forest and rock cliff. There have many large stones. There is a viewpoint as a cliff protruding (local people call it Phu Chee Fa Noi)
13° 37′ 48.576” N
100° 59′ 30.84” E
After you get to this point – follow the signs. First, you will have to drive on a dirt road, and at the very end you will need to walk about 500 meters. If there was no rain, the dirt road will be dry and you will have no trouble getting to your destination.
Located on top of Doi Busarakham, 20 kilometers west of the town of Phayao, Wat Analyo is renowned for its large seated Buddha image in classic Sukhothai style. The grounds of the temple are dotted with many more beautiful Buddha statues in different postures along with the Rattana Chedi in the Indian Bodh Gaya style and a Chinese pavilion housing Guan Yin Bodhisattva.
Before reaching several kilometers to Pu Chi Fa, you will encounter another waterfall. Located in the area of Doi Phu Sang National Park, Phu Sang is a famous small waterfall filled with warm water from the hot springs. You can even take a swim! There is also a natural warm water pond where the water temperature is around 35°C nearby.
19° 35′ 57.912” N
100° 19′ 23.556” E
Also located in the Phu Chi Fa area, this viewpoint offers views of the sea of mist. Visitors can pitch a tent in the camping area or find accommodations at one of many resorts in the area nearby.
According to Wiki, the height of the mountain is 1,442 meters (4,731 feet). The very top of the mountain offers a 360-degree, panoramic view of rare beauty. To see the sea of mist and to watch the sunrise, you will have to take a 1,5km hike up the mountain from Rom Fa Tong village, located next to the trail.
Your walk will have to begin early in the morning while it’s still dark, so you can welcome the first light of a new day. On the way down, among the wild Himalayan cherry trees, you can stop to watch the birds and study the nature around you.
If you want to meet the dawn on the top of the mountain, you will want to use this website to check the time of sunrise on the day in question at this link – https://firstname.lastname@example.org,100.4516864
Note that “sunrise” is the time when the sun has already risen above the horizon. Thus, to see the dawn, you need to climb to the top of the mountain about 1 hour earlier.
But do not forget that you will need time to prepare for the day and get from your guesthouse to the foot of the peak and climb to the top. If the sunrise is at 6 a.m., then to see the dawn you need to wake up at about 4 a.m. to be at the top of the mountain at 5 a.m. That is if the sunrise is at 6 a.m., then to see the dawn you need to wake up at about 4 a.m. to be at the top of the mountain at 5 a.m.
After dawn and sunrise, you can also see how the misty sea dissipates and the mountains that separate Thailand and Laos appear from the thick white fog.
The entire morning and round trip to the top of the mountain and back will take about 3.5-4 hours. Therefore, do not forget to bring drinking water and sandwiches with you to the top of the mountain.
This is the spot to enjoy the beauty of blossoming wild Himalayan cherry trees. There are more than 5,000 trees in the area. There is also a camping area where you can pitch your tent and toilet and other facilities provided for the tourists visiting Phu Chi Fa.
If you go a little further, after you pass Pu Chi Fa, you will reach the Phu Chi Dao viewpoint. Starting to go to the top of the mountain in Thailand, reaching the highest point you will find yourself in Laos. On the way to the top, you can take a picture with the border post, and then tell your friends about the illegal crossing of the state border of the country which they probably do not know about =)
Located near Phu Chi Fa, this is another spot that is perfect for an additional change to see the sea of mist and more wonderful scenic views against the backdrop of the Mekong river.
Correct point on Google maps 19.931140,100.519447
Image source: https://readme.me/p/28899
This is possibly the best viewpoint in the area. It offers a 360-degree view of the mountains and the misty sea. There are many places around that are perfect for your Facebook or Instagram photo report. And, most importantly, this place is not as popular as the top of Pu Chi Fa, and therefore there is a very high chance that no one else will be here. But there is one small caveat. You can only get here by SUV. You can hire a guide with an off-road vehicle at any local resort.
After visiting this delightful destination, you can head to Chiang Rai and continue your journey through northern Thailand.
Before you go to the Phu Chi Fa mountain, be sure to check the local weather forecast and take a rain jacket with you, just in case. Also, do not forget warm clothes if you spend the night in Phu Chi Fa camping.