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Phu Chee Fah

Travel Guide

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The stunning viewpoint of Phu Chee Fah has been long popular with Thai tourists, but remains little known amongst western travellers. On a clear morning, the views out and over a vast stretch of mist swathed Laos, are absolutely breathtaking.

Set in a remote part of the Thai-Lao border in eastern Chiang Rai province, the view from the summit of 1,628m stretches over a vast stretch of Sainyabuli province in Laos. The view is best at dawn on a clear day, when the valley below fills with mist -- November to February is considered the best time of the year to visit.

There are a bunch of guesthouses and camping is also available, but the difficult part is getting here -- you really need your own transport -- either motorbike or car -- to reach Phu Chee Fah.

Phu Chee Fah can be approached from Wiang Kaen in the north or Thoeng in the south, with the latter being the more popular route taken.

If you choose to approach from Wiang Kaen, expect some stunning mountain scenery and some moderately challenging road conditions. Also, if you choose this route, the more northern viewpoint of Doi Patang is also worth visiting.

If travelling by motorcycle, you're best to do this route with others as if you have a problem with your bike you could be stranded for a long time -- very little traffic uses this road -- though it is about 95% sealed.

There are three areas around Phu Chee Fah with guesthouses, one about 2km north of the final turnoff to the summit a second solitary guesthouse about 1.5km north of the turnoff and the other about 500m south of the final turnoff.

On weekends most places are open, but midweek, many are closed and food opportunities may be limited. From the turn-off it is another km to the parking area, then a 700m hike to the summit.

You can reach Phu Chee Fah by motorbike from either Chiang Rai or Chiang Khong, with both trips taking around 3-4 hours. For those with their own transport, an overnight visit to Phu Chee Fah is highly recommended.

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Text and/or map last updated on 11th August, 2009.

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