Phu Chi Fa Thailand is an incredible mountain viewpoint located in the northeast corner of Thailand. The few select travelers who have made the long trip to Phu Chi Fa will likely tell you that it’s the best sunrise viewpoint in all of Thailand!
The viewpoint runs along the Thai and Laos border, offering expansive views over the rolling mountain hills far into the Laos countryside. For many, Phu Chi Fa Thailand is an incredible opportunity to witness the sea of mist from above as you watch the clouds light up a golden hue from the rising sun.
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
Phu Chi Fa Thailand
Phu Chi Fa, also written as Phu Chee Fah is arguably one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets. Typically, you won’t find many tourists at the viewpoint. Instead, it’s mostly occupied by Thai travelers looking to see the famous Phu Chi Fa sea of mist and can hence get fairly busy at sunrise.
PRICE: Free! There is no entry fee for the Phu Chi Fa viewpoint.
Although the top of the mountain sits at an altitude of 1442 meters, it doesn’t require much of a hike to reach the top. In true Thai fashion, there is a road that has been built nearly all the way to the summit, meaning that you’ll gain most of the altitude by car or motorbike.
Sea of Mist Viewpoint
Whether you’re leaving from Chiang Rai or you’re staying at the nearby village, I recommend leaving early to get the best views. If you’ve never witnessed the sea of mist sunrise above the clouds, then this is an opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up.
The Phu Chi Fa viewpoint is a cliff on the Doi Pha Mon sub-range and slopes outwards towards the Mekong River in Laos. If you stick around a little after sunrise, or if it’s a particularly clear day, you’ll be able to see deep into the valleys, mountains, and rivers of Laos.
The top of the cliff is long and flat, meaning that there is plenty of space for everybody to spread out and find a spot to watch the sunrise. However, for some reason, people still crowd around the main area. Instead, we walked a little bit to the left and found a private spot with the same view.
Where is Phu Chi Fa?
Phu Chi Fa is located in northeastern Thailand, approximately 2 hours from Chiang Rai and sits on the border of Laos in the northeastern end of the Phu Pan Nam Range.
There is a long, winding, hilly road that leads all the way to Phu Chi Fa from Chiang Rai. This entire road is sealed and a moped will get you all the way. However, I’d recommend getting one with a bit of power to get you up the hills, especially if you’ve got a passenger.
Getting to Phu Chi Fa Thailand
It’s honestly hard to beat this mountain sunrise viewpoint in Thailand, and yet, not many tourists seem to make the trip.
This is likely due to the fact that the location is a little off the regular tourist path. To get to Phu Chi Fa, you’ll need to either organize a private driver or rent your own motorbike or car.
Phu Chi Fa From Chiang Rai
The best way to get to Phu Chi Fa is to organize your trip from the closest city and tourist hub; Chiang Rai. We decided to do the return trip in one day, leaving at 3:00 AM from Chiang Rai in order to get to the viewpoint in time for sunrise. We then decided to drive all the way back in time for complimentary breakfast at our hostel. The trip takes at least 2 hours each way, and you’ll need to be pretty confident on a motorbike to drive it yourself.
If you decide to make the drive in one day, I’d suggest leaving at 3.00 AM or earlier and to rent at least a 110CC moped since the hills before the viewpoint are steep and winding.
Motorbike rental price in Chiang Rai: 150 -200 Baht per day.
If you stay at Grace Hostel, the owner can arrange a motorbike for you.
Directions by Road
The best way to get here is to use Google Maps to direct you to the “Phu Chi Fa” pin above. Funnily enough, Google actually pins the viewpoint within Laos!
From Chiang Rai, you’ll be taking the highway through flat country roads, passing farms and rice fields, before turning onto the forest roads. The last hour of the drive is very steep as you ascend and descend over the mountain ranges.
TIP: If you drive from Chiang Rai for sunrise, there won’t be any fuel or gas stations open. Therefore, I’d suggest filling up the day before. If you use a lot of fuel getting here, then the last opportunity to fill up is at a vending-style self-use fuel pump in Khun Tan, a small town just before you turn onto the steep forest roads. Keep an eye out for it on the left side of the road.
Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fa Bus
Apparently, there is a Chiang Rai to Phu Chi Fa bus that leaves from the Chiang Rai bus station at 1:30 PM. However, I couldn’t find any information about this online, so it’s best to ask at your accommodation.
Phu Chi Fa Tour from Chiang Rai
As mentioned, Phu Chi Fa Thailand is a bit of an off-the-beaten-path destination. Therefore, there aren’t many dedicated tours that run from Chiang Rai. However, if you’d prefer not to drive yourself, you can book a private driver from either Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai here.Klook.com
Phu Chi Fa Accommodation
If you’ve got a little more time, then it’s also possible to stay near Phu Chi Fa. There are a few resorts, hotels and homestays right near the mountain, most of which also offer trips to the viewpoint for sunrise.
If you’d prefer a homestay, then the Chill Chill Resort is one of the best options that you’ll find online. This place has small, private bungalow-style offerings for under $20 a night.
For those looking to spend a little bit more for comfort and convenience, Phu Dok Mok Dok Mai is a popular bungalow resort with great reviews and free breakfast. The staff will also drive you up to the carpark for sunrise.
More Photos from Phu Chi Fa Thailand
In for a serious sunrise mission? Hopefully, these photos will convince you to make the trip to Thailand’s best sunrise spot from Chiang Rai! If you have any questions or updates, leave a comment or send me an email!