Loei - Mountains in the Mist

Perhaps the biggest draw to the Northeast region of Thailand is the charming countryside, which includes several of the most attractive natural areas found in the country, as well as a number of national parks. Located amidst the mist, Loei is one of the most pristine destinations in the region, and ideal for nature lovers. Loei is also a place rich in history, and the cultural influences of long-lost civilizations are readily evident. In no area are these influences more obvious than in the architecture of the region, and Loei offers several good examples of this cultural influence, including dozens of temples, Buddha images and other charming works of art.

Phu Kradung National Park

Declared a national reserve forest in 1943, this bell-shaped mountain is recognized as one of Thailand's most romantic spots. At an elevation of 1,325 meters, and blanketed by shade, seasonal tropical and evergreen forests, this park boasts one of the most diverse eco-systems in the region. Pine, oak, beech, born-beam trees and two species of Australian conifer thrive in the park, as do several dozen species of wild animals. In addition, fields of wild violets, orchids, daisies and other wild flowers flourish on the surrounding hillsides.

Perhaps the most beautiful vista offered in the park can be found at Pha Nok Aen, a cliff which offers a wonderful view of the sunrise. Along the path to Pha Nok Aen is a large clump of wild roses. Another popular site is Pha Lom Sak, a sandstone ridge which is a favorite place for watching the sunset.

Many bungalows and tents are offered by the National Park Division, Royal Forestry Department, and a wide range of stalls selling food, beverages and consumer products are available. Prior reservations should be made to ensure availability.

Transportation to Phu Kradung National Park

By Train Trains depart daily from Hua Lampong Railway Station to Khon Kaen Province. From Khon Kaen take a bus to the market at Loei, in front of the Amphoe Phu Kradung Administrative Office, and then take a minibus to the office of the Phu Kradung National Park. Porters are available to carry your gear to the mountaintop for about 8 baht per kg.

By Bus There are buses available directly to Phu Kradung from the Northeastern Bus Terminal in Bangkok (Mo Chit).

By car Drive 70 kms from Loei along the Khon-Kaen - Loei Highway, and you will get to the Phu Kradung National Park Office.

Phu Rua National Park

Featuring an odd, boat-shaped rock cliff, this national park (Boat Mountain) consists of several sandstone peaks and a vast pine-covered mountain plateau. Elevated at a level of 1,375 m, and covering an area of 121 sq km, Phu Rua offers some breathtaking views, and a broad spectrum of natural flora and fauna. The top of Phu Rua also offers some truly spectacular views into the Lao countryside, as well as of the Heang and Khong Rivers. Popular natural attractions include Pha Lon Nai - a cliff offering a wonderful panoramic view of the sunrise, Pha Sup Thong or Pha Ku Lap Khaw (White Rose Cliff) - a very steep cliff teeming with white roses --and Huai Phai Waterfall - an eye-catching 30 meter-high waterfall. Tents and bungalows are available at the park and reservations can be made with the National Parks Department.

Phu Rua National Park can be reached by bus from Loei, and from the Lom Sak District of the Petchabun Province. Cars can also be hired, and is typically a much more convenient method of travel, as public transportation is difficult to find all the way from Loei to the park, especially on weekdays.

Phra That Si Song Rak Temple

Phra That Si Song Rak was constructed between 1560 and 1563 by King Chakraphat of Ayutthaya and King Chai Chetta of Lan Xang of Laos, in order to commemorate mutual collaboration between the two of Kingdoms. Over 30 meters high, Phra That Si Song Rak has a majestic chapel containing a gilded statue of the Buddha protected by a naga and a tall Laotian-style lotus-bud. Also noteworthy is a fascinating chedi with a gold motif at each corner. Annually attended by thousands of people, Phra That Si Song Rak is located on the bank of Man River, 83 km from Loei.

Article Source: http://www.discoverythailand.com

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