Thick forests, rolling hills, and steep mountain ranges have earned Phetchabun a reputation for being the “Little Switzerland” of Thailand.
National Parks and tiered waterfalls abound here, and not surprisingly trekking is one of the most popular activities for guests on luxury tours of Thailand. Khao Kho National Park’s cool weather and alpine topography are largely responsible for earning the “Thai Alps” nickname. Nam Nao National Park’s borders shelter tigers, Malaysian sun bears, boards, and elephants, which can be spotted while hiking through the well-tended trails.
Si Thep Historical Park protects what remains of a 10th century Khmer-style city that held way over the region as the first Thai Kingdoms emerged from the thick forests and mountains of Northern Thailand. So far, 70 structures have been uncovered by excavation, and many of them have been restored by park staff.
Best Time to Visit Phetchabun:
Rains falling from June through October make the jungles particularly lush, and the wildlife in under the canopy is generally more active this time of year in the many national parks. March to May has the highest temperatures, but the weather is brisk compared to lower elevations farther south. Phetchabun’s best weather falls between November and January.
How to get to Phetchabun:
The capital of Phetchabun Province in the lower portion of Northern Thailand, Phetchabun Town can be reached by private vehicle from Bangkok.
With diverse wildlife and stunning mountain views, Phetchabun is a worthy stop on the road north to the cultural capital Chiang Mai.
Western-wear is fine in town, but if you’re heading into the park to explore the ruins dress for a hike.