Khao Kho + 3 Resorts Review, Ozone View, Phuphan Lodging, The Visa
This article is all about the area of Khao Kho National Park, the sites to visit and the three small resorts we stayed at. I also mention a great place where you should eat once there and the nonexisting nite life.
An extended weekend trip to the Khao Kho National Park in Phetchabun Thailand
On Friday the 20. 10. 17 we left our beloved Dragonfly Farm Resort for an exploring expedition to the mountains of Khao Kho. We knew it was a special weekend for Thai people but we also knew the high season did not really start yet. On Saturday we were a bit surprised at the huge number of people visiting the rather small area at the same time.
We first had some business to take care of in Phetchabun before we entered the park around 3 pm on Friday. We drove the adventurous smaller street 2196 off highway 21 a bit behind Ban Cho Phrueksa. Google still has the old number (2258) of the road which has changed last year. To drive back into the hills is great fun as it is quite a rollercoaster ride.
I never saw as many motorbikes hitting the road at the same time and place as I did the next two days. I am going to do the trip on my bike the next time too. It’s really fun to take the steep curves and slopes. A bit of a party killer was the weather. The rainy season is really never ending this year and it kept changing from heavy rain to sunny skies.
Once we reached Ban Khao Ya we didn’t take the turn to the right but went straight and made the longer route to get to the actual center of the region. Once we reached Ban Nong Mae, driving through the beautiful nature we turned to Khao Kho on 2325.
Slowly getting hungry again we reached the small Sri Dit Waterfall inside the forest where many food stands and restaurants invite to eat grilled food and rice. Two friendly ladies served us very tasty grilled fish and pork with som-tam and sticky rice. We were the only people there and until now I thought we came too early in the season and would find the place abandoned. We were to learn better the next day.
As it started getting dark and rainy again we decided to check into the next resort along the road. There are hundreds of guesthouses and
resorts to choose from but we were lucky to find a friendly place called Ozone View on top of a small hill.
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Khao Kho Ozone View Review
We found a fairly nice room for two on the first floor for 1000Baht. The room was clean, no Air condition but a fridge, hot shower, and TV. Another hour or so it was a pleasure to sit on the balcony, enjoy the great view and have few beers. That was really relaxing and no mosquitoes were there to disturb the peaceful evening. The place was very quiet at night and I had a deep, undisturbed sleep.
The owners are a friendly couple who offered to use the whole outside compound to sit here or there and served a nice rice soup with eggs and instant cafe for breakfast.
There is free WIFI and parking space in front of the room available and a small shop sells snacks and drinks just a few meters away.
In the morning, the thing to do is to go up to higher grounds and enjoy the sea of fog. From the Ozone View, it is only a five minutes drive to reach the nicest places where you can look over the valley.
The Sea of Fog is the main attraction of Khao Kho and also the reason the place is called as it is. Khao Kho means island mountains, which is how it looks like when fog covers the lower areas and only the peaks of the mountains stand out and look like islands in a sea of fog.
There is no guarantee to see this phenomenon but we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of how it could look like during an optimal situation.
Why do I recommend the Ozone View?
It is a friendly place in a nice, quiet location. The rooms are quite big for the price and it is very clean.
My Cost-Benefit Ratio is 8 out of 10
Out of my three choices, it comes second because: The breakfast isn’t overwhelming, a private space to have a BQ isn’t provided and it’s just not as lovely as number one.
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Day two in Khao Kho
After running around to find the best spot where we could see the fog in the valley it was about time to drink a nice real cafe. Around the tourist center, where we were at the moment there are several places that serve a good fresh cafe.
A bit annoying for me was, although the shops have no walls and wind flows through everywhere it is not allowed to smoke while drinking cafe. Anyway, I had a cup of cappuccino, which tasted really nice too and costs a fortune, 85 Baht, more than two simple meals. And I had to sit in the sun outside because I wanted a cig with it.
Next thing, we checked out at the Ozone View and went to see some friends that sell sweet potatoes near another site where hundreds of Thai tourists gather and enjoy the “fantastic view” of huge wind turbines. We had a lunch there which wasn’t that great but cheaper than the cafe and asked for advice, on where to stay for the next night.
Now we learned of the extent of masses of people from all over the country that came here for exactly this weekend. I did not see a single foreign tourist during these three days but cars from everywhere in Thailand stuffed the roads and let me think I am in a big city. Imagine diving over a small mountain road, 1.5 lanes and being stuck in a traffic jam. Not even the relatively cool climate could help not getting nervous and boiled in the midday sun.
It turned out to be almost impossible to find another place for the night. All was full. A pretty resort we found was full too but we managed to make a reservation for the next night. After looking the whole afternoon, we slowly realized the size of the whole area to be not that big. We drove back and forth the same streets over again and stopped at least for 20 resorts to find not a single room or just one that did not fulfill our demands.
Like that the second day passed by and it already started getting dark and rainy. Luckily a friend of ours, we contacted by phone recommended a place not easy to find. In the end, it turned out to be quite romantic, not expensive and had one last room available.
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Phuphan Lodging Review
The place is right along the main road but hidden behind many fruits shops and covered by tall trees that, once inside give the place a peaceful ambiance. There are about 15 small bungalows built about twenty years ago. We got the nicest one, a bit bigger and built of wood for only 800 Baht. The boss, a nice guy, let us in and switched on the air condition and TV and made sure we had everything we needed.
Here you find no food or shop close by. No breakfast either. WIFI and parking in front of the room are included. There is also a fridge and hot water for a shower. The toilet has a seat but no flushing system, you flush with water from a tank inside the bathroom.
The room was really small, maybe 9m² but quite clean and pretty furnished. The small porch in front could not be used as it was raining.
My Cost-Benefit Ratio is 6.5 out of 10
For reservation call directly to Elvis: +66 081-6801215 or +66 086-0060812 or contact me: email@example.com
Out of my three choices, it comes last because: Rooms are small and old, no breakfast or shop close by, small porch and no place for BQ but its cheap.
Dinner at the Laab Bet Udon Restaurant
A really joyful experience after this rather boring day of being stuck in traffic was the dinner.
At the edge of the small town of Ban Thung Samo where you also find a gas station and the only 7Eleven in the area, we found this very delicious restaurant. It is Thai food only like I guess all the restaurants in Khao Kho but prepared especially good.
We had a tom yum gai nam sai (clear chicken meat soup), pad pet hom (mushroom dish) and laab bet (minced spicy duck) together with steamed rice. It was a dream and we ate almost everything they served and that was a lot.
The dishes were made fresh and right before our eyes. The fresh mushrooms are served with sweet sauce and some vegetables. The laab was very tasty, not too much chilly decorated with fried garlic slices. The soup had a lot of chicken meat and mushrooms and all it needs to be a yummy yummy tom yum.
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Going back to the resort with a happy stomach like this let us sleep like kings.
Day Three In Khao Kho
After a great night and all relaxed, we were ready at about nine for our morning cafe. Due to already having a room for the next night, we packed our stuff and went for a sightseeing tour to the Wat Prathat Phasornkaew. First, though a cafe in the famous Pino Latte Cafe and Resort was the plan.
Why, I asked myself, one million tourists had the same plan. The mountain road was stuffed again and to get a cafe we had to wait almost an hour. I slowly started to regret that we didn’t inform ourselves about the business of the weekend in advance. As we visited the Wat before and I just don’t like to follow herds of people we skipped the plan and went back down to the main road, where it already was time to eat lunch when we arrived.
I have never seen so many Thai tourists in one place and the restaurants were probably making their sell of the century. I heard that the Thai government was pushing the region as a holiday attraction but didn’t believe that it would hit that fast. The food was nice though and not expensive at all.
I had enough of all the traffic jams and just wanted to get to our last resort and relax from stress on the road. It was relaxing then indeed too up there, off the mainstream in the wonderful garden resort The Visa.
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The Visa Review
In the center of a place where lots of resorts were being built in the last few years, one small one looked really inviting to us. There are only five huts for rent and the atmosphere is very friendly and family like. At about 1.30 pm, when we arrived there was still food from breakfast and cafe offered. I was happy to sit down on the spacy porch, drink a cafe and calm down for a few moments.
We took a rather big room, meant for four people with two big double beds. We had TV, WIFI, and a hot shower. No air condition and no fridge. It did not really matter due to the cool weather up there and a room covered with green that gave shade to the house and porch.
The view from the room was beautiful, lots of flowers and exotic plants grow in a neat soft grass garden. A bit of the valley can be seen from the resort and if needed a few meters walk gives the full view of the sea of fog in the morning.
The owners are very friendly and let everyone have a barbeque either on the porch in front of the room or on the public porch near the office. They provided the grill and charcoal, salt and plates. At the near market, we bought fresh vegetables and some pork and I grilled everything ready to eat when it was already dark. We really enjoyed that evening a lot and met some other guests that were also eating their Moo Kata.
In the morning we were invited to a huge breakfast with eggs sunny side up, toast, fruit, the obligate rice soup, and some other Thai dishes. Instant cafe or hot chocolate and all, eat as much as you want. I was really satisfied here at the Visa resort and would go back anytime.
My Cost-Benefit Ratio is 9 out of 10
Out of my three choices, The Visa comes first…….
Night-Life in Khao Kho
That last night I went out to check the nightlife in the area. I am sorry to say, but there is no nightlife. All I found was a place where they played music but there were no guests but me and I had to share my snacks with the dogs. After midnight I went driving down all the larger streets but found nothing awake. By accident, I saw some guys having a party in front of a shop and thought that might be public. But no, they were the shop owners family sharing a few drinks together. They were friendly though an I stayed for some time and chatted with some of them.
At two in the morning, I drove home enjoying the empty streets, racing up and down the hills a bit:)
The official high season in Khao Kho starts end of November and lasts until the end of February. Although, to visit the national park during the hot season is a great relief from the heat in the lower parts of the country. The main reason to visit Khao Kho anyway is that of the cool climate.
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My conclusion of Khao Kho
I think it is a nice place to visit sometimes. I would not stay overnight anymore though (My home is only two hours away). There are a few sights to see but nothing extremely spectacular except the fog sea. The Wat Prathat Phasornkaew and surrounding plus the two waterfalls are nice to visit once you are there.
What I miss is some entertainment for kids as well as for adults at night. For foreign tourists, it is not yet developed to our taste, it is more a place for Thai citizens so far.
For a family holiday I was going to say it is a nice place but make sure you don’t book in a time where everyone is there. I was there before at a normal weekend about six months ago and liked it much better due to fewer people.
I will never again go during a special weekend and during high season, only under the week.
All in all, it was not too expensive, we spent about 12.000 Baht in these four days including gas. But still, of course, you can only see rather wealthy Thais coming here.
Our unique guided trip to the southern Thailand
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