Return to the Chompoo Phukha trees


Dec 9, 2008
We decided that we had to return to Doi Phukha to have another look at the rare Chompoo Phukha trees, which now should be in full bloom.
These trees are to be found nowhere else in the world. The ONLY place they exist is on Doi Phukha in Nan province.
We checked in at the National Park and got the tents set up, then headed 5 klms down the road to the tree area.
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We had been there on 16th February, which was too early. Only a couple of blooms had come out.
This time, by 3rd march, there were 2 trees fully in flower, with a handful of shoots yet to blossom.
There are also many young trees in the same area by the road, but all too young to flower yet.
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They certainly are most unusual flowers for a tree, to flower in bunches. They actually look a bit like orchid plants.
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Just around the corner is a coffee shop restaurant, run by Thai Lua people from a nearby village. There was another tree in flower, in their back garden area.
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When we got back to the campsite, while collecting firewood, we noticed a small viewpoint and then saw the best looking tree of all, fully in flower, about 25m away.
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It was getting cool by 5 o clock, so we wanted the camp fire going. There had been some rain while we were out and then after we got back to the campsite we had continuous light rain. But Nigel used his survival skills and some firelighters I had and we got a nice warming fire going.
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I had bought some salmon fillets and soft boiled eggs in 7-11 so that was dinner, with some of my home made bread.
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It was a pretty cool night but luckily the rain subsided.
Next morning we got the fire going at daybreak for some coffee and breakfast, then later the sun came out.
There were 3 other people camping, enjoying the natural environment, peace and quiet.
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It was 08:30 in the morning and we decided to do the 4klm Nature Trail hike.
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A morning view of the Chompoo Phukha tree in full flower, near the campsite.
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A most unusual flower coming out of a tree leaning over the path.
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Stepladder crossing.
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The Nature trail was well marked, with concrete "milestones" every 200m and regular information boards and benches to rest on.
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Some magnificent old trees.
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Nearly all of the hike was in the forest, so nice and cool all the way.
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Steps down on this steep section.
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We came across a most unusual "Penis Hood" plant....
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Filling drinking water bottles with mountain stream water.
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The last hike up steps back to the road and then back to the campsite.
This was a great 4 klm Nature Trail, not too long and recommended.
It took us about 2 hours and being shady all the way, was not a great effort.
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The Giant Fishtail Palms are something special on Doi Phukha, too.
It seemed that at 1200m+ we were largely above the haze down in the valleys, so we had some blue skies.
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It is a super road up and down the 1256 to Doi Phukha.
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Off the 1148, in Bahn Yod, is a natural cold spring. You can see the water coming out of the ground at a pretty fast rate.
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This was another place to fill up the drinking water bottles with cool sweet tasting mineral water.
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I stopped overnight in Chiang Kham. Next morning, after fresh fruit juice and jok in the town market, I headed up the 1155.
Unfortunately, I was too early for the Mao Kao coffee shop.
Looks a great place for a break near the bottom of the 1155, with views out the back, across the fields to the mountains.
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But I did find a coffee shop open, further up the 1155.
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Rooms are cheap enough, around 500 Baht a night.
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Great views across the valley to Phu Chi Fah. The coffee was good, but 70 Baht for a paper cup full seemed a bit rich.
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A favourite stop to get the road view on the 1155. However, the view is getting obscured by the growing trees on the opposite hillside.
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Another great ride and happy to have seen the very special Chompoo Phukha trees, in full flower.


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
A great shot

That was a ripper trip you had - inspiring.
It got me out & up Doi Phukha to catch that rare event.

I love this shot too. There's some fantastic timber left on Doi Phukha still.