Khao Kho National Park, land with the story behind and the misty sea
Definitely, no one would miss mentioning to Khao Kho when we talk about where to go in Phetchabun. This beautiful region nestled in the lofty mountain range with the highest peak called “Khao Ya” with about 1,290 meters high above the sea level. While the summit of Khao Kho itself is a location of the remarkable memorial known as “Khao Kho Monument” which is approximately 1,174 meters in its height. The area is abundant with the local plant called “Ton Kho” (Ceylon Oak) or Livistona speciose that is the background of the name of this mount.
About Khao Kho National Park
Khao Kho is the name to call the land with the number of mountains of the Phetchabun Range. So-called the sea of the mount, the area contains many important mountains, including Khao Ya, Khao Kho, Khao Yai, Khao Takian Ngo, Khao Hin Tang Bat, Khao Huai Sai, Khao Um Prae, etc. where is plentiful of significant plant called “Ton Kho” that is a species of palm tree founds in Khao Kho area in general. The tree is special resulted from its trunk and leaf are similar to a sugar palm tree while the fruit is coconut brunch as betel nut.
Regularly, Khao Kho is a cold climate all through the year. In the past, the location was the strategic base of the communist terrorist in Thailand for more than a decade. Before the government’s armed force wiped out them, there’s a long-term battle that enormously lost in manpower, weapon, and nation domains from both parties.
Until in 1981, the government side applied the political welfare tactics to the fight, as well as intense and continuous military action resulted in succeed to control the Khao Kho area. And only bravely story of all heroes who sacrificed to save the country as the memorial story behind for the next generation to remembrance. Nonetheless, apart from the historical background of the place, Khao Kho also another fabulous location to watch the fantastic sea of fog. Especially in the rainy season it is the peak time of the year to enjoy the area blanketed with the gentle mist.
Winter: between November – February that the location is pretty cold.
Summer: approximately in February until the mid of May with temperature is about 21.93 degrees Celsius in the average.
Rainy Season: it is about mid of May to October in the estimate with the area tends to be high in the rain, about 1,425.75 mm per annum in approximate. It rains 126 days yearly of about 70% of the rain all year round.
The Story of Khao Kho National Park
“Khao Kho National Park” is a new national park covered the space of Lom Kao, Lom Sak, Khao Kho, and Muaeng Phetchabun district of the Phetchabun province or approximately 482.71 sq.km of space.
The forest sphere that proclaimed to be the national park is former Tantip Waterfall park. The place was reserved dated May 1, 1995, with the area about 14 sq.km within the property of Khao Po Lok Lon National Forest. And on February 15, 2000, according to the agreement of committee assigned to the chief of national forest to inspect the area in which it would be potential and appropriated to set up as the national park.
And on August 16, 2001, the National Division, the Royal Forestry Department assigned the official to inspect the land covered the area of Khao Po Lok Lon National Forest, Khao Pang Go National Forest, and Wang Chompoo National Forest. These sites are critical source of water of two significant watersheds which are Pa Sak Basin and Yom-Nan Basin. Consequently, the area including Ban Noen subdistrict in Lom Kao district, Nam Go, Nam Chun, Bung Nam Tao, and Bung Khla subdistrict in Lom Sak district. As well as, Tha Phon and Pa Lao subdistrict in Muaeng Phetchabun district and Khaem Son, Thung Samo, Rim Si Muang, Khao Kho, Sado Phong, and Nong Mae Na subdistrict in Khao Kho District, Phetchabun was announced to be Khao Kho National Park.
Various Natural Resources in Khao Kho
Khao Kho National Park is rich biodiversity of both plant and animal and fruitful natural resource and beautiful landscape, an ideal site for the tour, including waterfall, cave, cliff, viewpoint, a historical site where the battlefield of government’s force and communist terrorist in the past. Nowadays, the memorial of the troop who sacrificed the life in the fight, partially title of many villages and bridges within the national park named after the name or family name of those heroes. Apart from that, the park also the venue of Khao Kho Royal Palace that built to be the residence of HM King Bhumibol (King Rama IX) and Queen Sirikit during the royal visit to work and inspect the subjects in Khao Kho region in the past, too.
Today, the abundant and historical land already proclaimed officially to Khoa Kho National Park affected on May 18, 2012, that is the 125th national park of Thailand.
What to see in Khao Kho National Park?
Within the vast space of Khao Kho National Park is lush forest, fruitful agricultural plantation, also many accommodations and restaurants serving the tourists. Besides, lots of tourist attractions that you should put into your itinerary, for example;
Khao Kho Royal Palace
Khao Kho Royal Palace sited in Sado Phong subdistrict, Khao Kho district where the place is former a residence of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, as well as the working location during the royal visit to inspect the royal projects under H.M. initiative and the subjects within Khao Kho and other neighbored sites. The royal court consists of a group of buildings that is connectible in the crescent shape with the court official’s house adjoined the main building.
Around the area of the royal palace is delightful with the lovely garden filled with diverse kinds of ornamental plants and winter flowers with the tranquil atmosphere and cool breeze all through the year. Today, the venue allowed for the visitors to visit excepts inside the main building which reserved for the royal family.
Phra Borommathat Khao Kho (Khao Kho the Great Pagoda)
The grand chedi housed the Buddha’s relics on the top which the holy fossil was respectfully invited from Sri Lanka dated November 21, 1993. The significant stupa was built on the occasion to celebrate HM King Bhumibol’s Royal Jubilee, also to be the holy object for the Buddhist to worship. In any special Buddhist events, many Buddhist and tourists often gather here to pay homage to the Buddha’s relic and make merit, such as triple circumambulation (a Buddhist ceremony where people walk with lighted candles in hand around a stupa or ordination hall).
More than that, a replica of Luang Pho Tob, a venerable monk that is worshipful among Phetchabun people located next to the pagoda. And the beautiful garden with various winter flowers and plants around the holy structure, enhancing the beauty and sanctity of the place, indeed.
Khao Ya Mountain Scenic Point
This magnificent viewpoint located in Sado Phong subdistrict in Khao Kho region where the place is able to access via Khao Kho Royal Palace. Khao Ya Viewpoint is approximately 1,305 meters high above the sea level that is the highest peak of the district. The site features the stunning panoramic view of the mountainous landscape layered with the sea of fog.
Furthermore, a contemporary Thai pavilion called “Sala Phra Thep” situated over the scenic point that once it welcomed HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The path to reach the destination is quite challenging, about 770 meters distant with steep and rough surface in some spots. Therefore, anyone who would like to reach the point pleasantly should be in good health and pair of sneakers is a must.
Itti Combat Base (the Weapon Museum)
So-called another fantastic viewpoint in Khao Kho, also the venue is the strategic base of the operation to fight to the communist terrorists in the early days, too. Itti Combat Base currently serves as a learning center of weapon museum and opens to the public daily. Many armaments displayed within the area, for example, cannon, tank wreck, and other weapons used in the battlefield at Khao Kho. Also, the exhibition and presentation hall providing information for visitors, too. Itti Combat Base (the Weapon Museum) is THB10 for admission fee and to go to the place can travel on road number 2196 and then changes to road number 2323. Then, you move about 3 km more.
Khao Kho Sacrificial Monument
On the peak of Khao Kho Mount is the location of Khao Kho Sacrificial Monument that constructed to honor the bravery of civilian, policemen, and soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the strategic fringe of 3 provinces namely Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, and Loei between 1968 – 1982. The monument is a triangle structure made from marble which refers to the collaborative operation among official, policemen, and soldiers.
The width of its base is 11 meters means the year 2511 B.E. (1968 A.D.) that is the beginning of unrest situation caused by the communist terrorist. The height which is 24 meters tall from pedestal through the summit refers to 2524 B.E. (1981 A.D.) a starting point of time of the most strategic operation began, and 25 meters is the height from the platform through the top of monument is 2525 B.E. (1982 A.D.) that is the end of the war. And the width of each side of the platform is 2.6 meters means 2526 B.E. (1983 A.D.) which is the year of construction. Inside the wall are records, biography, and name of those who sacrificed life for the country.
Phra Borommathat Chedi Karnjanaphisek
Another significant Buddhist holy structure in this national park, The important stupa located on the top of Khao Kho Mountain next to “Vichamai Bunyaram Abbey.” On the summit of the pagoda enshrined the Buddha’s relic inside which was invited from Sri Lanka and bestowed by King Bhumibol (King Rama IX). The construction of this grand stupa is the cooperation of Ministry of Defense, government offices, officials, and the citizen of Thailand being a gift to celebrate in the occasion of HM King Bhumibol’s Royal Jubilee in 1996, and the King’s 6th Circle of Birthday Anniversary on December 5, 1999.
Significantly, Queen Sirikit presided over the opening ceremony dated February 7, 2000. Well, anyone who comes to Khao Kho should not miss to visit the holy site and pay homage to the Buddha’s relic and other sacred objects at the temple for luck. Additionally, the local believes that there is a long line of bells next to the pagoda that you will be blessed to have a long life is you strike all of them.
Not far from Khaem Son Village at about the 100th km burrstone on the highway number 12 that you will take the route 2196 in about more 3 km to meet the sign to enter a farm and drives more 3 km to the destination. B.N. Farm is a plantation of diverse temperate vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, lettuce iceberg, chayote, lettuce butterhead, strawberry, lychee, and more. And many cute blossoms of carnation, gladiolus, aster, etc. plus, lots of products for the tourist to shop both fresh and processed goods from the farm.
Si Dit Waterfall
A limestone waterfall with plenty of splashes all year round. In the past, the site used to be a shelter of the communist terrorist in Thailand, evidence of frail they created using waterfall force to work it. Si Dit Waterfall is a perfect place for your leisure time that you can come here for picnic or water playing with a shady and pleasant atmosphere. The location is accessible by the route 2196 until you arrive at the 17th burrstone and enters to the road number 2325 and about 10 km drive and turns right to the place.
The water preservative site is in Khao Kho subdistrict, Khao Kho district. Although it is a small reservoir with approximately 2,020,000 cubic meters of capacity but the place surrounded by pine forest and many other trees, cuddled by the lofty mountains with a wonderful environment. In particular in the winter season that the location being blanket with the layers of mist beyond the reservoir surface. A fantastic venue for you to chillax with a relaxed and pleasant climate throughout the year.
Khao Takian Ngo Viewpoint
A heart-taking scenic point sited on next to the roadside of Route 2258 in Nong Mae Na subdistrict well-known another prettiest spot to see the sea of fog in Khao Kho region. The fabulous scenery that allows you to see the towering mountains and abundant forest, also you can witness the sunrise here, too. The most perfect time to see the magnificent misty sea here is about 5.30am that definitely is worthwhile for the early bird.
Kang Han Lom Scenic Point (the Windmill Scenic Point)
Those of whom want to take spectacular shots with windmills backgrounded with the fantastic view seems like you are in abroad. Kang Han Lom Field (Thung Kang Han Lom) at Phetdam Village that is renowned in another title “Kang Han Lom Viewpoint, Khao Kho” is your goal. The beautiful land with up to 24 white windmills with more than a hundred meters tall each dominantly stood over the hill that environed by a sizeable grassy field. A paradise for one who loves photography with numerous photogenic corners for you to snap, plus the gentle cool air for you to take a deep breath. The viewpoint here opens to the public every day.
Khao Kho Post Office Viewpoint
Not only a landmark for the tourist to get a chance to send some postcard for beloved ones but Khao Kho Post Office also features the magnificent scenic point where is one of the popular spots to hunt the sea of fog scene in Khao Kho, too. Furthermore, the endless mountainous landscape for you to indulge in a happy moment with the fresh ozone.
Gong Niam Scenic Point
Another viewpoint on Khao Kho Mountain that you would be exciting. The venue is behind Wat Gong Niam in Khao Kho subdistrict provides a terrific scene of the sea of fog, especially in the morning that is pleasant climate, what will be better to witness the faint aurora is breaking at the horizon and shines through the soft misty blanket over the mountain. A really extraordinary experience to feel the beauty of nature for once in a lifetime.
Ban Rai Ai Oon
An agritourism site located in Khao Kho subdistrict where is well-known as the organic strawberry plantation certified with GAP, the first place in the region. The farm opens to the visitors presents a highlight which is the strawberry maze that would be thrilled for the tourists to entertain while you are strolling about the land and collecting luscious strawberries fresh from the farm.
How to go to Khao Kho National Park
Drives on route 12 (Saraburi – Lom Sak) until arrive Na Ngua Trisection with is about 13 km. Then, makes the left turn along with road number 2258 and passes Noen Mahassajan and agricultural productivity market viewpoint and you reach Sado Phong junction. To go straight is the way to go to Khao Kho Royal Palace while the right path leads you to road number 2196 to pass intersection on the right to International Library Khao Kho. So, you keep moving to Roen Rudee Intersection and turns left are the Weapon Museum and Khao Kho Sacrificial Monument. After that you will meet Khao Kho District Administrative Office, government offices, and Phra Borommathat Chedi Karnchanaphisek, and B.N. Farm, respectively.
By Public Transport:
Pick-up Truck service
From Phetchabun Town, the pick-up truck travel on route Phetchabun – Khao Kho that charges about THB50 – 60 per trip. The way passes Noen Mahassachan, Viewpoint at Agricultural Productivity market, Ruen Rudee Trisection, International Library Khao Kho, and destined stop at Pattana Market is some distant across Khao Kho District Administrative Office. For the foreign tourists If you would like to take the tour around Khao Kho area, you’d better get the charter service for your journey since it’s more convenient with the price about THB700 – 800 per day in the estimate.
From Lom Sak – Khao Kho
You can get the pick-up truck service route Lom Sak – Khaem Son and getting off at Khaem Son Trisection with the charge is THB 10 – 20 per trip. The journey passes B.N. Farm and destines at Khao Kho District Administrative Office. As same as aforementioned, the charter service is more convenient for the tourists who want to take a tour in Khao Kho area with about THB700 – 800 per day.
Hiring the Vehicle
The tourist can hire the pick-up truck service in the town of Phetchabun (at the front of Wat Mahathat), Na Ngua Trisection, or the gangway of Khaem Son Village at the 100th burrstone. The truck is taking you to travel and stop by at any particular tourist sites with the fee is between THB600 – 900 per day (the price subjected to change). Its capacity is 10 – 12 passengers per car in the estimate.
The vehicle for the journey to Khao Kho district
Recommendation regarding the car to take to Khao Kho region since it’s plenty of curvy, narrow, and steep path along the route so it’s limited for large size of the vehicle which may risk in safety. The recommended one is pick-up truck or van with high performance and please check up the car before journey especially brake and clutch.
Unbelievably, a small district in Phetchabun like Khao Kho contains numerous tourist attractions, in particular, some of the most fabulous venues to watch the beautiful sea of fog in Thailand. Whether summer, rain, or cold, Khao Kho is so fantastic for you to visit, indeed.