Around 20 km further south past Khlong Lan village, Route 1117 ends at Mae Wong National Park -- not to be confused with Mae Wang National Park in Chiang Mai province.
A remote 894 square km of pristine forest that stretches all the way south into Nakhon Sawan province and west to Tak's Umpang district, Mae Wong is worth the effort if you want to get way out into the wilderness. While the park includes several waterfalls, the best require a two-night, three-day trek to reach. If you can manage that, the falls at Mae Gee crash over a 200 metre-high cliff, making it one of Thailand's tallest. Not quite as dramatic, Mae Rewa waterfall flows over a sloped rocky face into a wide pool that's great for swimming. Smaller falls and rapids can be found several km down a narrow, partially paved road that runs through a valley rimmed on either side by mountains covered in old growth jungle.
Also within the park's boundaries is the formidable Khao Mokoju mountain, which soars to 1,964 metres and requires a five-day trek to the summit. A more manageable viewpoint is Chong Yen, reputed to be an outstanding sunset perch located 28 km from park headquarters along the only road. Along the way you might catch a glimpse of wild jackal, porcupine, 450 bird species and rare flowers that grow in the high altitudes.
Camping, basic accommodation, a restaurant and a small hot spring pool are available near park headquarters. A helicopter landing pad draws attention to just how remote Mae Wong is. If visiting by car or motorbike, you'll need to fill out a form at headquarters before heading further into the park. Still, if you have enough gas in your vehicle and enough time in the day, the park is worth a trip to experience pristine jungle at this seriously "out there" destination. It's also an excellent camping spot if you've more time to spare. Although maps and brochures are only provided in Thai, rangers at the visitor centre can speak limited English and it's possible to arrange guided treks.
How to get there
There is no public transport to the park. If heading to Khlong Lan waterfall with your own wheels, simply follow the signs further south along Route 1117 to Mae Wang National Park. The road ends at the park's front gates, from where it's another 9 km to the visitor centre. Admission is 200 baht for foreigners who aren't residents of Thailand.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 2nd December, 2014.