Reaching 1,200 meters above sea level, Khao Luang is often described as a giant hill in the middle of rice fields. The four main peaks that you can reach from the mountaintop campsite are Phu Kha, Phra Mae Ya, Phra Chedi, and Pha Na Rai.
Hiking to the mountaintop campground is an out-and-back, 8 kilometer round-trip hike that goes straight up, then straight back down. To hike to any of the peaks will add additional distance to the hike. It is very steep, and the hike is generally done as an overnight trip. We made a day hike out of it, and our knees were very fatigued by the time we got back to our car!
We began early in the morning to give us time to enjoy some of the spectacular views and to complete the hike before sunset. Park rangers will not allow you to begin your hike after 1:30 PM.
Keep in mind that the 1:30 PM start time is for campers. It gives you enough time to get to the top, but not back down!
The hike is well signposted, and the trail is easy to follow.
It is steep from the start and continues upwards until you reach the campground.
There is a nice viewpoint 1,600 meters into the hike that gives you a good vantage point to see just how quickly you are gaining elevation.
At the mountaintop campsite, there is an office, toilets, and showers. There are also maps and signage that point you in the right direction for heading to the peaks.
Keeping in mind that we still had to hike back down, we hiked to the peak and viewpoint closest to the campground – Pha Na Rai (Narai Peak).
The views at Pha Na Rai are are spectacular, and it is well-known for beautiful sunrises.
While we did not get to enjoy a sunrise, it was a great place to rest and have lunch before we began our decent.
We had a fantastic time on our hike! It is a very high-quality, challenging hike. Overall, I liked it better than our (now) second-favorite hike in Thailand – Phu Kradueng. The trail in Ramkhamhaeng National Park was less crowded than Phu Kradueng and felt more natural and peaceful.
The steep decent was very tough on our knees, and we were very tired by the end of our hike. There is a reason that the majority of people make it a two-day hike! We would love to return and make a camping trip out of the hike and to explore all of the peaks accessible from the campsite.
Admission Fees and Information:
The park entry fee is 200 THB foreigner / 40 THB Thai for adults, 100 THB foreigner / 20 THB Thai for children. Parking costs 30 THB.
If you would like to camp at the top, tents can be rented from the park for 250 THB (if you have your own tent, it is 30 THB for the campsite). You reserve your tent at the park headquarters located just before the start of the trail at the foot of the mountain. You do not have to carry the tent up the mountain. They will simply give you a receipt to present to the ranger housed at the summit who will set the tent up for you.
Don’t want to carry anything at all? Arrange for a porter at the park headquarters.
The porter rate is 25 THB per kilogram. If you have 20 kilograms, the rate would be 500 THB (25 THB X 20 KG). It will be re-weighed on the return trip and, if it weighs less (i.e. all the food and beverages that you consumed), the price will be less.
Directions (the signage once you get near the park is excellent):
From Bangkok (5.5 hours): Hwy 32, Hwy 1, Hwy 101, Route 3049, Route 1319
From Kamphaeng Phet (1 hour): Hwy 101, Route 3049, Route 1319
From Sukhothai (35 minutes): Hwy 101, Route 3024, Route 1319
From Old Sukhothai (30 minutes): Route 1272, Route 1332, Route 3024, Route 1319
Ramkhamhaeng National Park @ 16.877338,99.693341
Mountaintop Campground @ 16.863180,99.675075
Pha Na Rai Sunrise Viewpoint @ 16.865979,99.677048
You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.
*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.