The spectacular Phu Lang Ka is perched on the side of a mountain that looks down into a valley with a couple of limestone outcrops of the same type that grace destinations like Krabi, Vang Vieng and Ha Long Bay. Nowhere else though can you observe them from an elevated position like this.
Dawns bring a valley filled with fluffy mist pierced by the outcrops, and the sole guesthouse here provides a serene and very beautiful spot worth the effort of visiting if you have the time.
The accommodation is basic -- we're being generous -- very basic, but it doesn't matter. The lodgings could be a sheet of tin leaning against a wall and it would still be worth coming here -- the views are just that special.
When we visited, the staff had all manner of trekking ideas -- scribbled on the backs of sheets of paper -- it was all very slap-dash. That said, the setting really is amazing and we'd expect the trekking to be equally so. You'll just need to expect a pretty rough and ready trekking experience.
Very little English is spoken, but the food, and the good humour, more than compensated.
If you're looking to really get off the beaten track, you're in the right locale.
Phu Lang Ka is located around 33 km from Chiang Kham, just before the village of Ban Pang Ma O, on the way to Song Khwae and Tha Wang Pha on Route 1148.
By Stuart McDonald.