Click here to download a Google Earth map of the park. Phu Chong Na Yoi officially became National Park #53 on September 12, 1984. It’s 686 square kilometers in the far Southeast end of Ubon. It’s in the Chong Bok Mountains of the Phanom Dong Rak Mountain Range. It has many waterfalls and several hikes but perhaps the most beautiful is Huai Luang Waterfall. Personally, it’s the best one I’ve seen in Thailand yet. This is a picture of it in dry season.
In 1987 the park was the scene of a battle between Thai and Vietnamese forces. This is just one of several battles in the area when Vietnamese forces were searching for Cambodian guerrillas in the area. For more on these Vietnamese border raids, check out Wikipedia. If you go to the Thai military post near the Emerald Triangle there is a memorial with weapons and pictures from the battle. I’ll write a separate post about the Emerald Triangle in the future. Below is a picture from the military post.
Despite being open since 1984, the park still hasn’t been developed as a park anywhere near the extent Pha Taem National Park has. Part of this may be thanks to the ongoing border dispute with Cambodia that seems to flare up every few years. But possibly the biggest problem is land mines. This border region was very heavily mined and very little progress has been made to remove them. According to a recent article in the Bangkok Post, only about 30% of the landmines from Buri Ram to Ubon have been cleared and according to the division (TMAC) in charge of clearing mines, this is due to a lack of funding. With that in mind, it’s best to stay on park paths at all times. I hope to do some more research on the status of land mine clearing in this region at some point.
Park rangers assure me that it is still possible to hike to the southern tip of the park where Pak Khap Sam Tuan Waterfall is on the map. I’m convinced there are some quite spectacular waterfalls back in this area, even one possibly rivaling the size of Huai Luang, but it may take quite some time before it’s easily accessible. A park ranger claims it’s a 3-4 day trek one way just to get there, but says he can arrange a guided trip once things calm down on the border. I’m resigned to the fact that I may not get back in that area for quite some time.
The eastern section of the park is more accessible and there are several locations I don’t have exact coordinates of yet but I marked it on the map and will write a post when I get the chance to hike it.
View Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park อุทยานแห่งชาติภูจองนายอย in a larger map