Thong Pha Phum National Park in Kanchanaburi is often overlooked due to its remote location, but its well worth the effort to get there. The undiscovered park features caves, waterfalls, tin mines, and vast jungles stretching into Burma. A popular activity is to stay the night in Tarzan huts located in the parks headquarters, the hut’s look over the jungle canopy and provide a unique way of getting close to nature. A large campsite is also located with the headquarters with viewing areas looking out across the mountainous jungle.
The fertile forests of Thong Pha Phum connect to neighboring Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, and then on to Hua Kha Khaeng, Mae Wong, and Umphang wildlife sanctuary’s. The whole area forms one of the largest protected areas in South East Asia and is home to avast array of valuable plants and wildlife. Also connecting with Thong Pha Phum are Sai Yok National Park, Khao Laem National Park and the mysterious wilderness over the border in Myanmar.
Tarzan Huts and Accommodation
The parks headquarters have accommodation in the form of simple wooden huts with excellent views of the surrounding jungle. Tarzan huts are also available which are high up in the tree canopy and offer even more spectacular views and the feeling of being close to nature. Tarzan huts can booked on arrival to the park. There are also several other larger bungalows to rent as well as the tree-houses and huts.
Wooden huts overlooking the jungle at Thong Pha Phum National Park
Camping at Thong Pha Phum National Park
There is a large campground at Thong Pha Phum National Park headquarters, tents and camping equipment are available to hire from the lodge. The campground is located in a forest at the edge of a cliff overlooking the jungle. There are 3 or 4 viewing platforms nearby with fantastic jungle views. The camping area is huge, with plenty of flat spaces to pitch a tent. There are also toilet and shower facilities, and although basic they are sufficient for all but the most fussy campers.
Mike from Thailand Adventure Guide camping at Thong Pha Phum campground
Thong Pha Phum Waterfalls
Jok Ka Din Waterfall drops 30 metres down a sheer cliff face into a pool of water and is spectacular during the wet season between July and October, the waterfall is located around 3 kilometers from the parks headquarters down a road which has been recently renovated for easy access. Khao Yai is another large waterfall with three levels, other waterfalls in the park include Dip Yai, Bi Teng, Chet Mit and PhaPae. Many of the waterfalls can only be reached by a guided tour lead by the parks rangers.
Jok Ka Din waterfall is easily reached from the parks headquarters
Trekking to Khao Chang Phueak
Khao Chang Phueak is the parks highest point, it is possible to join a trekking/hiking trip to its peak in the dry season from November-February. Nern Sao Thong marks the Thai-Burma border and offers a great vantage point, on a clear day, the Andaman sea can be seen from here. Treks to Khao Chang Phueak are strictly controlled by the national park who limit the amount of visitors per day. To arrange a trek it is recommended to contact the national park first. Thailand Adventure Guide will be offering treks to Khao Chang Phueak for the high season in 2017.
Patcha from Thailand Adventure Guide looking out to Khao Chang Phueak
Somsak mine is located along a very rough dirt road accessed from the main road running through Thong Pha Phum National Park. The mine is now disused but used to be a busy tin mine around 40 years ago. Now the mine’s main house is used as a homestay run by Glennis Setabandhu who is an Australian lady married to the mines owner Somsak Setabandhu. Somsak has sadly passed away but Glennis, affectionately known as “Auntie Glennis”, runs the homestay in a remote location in the middle of the jungle. The homestay is a very quirky and is like stepping into a museum, Glennis bakes delicious cakes which are a great reward for those who make the effort to get there. The homestay can only be accessed by 4wd vehicles with high clearance.
Somsak Mine homestay, located deep in the jungle down a very rough dirt road
How to get to Thong Pha Phum National Park
Thong Pha Phum National Park is located around 200 kilometers northwest of Kanchanaburi town and around 65 kilometers from the district center of Thong Pha Phum. The park covers a total area of 1,120 square kilometers.
We recommend hiring a car or motorbike from Kanchanaburi town and making your own way there. It is possible to get there by bus but you need your own transport to properly explore the area. For a real adventure, hire an off road motorbike, honda crf 250’s are available to hire from Maenamkwai road which is Kanchanaburi’s tourist centre.
To get to Thong Pha Phum, take the main road 323 heading north out of Kanchanaburi, after around 130 kilometers you will arrive at Thong Pha Phum district. Turn left onto the 3272, you will then see a small town on the right where it is advisable to stock up on any food or other essentials needed for your trip, there are no 7 elevens or other convenience stores inside the park. You will then pass Vajiralongkorn Dam (Khao Leam Dam) which is worth a look as it has great views of Khao Laem Reservoir. From here follow the 3272 which will gradually get more and more exiting and turn into a classic Thai mountain road offering great views along the way. The journey from Thong Pha Phum town could take 2 hours or more depending on how many times you stop to admire the views.
Photo Guide – Thong Pha Phum National Park
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