Fun fact: We bought the tickets on impulse – AirAsia had this huge sale and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity. So, prior to the trip, we actually had very little planning. That was why as we landed into Chiang Rai, there was only one place that we were looking forward to – and that was the mountain ranges surrounding Phu Chi Fa.
So after booking a homestay in Phu Chi Fa, came the next problem – how do we get there in the first place? Public transportation was non-existent (well there was a bus that took you from Central Chiang Rai to a village an hour away from Phu Chi Fa which only ran twice a day), we couldn’t figure out how to hire a taxi, and car rental was a little, well, risky, since we weren’t familiar with the terrain. Thankfully though, we had some connections and we contacted a couple who happened to be on break who agreed to take us to Phu Chi Fa and back to Chiang Rai for a reasonable fee.
Our Journey from the airport to our homestay near Phu Chi Fa took us about 3 hours. We took our time getting there since we stopped by at some cafés for coffee breaks and at a few vantage points to appreciate the scenery. I must say, on the way to Phu Chi Fa, the scenery and sights were some of the best I’ve ever seen in my life.
As we neared our homestay near Phu Chi Fa, we were greeted by tons of signs at a junction.
Our homestay was at a quiet cosy place on the side of a hill overlooking some valleys. On top of that, the environment was really comfortable since compared to Chiang Rai itself where the temperature averaged at about 30 degrees, at the area where we stayed, the temperatures dropped to about 25 degrees and down to below 20 at night (so yes, it was freezing at night).
That night, we agreed that we would set out at 5:30am the next day so that we could catch the sunrise at the peak of Phu Chi Fa.
Before we went to bed, given the low light pollution in the mountainous areas, my friend spent some time taking shots of the Milky Way. He had a professional camera while I only had a mobile phone, but it was so dark, my phone was able to capture a shape of the Milky Way.
Not only can you capture this with your camera, but if you let your eyes adjust to the darkness, you’ll be able to see the Milky Way. This was the first time in my life seeing the Milky Way with my very own eyes.
We set out as agreed at 5:30am. There was no street lighting and so our truck had to traverse in complete darkness to the base of Phu Chi Fa. From there, we climbed up a flight of steep steps and rough terrain to get to the peak of Phu Chi Fa. We were already tired from waking up really early, plus we got even more tired from climbing up; but the views we got at the top were beyond spectacular.
The mountain ranges where we were were considered to be the border between Thailand and Laos. So, on the other side we could see some Laotian villages. Unfortunately, there were some fires causing the environment to be hazy so we couldn’t get clear shots of the landscapes.
Other than some other tourists, there weren’t that many people there so it was really quiet and serene at the peak. That was until we met a couple of local Hmong Tribesman who were there to entertain us! By the way, if you’re ever coming here, don’t forget to leave a tip for them!
After spending a couple of hours appreciating the scenery and taking some shots, we headed back down to have an amazing breakfast back at out homestay. If you’re wondering, here’s the link to where we stayed. Teerawat was such an amazing host!
After breakfast, we took a ride back to central Chiang Rai to continue our travels. That would be a post for another time.
For more pictures, head over to my EyeEm!
For a montage of our climb to Phu Chi Fa, head here!