Resting in a plateau with an area of 75,525 square kilometers, Phu Ruea National Park comprises a rugged mountain range with its highest peak (and source for a number of Loei's rivers) rising 1,365 meters above sea level. The view from the top of Phu Ruea is quite dazzling and stretches as far as the Heuang and Khong Rivers. The unusually temperate climate means orchids grow in the area throughout the year. The cool weather is complemented by lush pine forest that covers a good proportion of the peak.
There are numerous trials that take you past waterfalls, rock gardens, and caves, as well as a number of 'observation points' that make great places to stop, rest and have picnics (catered for by food stalls along the way). The park is, of course, home to countless wildlife species including deer, bears, monkeys, squirrels, rabbits, turtles, and a large number of birds.
Details: March to June are the hottest months and suitable precautions need to be taken if you intend to go to the park at this time; likewise between December and January when temperatures of 0°C are often recorded. The park is closed during the rainy months because it becomes dangerous for visitors.
As a National Park there is a 200 Baht entrance fee for an adult and a 100 Baht fee for a child (under 14).
Address: Phu Ruea National Park Nong Bou Sub-district, Amphur Phu Rua, Loei, Thailand 42160
Tel: +66 4288 1716, +66 4288 4144
How to get there: The park is around 60 kilometers from Loei. Buses leave Loei for Phu Rua at regular intervals on a daily basis.