Category Archives: Travel

I am a passionate wanderer from Sarawak on the island of Borneo. This site is a footprint of my travel adventures in Southeast Asia.

Camping Above Sea of Clouds in Freezing Weather on Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun

Camping Above Sea of Clouds in Freezing Weather on Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun

Sawasdee krub, people!

It’s time of the year when the cold spell hits Northern Thailand again. During this period of time, there are two and only two things you should be doing – hit up Lopburi or Saraburi to visit the sunflower fields, and spend a day or two camping in the mountains in Northern Thailand.


During the year-end holidays, both locals and foreigners alike would throng Doi Inthanon – the highest mountain in Thailand situated some 2,565m above sea level in the northern province of Chiang Mai, as well as the mountains in Phetchabun and Loei provinces, in order to enjoy the chilly weather.

On Doi Inthanon, temperatures would oftentimes dip to the single digits. This is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Bangkok, were temperatures rarely drop below 30°C throughout the year.

So anyway, my better half and I, as well as our friends Aof and his girlfriend Nu, went on a camping trip to Phetchabun this time around last year.

Aof is in the Thai army and based in Lopburi. After spending two days in Lopburi and counting down to the new year at his barrack in a hilariously drunken state (we were partying with a bunch of Aof’s and Nu’s army friends), early next day we immediately set off on a camping trip to the mountains of Phetchabun. I remember spending half of the first day of Thai year 2560 getting a serious hangover at the back of Aof’s car because I had had too much whiskey the night before.

Khao Kho, Khao Kho District

We were supposed to camp for one night in Khao Kho (Thai: เขาค้อ), a 1,143m high mountain in the western range of the Phetchabun Mountains, but then decided our short amount of time there simply didn’t do the staggeringly beautiful mountain views and nice, cold weather any justice.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

For those who intend to go but wonder where and how to go about it, the best way is probably to drive around, identify a campsite, and get down to ask if there’s any spot or tent available. Since many of these campsites are private properties, you can either pitch your own tent for a small fee or sleep in one provided.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

We found our camping spot at the Khao Kho Post Office. It was just a small post office with a considerable area of land around it, and they let people rent spaces within its vicinity for camping.

Aof was kind enough to bring along two tents, so we didn’t have to rent any. All we did upon reaching the campsite was to quickly snatch up an available, desirable spot before others did to set up our tents.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

We only proceeded to make payment after setting up our tents – I think it was just under 50 Baht per person, very reasonable. We also rented from the post office two large mats and a charcoal stove for cooking.

Since Aof is in the army, everything was pretty much military-themed – that included my, or rather, Aof’s jacket!

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

This was how Aof’s and Nu’s tent looked like:

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

And my other half’s and mine was right opposite, with some space in between for some cooking and chit-chatting at night.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

As the night wore on and the sun began to fall over the horizon, the temperature too began to drop to around 19°C. The stable, chilly breeze was all it took to send us into a shivering state.

The weather was perfect and exactly like what we were expecting. It was very relaxing; we were really carefree. Below was us spending time chilling out and drinking at our “common area.”

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

I remember waking up early on the next day, at 4.30am or so due to the cold draft and some noise other crowds were making. Apparently some had woken up early to watch the sun rise.

Later in the morning, we complained about how we hadn’t had enough of the breathtaking scenery and nice weather and unanimously decided to extend our otherwise very short holiday for another day. After all, the leftover food was enough to last us for another night.

Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, Khao Kho District

Before we left for Phu Thap Boek, the highest mountain in Phetchabun at an elevation of 1,794m above sea level, we visited Wat Pha Sorn Kaew (Thai: วัดผาซ่อนแก้ว).

If you have come across a picture depicting a series of five sitting Buddha statues, this is the place, situated in the district of Khao Kho. It is also said to be one of the most remarkable temples in Thailand, and I have to agree.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

The main temple building has nearly every surface beautifully covered in glass, ceramic, and beads in an elaborate manner. It looks wonderfully unconventional and one of a kind, almost like a palace.

Since I don’t have a lot of pictures of Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, you may want to check out this link to see some really beautiful pictures and read more about the special temple.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Phu Thap Boek/Phu Man Khao, Lom Kao District

Khao Kho and Phu Thap Boek (Thai: ภูทับเบิก) are about 85km apart, which translates to less than two hours’ drive between the two places.

As we were heading closer to the peak of Phu Thap Boek, the temperature got lower and lower, and I began experiencing ear pain due to the increased air pressure.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

By the way, Phu Thap Boek is also home to the Hmong hill tribe, so in certain places such as Ban Thap Boek, if you’re lucky you may get to witness a different way of life of the ethnic minority group, just like we did.

These mountain-dwelling people speak a different language and can be found in various places across Thailand, China, Laos, and Vietnam. If you’re interested, you may want to read my entry on the Hmong ethnic groups in Vietnam.


By the time we arrived at the peak and viewpoint of Phu Thap Boek, it was already close to evening and the site was packed with campers. While there were a few foreigners, most people who thronged the spot were locals.

It wasn’t easy to find a parking lot near to the campsite, but nevertheless we were able to secure one close to where our tents were. That way, it wasn’t much of a hassle carrying things up our tents.

It was also our lucky day because we were able to secure a spot with a reasonably good view to the surrounding landscape. Many had already set up their tents by that time.

Like in Khao Kho, if you don’t have a tent, you can always rent one from them for a reasonable fee of 500 Baht. Otherwise, you can set up your own tent at a desirable spot and pay perhaps 50 Baht (can’t remember the exact amount) per pax.

By the time we finished setting up our tents and cooking, it was already 7pm or so and the temperature had dropped to some 16°C. Always, it isn’t the air temperature itself, but the constant blowing of the wind, that determines how cold we may feel.

After dinner, my better half and I took a leisurely stroll around the campsite and some pictures of the night view. It was so windy and cold that we could see our own breath as we talked. The night view from the peak of Phu Thap Boek was nothing but magnificent.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

We were hoping to witness the panoramic view of the sea of clouds the next day, but instead we woke up to thick fog blanketing the entire area.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

As the sun gradually rose above the clouds later that morning, the fog began to disappear. Unfortunately due to the strong winds, the otherwise breathtaking view of the sea of clouds wasn’t too obvious to be seen, so we had to make do with what nature provided us.

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Here are some videos I took of the panoramic view at the viewpoint of Phu Thap Boek:


Before we headed back, we went to several sites around the wind turbine area to take some photos, and the sceneries were just fascinating:

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Sleeping on cloud nine in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

Alright, that’s it for this entry! I hope it will be a handy reference guide to you.

If you have any question or comment on camping in Phetchabun, do feel free to drop it in the comment box below and I will try to furnish you with more information that I can remember.

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

After having relocated from Thailand back to Malaysia, for over half a year my life has been a constant cycle of going to work, coming back to sleep, and waiting for weekend to come. This isn’t the quality life in my dictionary, but there is business to be done.

I’m currently staying in the city center of the Penang island. To be honest, after having been to and settled at a few places over the past 12 years since coming to Peninsular Malaysia on my own (I feel like a nomad at times), after having experienced many things and met many people, nothing in the hustle and bustle of this island can excite me that much anymore.


To be fair, it isn’t that this island has nothing interesting to offer. Contrary to that, it has everything other Malaysian states probably fails to offer: from food to culture to art to shopping. But I’ve seen greater things somewhere else; I’ve also tasted food which I feel is more multi-dimensionally delicious, so my benchmark of what is good and what is just okay in this place maybe different from others.

So today, I decided to explore with my fiancé another area of Penang which is outside of the little island, and this hidden gem at North Seberang Perai, known as Frog Hill, just left us in awe!

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

I was told about this relatively less-known place by a student of mine. After looking at some pictures, I thought it would make an interesting place to explore, since it isn’t too far from where I stay and is said to resemble China’s Jiuzhaigou.

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

After some reading, I got to learn that the Frog Hill is also called Guar Petai, and it is an abandoned quarry located at a rural area in Tasek Gelugor.

Here is the map to Frog Fill or Guar Petai if you’re interested:

Alternately, you may want to also spend a few minutes to watch the following Youtube video – it teaches you how to go about this hidden gem in Tasek Gelugur:

Before you go check this place out, remember that although the views are super scenic, the weather can be scorching hot, so don’t forget to bring along a bottle of water to dehydrate your body.

For those who are scared of getting a sunburn, you may want to apply some sunblock before going. Also, a pair decent shoes will help since you will need to do a little bit of climbing to get to the top of the hill – not too long, probably just five minutes.

So below I will let the pictures do the talking:

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Hidden Gem: Breathtaking Frog Hill/Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, Penang

Before I end  this entry, I just thought to provide an overview of the pros and cons of visiting the Frog Hill or Guar Petai at Tasek Gelugor, so that you will have a better expectation:


The pros: Scenic/Panoramic scenery with turquoise blue lakes, away from the hustle and bustle of city, zero entrance fee, spacious space to park your car.

The cons: Red laterite/dusty path leading to the site, scorching hot weather; rocky hill – can be slippery after a rain.