Visiting Phu Langka
Phu Langka (close to Ban Sakoen village) is a popular spot for Thai tourists, particularly families enjoying a weekend camping in Phayao National Park. Motorbike clubs also stop off here on the famous route from Chiang Rai. For this reason, it gets a little busier at the weekends and during the Thai holidays. However, it is still a very peaceful place to enjoy the sunrise or sunset. The remote spot is also fantastic for stargazing, as there is little to no light pollution.
The tiny village is just one street of houses on top of a hill, with a few cafes, restaurants, and guesthouses dotted along it. We’d recommend just staying one night, as there is not a lot to do apart from admire the incredible views!
The main viewpoint at Phu Langka is just one of many. You can watch the stunning sunrise from the road or from the village cafes that have charming balconies overlooking the valley. Be sure to get up early so as not to miss the clouds that carpet the farming fields below, which disappear as the sun peaks over the mountain.
Tip: When planning your trip on Google Maps, don’t confuse Phu Langka Viewpoint with Phu Langka Forest Park.
The Route to Phu Langka
The journey to Phu Langka is almost as good as the destination! The mountain village is just one of the stops on a famous motorbike route through the Phayao National Park, which is popular with locals. As such, we recommend renting a motorcycle to make the most of the spectacular countryside scenery.
The scenic route takes you along beautiful mountain roads, small villages, thick green forests, and verdant rice paddies. Along the way, you will also pass a few trendy cafes; it’s the perfect excuse to stop, take in the views, and break up the drive.
Our favorites were:
- Small Frame Coffee House
- Paragraph Cafe
- Route 1148 Cafe
- Magic Mountain Phayao
Sip on strong local coffee and enjoy a delicious breakfast as you take in the views of colorful flowers, lush green fields and mountains, and the soft morning light.
There are also several other great cafes in the village. A few doors down from Magic Mountain Phayao is Route 1148 Cafe which also has stunning views and delicious local food. If you visit here, look out for our Salt in our Hair sticker!
What to Pack for Phu Langka
Here is what you will need for a trip to Phu Langka:
- Layers. The cooler mountain air in this region means you might get cold at night and early in the morning. Because of this, it’s worth packing several layers of clothing so you can adjust throughout your trip. If you are arriving by motorcycle, it’s also recommended to have a warm layer for the ride.
- Suitable footwear. There are some lovely hiking trails in the area, so make sure you have sneakers or sturdy sandals for walking. If you plan to spend a few more days exploring the Phayao National Park, consider bringing walking boots.
- Cash. Keeping some cash handy is a good idea, as there are no ATMs here. Please note that some places may also not accept cards.
- Insect repellent. Packing repellent is always a good idea in Thailand, particularly in the evenings and at night.
- Sunscreen. Make sure to bring sun protection as the sun can get quite fierce around midday. We recommend investing in an environmentally-friendly, reef-safe sunscreen.
- Rain jacket. Depending on what time of year you visit, there will be a higher or lower chance of rain. However, there is no harm in having a rain jacket with you, just in case. It also acts as a good windbreaker on the motorbike!
- Camera. A camera is essential to capture the breathtaking scenery. Find out what’s in our camera bag.
Other Useful Information for Your Trip
Download Google Translate
Not many people speak English here, but you can use Google Translate offline to communicate with locals. Although there are 4G connections in this area, it is sometimes unreliable, and some of the guesthouses and cafes don’t have wifi. Because of this, we recommend downloading Google Translate Thai language offline so that you can use it without an internet connection.
Similarly, downloading Google Maps onto your phone is a good idea so you won’t get caught out suddenly with no internet. This is useful if you are making your own way here, as you can navigate yourself without worrying.
How to Visit Phu Langka
The nearest big city to Phu Langka is Chiang Rai, which has an international airport with plenty of connections. From here, it’s easy to get into the city, where you can hire a motorcycle or car to visit Phu Langka (a 6 min drive from Ban Sakoen village).
The longer, scenic route from Chiang Rai takes roughly three hours by motorcycle, which takes you along quiet country roads. However, there are multiple route options. For example, if you haven’t got as much time, you can take the highway. This will have much more traffic but will take only two hours.
Transport Options from Chiang Rai
The best way to get to Phu Langka is by motorcycle. This option gives you the most flexibility and means you can fully take in the beautiful countryside surroundings.
There are plenty of motorcycle rental places in Chiang Rai. Bike rental starts at around 200 THB (5.87 USD) per day, so this is a good option for those on a budget.
If you don’t feel so confident on a motorcycle, renting a car is another excellent option, as it still gives you a lot of flexibility with a bit more luggage room! This can cost upwards of 20 USD per day.
By Taxi or Private Car
If you don’t want the hassle of driving yourself, these are good options. However, they will cost you considerably more. Depending on the company, taking a taxi or private car will cost between 35-50 USD each way. We always recommend that you agree on a price beforehand.
Where to Stay in Phu Langka
We recommend booking a night here, as it saves you from getting up even earlier for the sunrise. As it is not a popular spot with foreign tourists, accommodations are limited. Try to book ahead (especially at weekends) to ensure a bed for the night.
There are a few guesthouses and homestays in the village. Plus, there are also a few campsites if you want to sleep under the star-filled skies! Check Google Maps to see the options, which also link you to their Facebook pages where you can message them for a booking.
If you don’t want to stay the night here, choose accommodation in nearby Chiang Rai, and use it as a jumping-off point for your day trip.
Best Time to Visit Phu Langka
Generally, the best time to visit Phu Langka and Phayao National Park is from November to April. During this time, there is less rain, clear sunny skies, and cooler temperatures. However, during the rainy season from May to October, the natural scenery can be spectacular, with lush green fields and lots of colorful flowers blooming (just be prepared for big downpours!).
During our visit in December 2022, only local Thai tourists were here, so they were surprised to see us! Although there aren’t ever huge crowds, if you prefer it quieter, visit during the week.