Khao Kai Nui Viewpoint in Phang Nga
Something new to start 2016! On the first weekend of the new year we did one of our regular "take a drive and see what happens" trips. We aimed for Phang Nga province, over the bridge from Phuket. I was hoping to find Khao Khai Nui (เขาไข่นุ้ย), a viewpoint that features on a lot of Thai websites. We already knew it was to be found behind the village of Thung Maphrao, which is south of Khao Lak, but we'd driven that way a few times in the last year and I'd not seen any obvious roads or big signs saying "This way to the view!". But this time we had a mission, we'd find this viewpoint. All the photos we had seen of Khao Kai Nui were taken early morning, with a beautiful view over misty hills. They call this mist 'Talay Mok', the sea mist. The sea is about 7km away to the west. This would be an afternoon visit, really just to find the place, and we thought - if we like it we'll go again for the early morning view.
We took the long way around, having lunch near Phang Nga Town, and then taking the really nice scenic road from Phang Nga Town to Thung Maphrao passing the road up to Tone Pariwat waterfall where we'd been white water rafting last year. We passed through Thung Maphrao and saw no signs to the viewpoint. Hitting the main Phuket - Khao Lak road we found a sign pointing north, but after driving a few km, we decided this was not correct, as I could see the hill on Google Earth just behind the village. So we u-turned and called a phone number written on that sign. The guy who answered said we should find the market and turn left. He also said we'd maybe struggle in our 2WD pick up truck. We thought "yeh yeh, trying to get some money to drive us up there". Back in Thung Maphrao and driving very slow we saw a tiny sign (in Thai) next to a tiny side road and headed up the hill...
The road .. a few photos ... Started concrete, but narrow, soon became a dirt road. Our truck was not really having a problem. Weather was dry, the dirt road was not slippery, a bit rocky and dusty in places. For sure if there had been some rain, a 4WD vehicle would have been better!
(above) The worst section was right near the top. In the photo above, where you see white railings, it's a concrete road, but very steep and with plenty of very fine, dry dirt on the surface. We had a little traction issue, some wheelspin and burnt rubber, but just about made the top.
(above) The last section of road, concrete, steep, dusty. Does not look so bad in the photo! Anyway, we got to the top of the hill, plenty of space to park.
(above) Our super truck (it's a Toyota Hilux Vigo Prerunner) at the top of Khao Kai Nui. Coming up on 8 years old, this truck and looking good :)
And what a great view, even in the afternoon with none of that sea mist. There are views all around. The hill is not really high, just over 200m above sea level, but yes, we thought "wow" from the moment we arrived.
(above) Our kids enjoy the view
(above) Looking west to the sea from Khao Kai Nui.
From the carpark area, the dirt road carries on a little further, dropping slightly to a basic wooden construction where we found some drinks and basic food for sale and a toilet too. Lovely views here across the hills. Phang Nga is very rural, there are hardly any large towns, it's mostly green hills covering an area many times bigger than Phuket.
And of course we could see the tents. We had imagined that if we wanted to come again and see the early morning mist, we'd have to wake up at 5am and drive from home, but .. they have tents! When I was a kid our family went camping most summer holidays. We had a large family tent big enough for 4, with a "living room" and a kitchen area too, and electric supply from the car battery! I did more camping on my travels over the years, but I think it's been over 15 years since I last had a night in a tent. But now we're planning for that! A little family adventure :)
We asked and found you can hire a tent for 250 Baht per night. Bring your own blanket. They do provide a basic mat and pillow. We'd carry a bunch of bedding in the car. Tents are big enough for 2 people, or maybe just one of me. Hopefully we can do this sometime soon, and this page will be updated! There are also "seaview" tents ...
(above) Yes, you can see the sea. It's over there between the land and the sky.
A very successful day out exploring. There's plenty to see on Phuket Island itself of course, but within an easy day trip is Phang Nga province. Khao Kai Nui is easy to reach from Phuket or Khao Lak either with your own transport, or if you do a quick web search you can find some tours that include this viewpoint. I hope to update in the very near future!
Khao Kai Nui Location Map