The “Emerald Triangle” is the unofficial name for the junction of Lao PDR., Cambodia and Thailand. From the cliffs of Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park in the Emerald Triangle’s midst, you can peer over the borders of all three nations, in a setting known for its lush forests and breathtaking waterfalls.
The National Park occupies 687 square kilometres in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province, occupying part of the Phanom Dongrak Mountain range that encroaches partly into Cambodia and Lao PDR. Hiking trails wind from the main entrance up to a plateau topping Pha Pheung Cliff, the best place to view the Emerald Triangle and its component countries.
Another viewpoint, set on the farther end of the park, is Phu Hin Drang – a cliff top aerie that looks over almost endless acreage of rainforest.
No visit to Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park is complete without a stop at Namtok Huai Luang, a waterfall that rushes down the 40-metre cliff into a scenic pool. You can climb 270-plus steps up to the top of the waterfall, or stay at the bottom where you can enjoy a cooling swim in the middle of the wilderness.
The Park’s permanent residents may show themselves, but more likely you’ll hear them before you see them: animals living in the park include Asian elephants, Malayan sun bears, gibbons, and white-winged ducks.
A day trip simply isn’t enough time to see everything – luckily, a campsite and three permanent bungalows in the Park provide an easy excuse to stay the night. With no light pollution from nearby cities, the starry night sky provides the Park’s last amazing view of the day.