Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary often makes the news whether it be for the marauding elephants that had been hijacking trucks of fruit, the reintroduction of the Siamese crocodile or for the keen work of it's forestry officials who in just one year arrested nearly 4000 encroachers.
Khao Ang Rue Nai is just a short drive (2.5 hours) from Bangkok in Chachoengao province and a quick glance at the location on Google Earth shows you it's main problem, it is primarily lowlands and forest under 250 meters that is being encroached from all sides except the mountainous region of Eastern Forest to the south.
The Eastern Forest includes Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildife Sancturary, Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Khitchakoot National Park, and Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park with a total area of some 2000 km2 of wilderness that is home to tigers, fishing cats, gaur, elephants and other large mammals as well as a huge collection of other animals.
Of course your chances of seeing a tiger are - well zero to none, even the rangers see only the evidence of them rather than the animals themselves these days. So what will you see? The true delight of the area are the insects and birds. There are large mammals but you hear them rather than see them due to the foliage coverage, indeed just last weekend after stopping to view civet tracks we heard buffalo close by. But what you will see and in such numbers that I have not seen anywhere else in Thailand are insects! Some of my favorite birds can be seen quite close to the roadway including Hornbills, laughing thrushes and barbets. The pathways and foliage are full of exotic looking spiders, beetles and bugs, praying mantis, grasshoppers and robber flies, all going about their daily lives. Assassin bugs lying in wait, robber flies attacking bees, upright mantis in their position of prayer awaiting an unsuspecting bug meal. The most abundant insects are the butterflies. The pathways are literally covered in them from common leopards to the magnificent Green Dragontail (Lamproptera meges) flitting along leaving a "false trail" from the markings on its wings. It's a veritable wonderland, showing you as many wonders in 500 meters that would take 5 kilometers elsewhere.
This is probably because Khao Ang Rue Nai is a Wildlife Sanctuary. Sanctuary being the operative word here and one reason very few people visit is that this is not a park, the general public are not allowed access to the vast majority of the area without prior permission from the Forestry Department. Saying that, there are two areas where you can do short trails, one in the Khao Ang Rue Nai Waterfall area (note: sometimes inaccessible during the rainy season) and another near the Sanctuary HQ and Reservoir. Be sure to make the rangers aware that you are just walking the short trails otherwise you may get a surprise - Khao Ang Rue Nai rangers pack serious weapons and are serious about protecting the fauna and flora.
So serious that in just one year they arrested 4000 people and charged them with 8,037 forestry-related offences. In the course of these arrests, they confiscated over 71,000 logs and over 340,000 wood planks, 420 cars, 66 ten-wheel trucks, 33 backhoes, 31 tractors, 104 farm trucks, 298 motorcycles, 32 guns and 360 chainsaws.
Thailand's National Forest Reserve Act punishes anyone found guilty of encroachment on national forest reserves with imprisonment from six months to five years, or a fine from 5,000 to 50,000 baht, or both. The National Park Law punishes forest encroachers with up to five years of imprisonment, 20,000 baht in fines, or both. The Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act metes up to seven years of imprisonment, 100,000 baht in fines, or both. And to be sure, Ang Rue Nai is evidence that such measures are needed to protect the remaining pristine beauty, fauna and flora of Thailand.
Province(s): Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Chonburi
PA Status: Wildlife Sanctuary (1977)
Area: 103,000 ha
Altitude Range: 90-802 m asl
Forest Complex: Lower Eastern
Latitude: 13º14'N, Longitude: 101º45'E