Phu Tub Berk is the tallest mountain in the undulating province of Phetchabun in Northern Thailand. The mountain is known for its Hmong population and for being an agricultural centre. The cooler climate means that cabbages in particular are grown in abundance; the area is often said to be home to the country’s largest cabbage patch! Strawberries, bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, and flowers are amongst other items grown here.
The mountain’s name is also sometimes written as Phu Tab Berk / Tabberk / Tabberg / Tubberg / Tubberk / Thap Boek.
A great place for nature lovers and culture vultures, here are some handy tips for enjoying the mountain:
Getting to Phetchabun from Bangkok
You can catch a bus from Bangkok’s Mo Chit Bus Station (also referred to as the Northern Bus Station and sometimes spelt as Morchit Bus Station) to the main bus station in Phetchabun Province. The distance between Bangkok and Phetchabun is 350 kilometres (217 miles). Several operators provide services, and prices can vary. As a rough guide, however, you should expect to pay around 400 THB (approximately 11 USD) for a one-way ticket. VIP buses offer higher standards of comfort, although you will pay more for a ticket. The journey time is around five to six hours.
Phetchabun also has a small provincial airport, IATA code PHY, but it has been out of use for a number of years.
Getting to and around Phu Tub Berk
Whilst there is no public transportation actually up the mountain, there are several ways that you can travel around the area.
Local buses operate between Phetchabun Bus Station and Lom Sak. Lom Sak is another part of the province, closer to Phu Tub Berk. Lom Sak is around 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Phu Tub Berk. It would be more difficult, however, to arrange onward transportation from Lom Sak; there are more transportation options from the main provincial town.
One option for visiting Phu Tub Berk is to charter a taxi or songthaew from Phetchabun town. A songthaew is a pickup truck that has been converted with seats in the back and a cover. This might be the better option as sitting in the open would give you better views than from inside a vehicle.
You could also rent a car or a scooter and drive yourself around the area. The roads are pretty steep and winding though; travelling by scooter is really not recommended unless the person riding has lots of experience on mountain roads. A private car could be a great way to enjoy the sights.
Another option is to arrange a private tour. There are several operators, such as Thai Group Tours, who can arrange this, tailoring the tour to see and do exactly what you want. This may be the priciest option, however, and hiring a taxi / songthaew for the day would give you the same transportation services (going where you want etc) but without any guide services.
Accommodation near Phu Tub Berk
Accommodation-wise, there are many places to stay in and around the main town of Phetchabun. Phetchabun is around 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the mountain. There are also many small resorts, hotels, and guest houses along the main road (Asia Highway) as you pass through the town and continue further north towards the mountainous parts of the province.
There is a camp site at the top of Phu Tub Berk, and you can either pitch your own tent for a small fee or sleep in one provided. If you choose to hire a tent for the night, bedding is also provided. Make sure you wrap up warm though - it can get pretty cold! There are also small chalets / bungalows in the same area. If you look for a restaurant called “Good View” there are several accommodation options close to there. This restaurant also serves delicious food and could be a terrific place to eat when visiting the mountain!
Other nearby attractions
Khao Koh, another stunning Phetchabun mountain is a terrific place to visit when exploring this part of the country. The two mountains offer very different things - Phu Tub Berk is mainly agriculture and the Hmong community, whereas Khao Koh has several historical and cultural attractions. Both have amazing views!
Visit Phu Tub Berk for fresh air, great views, and to enjoy a part of Thailand that is severely under-visited by foreign tourists.