The highest mountain in the northern province of Phetchabun, Phu Tub Berk enjoys a cool climate and fresh air whilst offering incredibly scenic views and a variety of things to do and see. Because of the transliteration of Thai to English you may also see the name written as Phu Tab Berk, Phu Tubberg, Phu Tabberk, and even Phu Thap Boek!.
Standing at 1,768 metres tall the mountain is perfect for both lovers of nature and culture.
Here are five things to enjoy on a visit to Phu Tub Berk:
1. Explore sloped fields, farms, and highland agriculture
The cooler temperatures mean that Phu Tub Berk is used to grow produce that cannot be cultivated in lower parts of the country. Famous for its cabbage farms, cabbages don’t really sound all that interesting … until you see them! A sea of green leaves awaits you, with the round vegetables stretching far into the distance. Indeed, Phu Tub Berk has the biggest cabbage field in all of Thailand! Other popular crops include strawberries, bananas, carrots, and the minuscule crisp Thai apples. Flowers are also grown in abundance, with roses being particularly prevalent.
You don’t, however, just have to stand by the sidelines to enjoy the agriculture … many farmers welcome visitors into their fields for a closer look. If you’re feeling active, there are also farms where you can help with crop picking!
Interestingly, the area was formerly used to grow poppies, which were then processed to create opium.
2. Feed sheep and goats at novelty farms
Great for kids and those who are young at heart, visit one of the small sheep farms and have fun feeding the animals. Although the farms are designed more to please tourists rather than actually to operate as working farms, locals also use the sheep for their wool. Whilst wool is not a particularly needed commodity in Thailand, and there is certainly little call for thick fleecy sweaters, you will notice smaller items, such as scarves and hats, made from locally sourced wool.
3. Browse and buy at the lively and colourful markets
Roadside sellers set up stalls alongside the steep and twisty mountain road to entice passers-by to stop, and there are several organized markets that attract many local sellers and buyers. Terrific places to pick up some local fresh goods and souvenirs, look out for bags of deliciously sweet bright red strawberries, clothes that are emblazoned somewhat unusually with carrot and strawberry motifs, and large fluffy ear muffs. Mainly catering to local residents and Thai tourists, the prices are generally really affordable.
4. Visit Ban Thap Boek and see a different way of life at an interesting Hmong village
Phu Tub Berk has historically been the home of a Hmong tribal group. Hmong refers to an ethnic group. The Hmong are mountain-dwelling people that can be found in various places across Thailand, China, Laos, and Vietnam. In Thailand the Hmong are one of the groups of people that are often referred to as the hill tribes.
Today, the Hmong people still maintain their village at Phu Tub Berk, living traditionally as they have for many years. It is not unusual to see people wearing their colourful traditional costumes, especially the younger members of the family. Kids run about and play, seemingly oblivious to the steep drops that are ever-present on the mountain. They are often amenable to posing for pictures with visitors, in return for a small tip.
5. Soak up the views from the weather statue
At the peak of Phu Tub Berk, you will see a simple obelisk-like statue with a huge thermometer affixed to it. A popular place with visitors, snap a picture of the current temperature to show that Thailand does have cooler places! There is information about the local weather, but this is all in the Thai language … the attraction doesn’t even have an English name! The high location also affords beautiful panoramic views, with stretching vistas of sea fog visible in the cool season (October to February.)
Other ways to enjoy the soaring Phu Tub Berk and surrounding
There is a campsite at the top of the mountain, perfect for enjoying a spot of star-gazing after dark. The temperatures drop even more at night time though, so make sure that you pack appropriately or you may be in for a chilly surprise!
There are several viewpoints as you make your way up the mountain, each one inviting you to stop and admire the lush scenery. Heaven Hill is another popular stop, taking its name from the large white cross that stands proudly in its lofty location.
Khao Kho, another of Petchabun’s beautiful mountains, is within easy reach, and you can enjoy temples, waterfalls, walking trails, and historical sites in the wider area.
Enjoy exploring a popular place for domestic tourists as you leave the crowds of foreign visitors far behind and have fun discovering the many charms of Phu Tub Berk.
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