The sea of fog
Published/Last edited or updated: 4th June, 2017
A series of breathtaking viewpoints on a ridge just west of Phanoen Thung Camp are probably the most popular attractions in Kaeng Krachan.
Every morning before dawn, Park Headquarters buzzes with mostly Thai travellers waiting for pick-up trucks to carry them up the mountain for views of talay mok, the “sea of fog” that turns jungle-draped peaks into islands.
The largest viewpoint affords a magnificent western vista of layered mountains that seem to stretch on forever. At first light the fog arrives as isolated pillows nestled in the valleys, or as a contiguous torrent of white that really does look like a sea. Most visitors relax on the benches before continuing a few kilometres further west to two more viewpoints with southerly views that are equally stunning.
Naturalists will appreciate the array of foliage that sways in the mountain breeze. Keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey that like the higher altitudes, such as the rufous-bellied eagle. Starting just south of the campground, the short “orchid trail” might provide glimpses of the collared babbler, blue-throated barbet and great hornbill. While the viewpoints get crowded from around 07:00 to 08:00, most visitors head back down the mountain at 09:00.
The campground, nature trail and viewpoints are all located on Phanoen Thung Mountain, but to reach the 1,207-metre summit you’ll have to employ rangers to lead you on a two-day, 16-kilometre expedition. The rangers at Phanoen Thung Camp told us they would have to assess weather conditions and meet potential trekkers before committing. They would not quote us a price for the trek.
A round trip to Phanoen Thung by pick-up from Park Headquarters or Ban Krang Camp costs 1,600 baht for the morning and 1,800 baht for a full day. You’ll have to meet the driver at around 05:00 to make it to the viewpoints between 07:00 and 08:00, before the sea of fogs clears out. If you don’t head back down before 10:00, you will have to wait until 16:00 to leave Phanoen Thung due to the limited road opening times. Consider adding a trek to Thor Thip Waterfall if spending the day up here.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.