Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan National Park is the largest protected wildlife habitat in Thailand, is a prime destination in the country for the lovers of wildlife and natural beauty. Watching animals and birds in their natural habitat is an experience unique in itself. Add to it natural sceneries and picnic spots like the reservoir, waterfalls, caves and hot springs, and the attraction increases manifold. Kaeng Krachan National Park got Winner of the 2006 Thailand Tourism Award of Outstanding Performance for Natural Site Central Region
Kaeng Krachan National Park nestled on the western brink of the country four-hours drive from Bangkok is a wilderness unparalleled for its rich diversity of birds, large mammals and flora. Kaeng Krachan is also Thailand's largest national park (2,914 sq km) and part of a continuous forest complex covering 30,000 sq km of land spanning the border with Myanmar. The park lies at the junction of biogeographic zones so biodiversity in the area is a mix of Indo-Burmese and Malaysian forms.
Kind of Park Residents like Mammals: Tiger, elephant, leopard, gaur, sambar deer, banteng, serow, bear, tapir, white-handed gibbon, langurs, Asian wild dog, wild boar and otter
Birds: Hornbills, Kalij pheasant, grey peacock-pheasant, woolly-necked stork, red junglefowl, black eagle; many species of woodpeckers, songbirds, and other forest birds.
At middle and higher elevations in the forest, two major watersheds fed by the Phetchaburi and Pranburi Rivers support wildlife. In the lowlands beyond the forest, they sustain agricultural activities. The waterways turn from trickles at their sources to raging water columns in mid-course, to gentle meandering wide streams in the lowlands. Along these waterways lie mineral licks and wallows fed by smaller forest streams where a plethora of fauna including Fea's barking deer, Tapir, Asian elephant come to feed. Tiger, Asiatic leopard, and wild dog lurk along trails leading to the mineral licks waiting for these prey species to emerge in the dead of night. Endangered Siamese crocodile nest along the banks of the Phetchaburi River. The Banded leaf monkey is also commonly seen.
Spanning altitudes ranging from 300 to 1,513m, Kaeng Krachan hosts a diversity of vegetation and is home to a rich bird fauna. Over 400 species are recorded, including the rare Ratchet-tailed treepie, found nowhere else in Thailand. Yellow-vented and White-bellied Pigeons, Grey Peacock Pheasant, six species of hornbill and seven kinds of broadbill are also present.
Forest covers 80% of the park and comprises dry dipterocarp, mixed deciduous, and evergreen types.
Attractions within the National Park are as follows
Panoen Thung Hill
Grassland and evergreen forest at the hill top make it a nice camping spot. The temperature is cool all year round. The hard trail to the peak, which is around 6 kilometers, begins at Panoen Thung.
Kaeng Krachan Reservoir
A night spot for spending gala time, the huge reservoir having the capacity of 710 million cubic meters of water sprawls over an area of 46.5 square kilometers. Around 30 islands are scattered over the water. Boats can be hired for some interesting trips.
Khao Tao Mo Cave
This marvelous cave has a throne hall-like chamber which is bedecked by stalagmites and stalactites. The cave is 9 kilometers from Phra Phuttabat Khao Luk Chang Temple, which is also a popular tourist spot.
This 9 level waterfall is at approximate 55 kilometers from the headquarters. One can reach here by a steep 4 kilometers trail from the end of the Nam Tok Thorthip.
Pranburi WaterfallThis 3 level waterfall is located in the valley just south of the steep hill-climb on the Khao Panoen Thung road.
Unusual Natural Structures
Lan Hin Pum is known for it's protruding boulders. Lan Hin Taek is a block of stone with deep crevices.
Monuments of Historical Legacy
Conflicts of ideology took place in the rugged terrain of the Park, when communist ideology was on surge in the country. Some monuments associated with the communist movement are in the Park. Most prominent among them are Political military School, Lan Hin Pum, Pha Chuthong Cliff and Lan Hin Taek.
Few places in the Park are known for their picturesque scenery and formations like hot spring and caves. Few such tourist hotspots are Tatfa, Romklao-Pharadon, Man Daeng, Siphatcharin and Phalat.
To get to the core of the forest, trek along trails leading from the main access road. This road runs for 36 km from the park headquarters past Ban Krang Camp to Phanoen Thung Camp at an elevation of 1,207m. To preserve the integrity of wildlife habitats, off-the-road vehicle access is prohibited. During the cool months of December - March, dense morning fogs blanket deep valleys. Views from the Phanoen Thung Substation and KM 33 to the Tanaosi Range on the Myanmar border are magnificent. Rewarding treks include a daylong walk to Phanoen Thung Mountain from KM 30, and an 8-km loop trail from KM 36 to Tho Thip Waterfall and K.U. Camp on the Petchburi River. A longer 25 km trail runs from KM 27 to Mae Sariang to a point on the road near Ban Krang Camp. It is possible to engage in white-water rafting from Bong Luk to the Petchburi Reservoir. To preserve crocodile habitat, rafting is no longer permitted from K.U. Camp to Bong Luk. Contact the park headquarters to arrange ranger guides for any of these trips.
Kaeng Krachan National Park reflects effective management and the implementation of proper zoning, with well-defined areas designated for various activities, including accommodation and camping zones. There are a variety of natural attractions with vast areas to accommodate visitors to the park, such as Ban Krang, Khao Phanoen Thung, Kaeng Krachan Dam and Pa La-U Waterfall.
Kaeng Krachan National Park Visitor Centre
Mu 8, Kaeng Krachan sub-district,
Kaeng Krachan district,
Tel: +66 (0) 3245-9291, (0) 3245-9293
Fax: +66 (0) 3245-9293
Kaeng Krachan National Park Headquarters
Tel: +66 (0) 3245-9293
TAT Central Office - Region 2 (Phetchaburi)
Tel: +66 (0) 3247-1005, (0) 3247-1502
Fax: +66 (0) 3247-1502
Info from http://www.tatnews.org