Phu Ruea National Park, Loei. Thailand
The province of Loei in Thailand has so many special places to visit. Many foreign visitors do not know about Loei. That is such a shame, because they are missing out. In this article I present one of those great places, Phu Ruea National Park.
I love the province of Loei, it has so many beautiful places and interesting things to do. It is very diverse. It is also off the main tourist route so not that many tourists get to see it. With it being off the main trail you find that the Thais living in Loei love to see foreigners and greet them with a genuine smile. In my article I talk about where Phu Ruea National Park is and what there is to see and do there.
Where is the Phu Ruea National Park?
Phu Ruea National Park is situated in the district town of Phu Ruea, which is approximately 50 kilometres from Loei town centre. If you are staying in Loei and want to get to Phu Ruea, then you can get there by bus or hire a taxi. The Loei to Phitsanulok bus passes through Phu Ruea. This bus leaves Loei at 10.00, 12.00 and 14.30. The bus leaves from the main bus terminal in Loei. This bus actually comes from Udon and passes through Loei. Once you get to Phu Ruea you will then need to find transport to the National Park.
Where is the entrance to the National Park?
There is a side road off the main highway that leads to the entrance of the National Park. As you come in from the direction of Loei, you will see a side road to the right. This side road is shortly after you pass a large government building.
The main highway through Phu Ruea has a central reservation so you if you are driving, you will need to take the next u-turn.
As you enter this side road, you still have to go a little way before you arrive at the entrance gate for the National Park. It is here that you will need to pay the entrance fee. At the time of writing this article, the fee for foreign visitors was 200 baht. Please take this as a guide only. This fee may change at anytime.
After paying the fee and entering the park. Then you have a road that is quite steep and narrow. If you have transport then you can drive to almost the top of the park. About one kilometer before the peak there is a car park. No vehicles can go beyond this point.
If you chose to walk to the top, you can follow the main road or you can follow the trail off the main road.
Just before this main car park is the parks visitor center. If you need to get information, maps, leaflets or souvenirs, then the visitor center is the place for that.
The large car park also has a few market stalls selling souvenirs, food and drinks. There are toilet facilities here, too.
Here is the Phu Ruea National Park on google maps. To get a better view, click on the ‘view larger map’ text within the map.
How do I get to the top?
To get to the top from the car park you can either walk or there’s a shuttle service. The shuttle service will drive the last one kilometer and drop you off at the peak. There is a small fee for this service.
If you choose to walk, it’s only one kilometer and the trail is very good and not so steep. It’s a very pleasant walk with very nice views. At the peak there is also a large bell and a sign to tell you that you have reached the peak. you will always find many people around this sign taking pictures to prove that they have been to the top. If you want to get your own photo, then you may have to wait a bit.
When you reach the top, there are many great places to take pictures. Just be careful, there is no fence along the cliff top edge, just warning signs.
Can I camp in Phu Ruea National Park?
Yes, you can camp at the park. You need to contact the visitor center near the main car park and talk to the park rangers that work in there. They have tents and camping equipment for rent or you can pay for a space to put your own tent. At the time of writing this article the charge for renting a tent was 150 baht and the charge for bedding was 50 baht. You would need confirm the prices with the park rangers at the park.
The area for camping has toilet and shower facilities. There is also a little restaurant to get something to eat.
The months of December and January are very cold on the peak. Be sure to take warm clothing for the cold nights.
Just a word of warning, at New Year the park is very very busy. If you plan to go camping on Phu Ruea National Park, you will probably need to get there a few days before New Year or try avoid the New Year period and go when it is not so busy.
How high is Phu Ruea?
Phu Ruea National park is 1365 metres above sea level. The temperatures are cool on the peak throughout the year. Phu Ruea National Park is said to be the coolest place in Thailand. At the peak is a big display board showing the current temperature on the peak. It is in December and January that this board gets a lot of interest. Especially when it drops to zero degrees or less.
How much time do I need to see everything?
Due to the easy access to the peak, Phu Ruea National park can be visited in half a day or less so is a great way to start your day and have the afternoon to visit other attractions that are close by such as PA Ban Huai Lat temple, Chateau De Loei winery or Huai Krathing.
If you have ever been to Phu Ruea National park or have any questions about it. Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below in the comment box. I look forward to reading them.