Pha Tem National Park Travel Guide

Pha Tem National Park takes its name from its central limestone cliff, an impressive sight from any angle. It’s found in Ubon Ratchatani Province, along the Mekong River near the border with Laos.

Below the cliff is a fascinating collection of ancient rock paintings that depict life along the Mekong River more than 3,000 years ago. There are viewing platforms along the way where visitors can get a close look at paintings featuring fishermen wrangling giant Mekong catfish, herds of elephants and abstract shapes.

Another major site in the park is Soi Sawan Waterfall, an 80-foot cascade reached via a five-mile hike that threads through the cliffs. It’s also possible to drive to the waterfall, with a roadside access point 12 miles from the visitors center. A sprawling field of wild sunflowers blooms near the waterfall from November to December.

Head to the northern reaches of the park for a more remote experience. Road quality suffers in this region, but the result is a stretch of mountainous forest that is largely untouched by tourists. Hidden away in this area is Pa Cha Na Dai. Come in the evening and enjoy what is billed as Thailand’s first sunset. Laos is immediately to the east.

Getting There & Away

Pha Tem is located on Route 2112, accessible through Khong Jiam, which is 10 miles away. There aren’t any buses traveling from the city to the park so the only viable way in is to drive from Khong Jiam. Hire cars are available nearby in Ubon Ratchathani, where the local airport operates regular 1-hour flights to Bangkok.