Phu Chi Fa Mountain (or Phu Chee Fah Mountain) is among the highest peaks of the Doi Pha Mon mountain area, which serves as a physical boundary between Thailand and Laos. It is situated in the province of Chiang Rai’s Thoeng subdistrict. The high pinnacle of the mountain, which rises into the sky at dawn and is encircled by an unending sea of mist, is where the mountain gets its name. The beauty of the mountain is beyond words, and its romantic atmosphere exceeds any trip to a peak in Europe.
Thailand‘s northeastern section is home to the magnificent mountain scenery known as Phu Chi Fa. It is most certainly the greatest dawn sight in all of Thailand, according to the few select visitors who have undertaken the lengthy journey to Phu Chi Fa! The site lies along the Thai-Laos border, providing wide views over the undulating mountain slopes that extend far into Laos. Many people consider Phu Chi Fa, Thailand, to be a fantastic opportunity to see the sea of mist from above as the sun rises, illuminating the clouds with a golden tint.
Sea of Mist Viewpoint
I advise departing early to obtain the greatest views, whether you’re traveling from Chiang Rai or staying in the adjacent hamlet. If you’ve never seen the dawn over the sea of mist, this is a chance not to be missed. A cliff in Laos’s Doi Pha Mon sub-range faces the Mekong River and is home to the Phu Chi Fa viewpoint. The mountains, valleys, and rivers of Laos may be seen in great detail if you hang around a bit after sunrise or on an exceptionally clear day.
There are many rooms for everyone to spread out and choose a position to view the dawn because the cliff’s top is long and flat. People continue to swarm the main area, nevertheless, for some reason.
We advise arriving in the late afternoon and staying the night here because the sunset is also fairly spectacular. The next morning, you may watch the sunrise from here. Phu Chi Fah offers fantastic views all throughout the day, not only at sunrise and sunset. The mountains of Laos may be seen when the outlines of the winding valleys and the far horizon can be seen.
Advice on Getting Ready for Phu Chi Fah
Start your ascent of the peak before sunrise. You will arrive at the summit just in time to witness the sun rise over the horizon. You may visit at every time you want, but now is the finest time to see the dawn when the mist dissipates.
Although the nation is famed for its tropical environment, the summit of the mountain can be cool, so dress warmly and comfortably. Closed-toed shoes are recommended because the trek can be rough and occasionally muddy if you go during the wet season. The main street at the bottom of the hill is lined with vendors offering warmer products in case you need extra layers. Take snacks with you or stop at an early-morning food stand for a bowl of rice porridge, a typical Thai breakfast, if you want to eat on the go.
How to get there
Although the mountain’s summit is 1442 meters above sea level, getting there doesn’t involve any hiking. In a typical Thai manner, a road has been constructed almost all the way to the peak, so you may ascend mostly by vehicle or motorcycle.
We advise splitting up the journey and staying the night in Chiang Rai because Phu Chi Fah is about a 6-hour drive (non-stop) from Chiang Mai. This presents an opportunity for you to tour the area around Chiang Rai. You might also plan a trip to Phu Chi Fa and rent a car and driver from Chiang Mai.
1. Rent a Vehicle or Bicycle
However, we only advise experienced drivers to self-drive a vehicle or motorcycle to Phu Chi Fah. The route from Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fah is in decent shape throughout, but the final 30 minutes are on a winding road with many potholes. As a result, we advise hiring a local driver who is acquainted with the area’s traffic patterns and driving habits.
From Chiang Rai’s Terminal 1 bus terminal, a minivan leaves every day. To guarantee a spot, arrive at least 1.5 hours before departure time, as the minivan tends to fill up quickly. The van often leaves at noon and takes about 3.5 hours to reach the police checkpoint in Phu Chi Fa town.
All cars must be parked at the car park at the foot of the hill because there is no road leading up to the viewpoint. The viewpoint, which is probably crowded with Thai visitors, is reached after a brief 30-minute steep uphill hike.
When to Visit
The winter months of November through February are the ideal time to travel to Phu Chi Fa. You will then be treated to the famously misty morning vistas. The region and the vistas will then be crowded with large groups of Thai visitors. Despite being open all year round, some of the guesthouses and neighborhood eateries in Phu Chi Fah close when it’s not busy, such as in the summer and early fall.
Phu Chi Fa Accommodation
The majority of the mountain’s approach routes are lined with small and large resorts. However, there are three main areas where lodging is concentrated: Pathang Hamlet, which is at the northernmost point of the range; a cluster near the northernmost point of the two trails leading to the Phu Chee Fah viewpoint; and Rom Fah Thai village, which has a wide choice of lodging options.
The former offers a smaller selection but some excellent discounts and is a nicer, calmer area to stay in. The second group is the closest to the actual viewpoint, making it probably preferable if you don’t have transportation. However, it is fairly remote (there is no hamlet here), has no food shops, and has no cafés. The majority of the lodging options in Rom Fah Thai Village are within a short stroll of the bustling village’s eateries and stores, which boasts by far the widest selection.
Making a reservation in advance is preferable because Phu Chi Fa guesthouses tend to fill up quickly during the peak season (Nov-Feb). For foreign visitors, this might not be easy because there isn’t much information available regarding lodging in English, and very few guesthouses have websites. If you manage to get in touch with a guesthouse, they will likely not speak much English. In addition to mentioned cases listed below are a few inns that accept internet reservations:
- Ban Pak Phu Chee Fah Resort
- Phu Mok Doi Mai Resort
You may also just show up early the day before to try your luck at getting a room. For those willing to spend a night in the chilly conditions, several of the guesthouses provide camping spots on their grounds where they offer tents and blankets.
Where is Phu Chi Fa?
In northeastern Thailand, Phu Chi Fa lies near the Laos border at the northern extremity of the Phu Pan Nam Range, about two hours from Chiang Rai. From Chiang Rai, a lengthy, winding, and mountainous route takes you to Phu Chi Fa. A moped can carry you the full trip as the road is sealed. To climb up hills, though, especially if you’re carrying a passenger, I’d suggest choosing one with a little more power.