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Mukdahan National Park

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Established in 1984, Mukdahan National Park (also known as Phu Pha Thoep National Park) is known for its bizarre shaped rocks resembling giant mushrooms, not unlike what you would see in a 'Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner' cartoon.

Five hundred metres beyond the rock plateau with the most oddly shaped rock formations (a five-minute walk from the park office) is a small shrine and after walking for another 500 metres you'll reach a very pleasant lookout from where you can see the Mekong River and most likely a nice little pocket of illegal rice cultivation.

Besides the bizarre rocks, Mukdahan National Park also plays host to a cave with a Buddha image that was historically a popular meditation spot for wandering forest monks, prehistoric rock art (as in Pha Taem National Park in Ubon Ratchathani Province) and supposedly some wildlife, though all we saw of that were lizards and birds.

At the height of the wet season it's worth heading to an impressive waterfall some three kilometres from the visitor centre. A few roofed pavilions along the trail provide shady spots for a respite, but be sure to bring plenty of water as the landscape is barren and it gets very hot at midday.

Aside from the waterfall a couple of other minor trails snake around for hiking and according to the park officers, if they have the time, they'll be happy to show you around.


Getting there
Although it would be a tiring day, you could bicycle all the way to the park. The park turn-off is 15 kilometres south of Mukdahan town -- take Samut Sakdarak Road south and keep on going past Mukdahan Tower until you see the turn-off, which is clearly marked with English and Thai signs.

Otherwise, you can catch a blue songthaew anywhere along Samut Sakdarak Road. The songthaews run frequently throughout the day and should be relatively easy to flag down for the return trip. The cost is 10 baht to the national park and it's a half-kilometre walk from the main road to the visitor centre. Alternately, you could pay a tuk tuk around 300 baht to do a return trip.



Text and/or map last updated on 31st January, 2013.

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