The Kingdom of Thailand

The Kingdom of ThailandThe Kingdom of Thailand
Thailand, also called the Land of Smiles, is the most popular tourist destination in South-East Asia due to its wealth of natural beauty, culture and history, gorgeous islands and beaches and the mouth-watering food. In the North you will find breathtaking mountain ranges with waterfalls and fast flowing rivers for trekking and rafting, ethnic tribal groups with unique customs and clothing and people famous for their courtesy and hospitality. The North-East, or Isan, is one of the country’s most intriguing destination with many Stone Age and Bronze Age dwellings and artifacts, and several significant temples and national parks. The Central plains and the East Coast are dotted with national parks, seaside resorts and islands.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Khao Krajome: Ratchaburi's Magnificent Misty Mountain

Ratchaburi's Suan Phueng district has gained credence over recent years as an emerging tourist destination due to its rich supply of cultural attractions and natural resources.

Located just 160 kilometers southwest of Bangkok, the impressive locale offers plenty of entertainment options, along with several adventure-based opportunities.

Peak presence
Suan Phueng features lots of tourism-oriented attractions, including agricultural projects, restaurants (selling authentic local cuisine), as well as hot springs and waterfalls. The district also includes several theme-based resorts, trendy coffee outlets, along with eateries specializing in international cuisine.

One major attraction among adventurous types is the majestic peak of Khao Krajome ('Krajome Mountain'), which is located in Suan Phueng sub-district (of Suan Phueng district).

The mountain is part of the Tanoasri Mountain Range, which runs along Thailand's border with Myanmar. Reaching a height of 1,000 meters above sea level, Khao Krajome offers a wonderful spot to experience spectacular sunrises or sunsets, while, if you're lucky, it might even be blanketed in a sea of fog.

The only practical way to reach the summit is by using an off-road vehicle. The nine-kilometer trip, which takes you along a dirt road, takes at least 45 minutes to complete. You're sure to spot some impressive examples of wild flowers and plants alongside the way during this trip.

The great outdoors
Owners of off-road vehicles may wish to stay on the peak overnight. While there's a camp ground located there, it should be noted that there's no electricity supply, while water supplies are scant, so you'll need to account for this if planning to stop over.

There's also a base belonging to a unit of the Border Patrol Police close to the camp site. Officers from this force patrol the border year-round.

It's also possible to secure a lift up to the summit with members from the local Suan Pheung off-road vehicle club. Members usually charge a reasonable rate of between 1,400-1,800 baht (US$43-55), depending on the type of vehicle used, for this service, which includes a driver. Most reception desks at local resorts can put you in touch with members of the club.

Typically, these trips begin from your resort at about 5 am. While the temperature doesn't tend to be too harsh, it's still advisable to take along a windbreaker or thicker coat, as well as a pair of sneakers.

The peak season in terms of tourism on Khao Krajome takes place from November to late February as this is the coolest time of year and the period during which you are most likely to encounter fog. The mountain is more or less inaccessible by car during late June through September since that is when the rainy season falls.

For further information regarding travel to Khao Krajome, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) on Tel: 1672 (Thailand only), or the Suan Phueng Sub-District Administrative Organization on Tel: +66 (0)32 395 436.

Transport connections:
Car:  From Bangkok, head west towards Ratchaburi on Highway 4 (Petchkasem Road). Next, take Route 3087, which links the districts of Suan Phueng and Chom Bueng. The entrance to Khao Krajome is located in Suan Phueng district's Suan Phueng sub district.