× The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers, including tropical seasonal forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400–1,000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds, and 67 species of mammals, recording in this, Thailand's most famous National Park.

3 nights in Khao Yai

18 Jun 2017 19:13 #4439 by Robby L
Robby L created the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Approached from Nakhon Nayok and left the same way so did not go any farther north than the 33km trail.
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Well what did I learn from my first time in this park?

First off the same thing as many places I have been to, “It’s the wrong time of the year you should come in…………….”



Blue Pansy.

Ok but I go places when I have the time and right now is it. Next 450b to get in and even foreigners with Thai residency must pay, a lot of good info on this park but bird density was not what I had hoped for and most are quite flighty meaning I got few photos but still 4 new species. Plenty of deer about as well as the tame ones in the camp grounds I saw both wild Sambar and Muntjac, no evidence of recent Elephants either on the roads or grasslands, only saw one set of Gaur prints so they are elsewhere at present.



The grasslands are mostly between waist and head high with very little being eaten down.
I stayed off most of the trails because of the leeches and the Phu Kluai Mai waterfall being closed. I did do the 33km trail and found the first 200 or 300 meters to be a bit confusing because of all the side tracks after that it was no problem to follow right to the watchtower grassland. Best bird sightings were between the 700 and 800 meter marks where there is an opening in the canopy that give a view of some trees that the birds were using, then close to the grassland where a pair of Green-eared Barbets had a nest hole in a dead tree. I turned round and walked back from there but later walked up from the watchtower to the forest edge.



House Swift on nest under the watchtower

I went to some places not mentioned on sites giving info on the place the first was Phu Diew Dai cliff viewpoint on the road to the top of Khao Khiew hill. This consists of a fairly new boardwalk down to the cliff lookout and back, a lot of work has gone into making this boardwalk and it proved to be an interesting place for the first thing I heard on the way down was the calls of 3 Eared Pitta but unfortunately no sighting. I went back for a second time on the way home and saw Black-throated Laughingthrush and Large Scimitar Babbler and an animal, I have no idea what it was, it was close to a meter long overall, dark brown with a thin tail and ran very low to the ground presumably having short legs.




Off track places where I had an explore were the grassland on the right on the way to the youth camp there are 4 new (almost complete) toilet blocks built there as well as another building close to the road, they may be planning another camp ground there. On the other side of the road there is a new toiled block and caravan bays like at Doi Inthanon and Mae Moei NP’s. I thought that would be a good place to camp for the night but got woken at about 10 pm and told I had to go to one of the camp grounds.




Other tracks I explored were a road about halfway between the checkpoint and Lum Ta Khong camp site this leads to a new pond that has been dug at a clearing where a Muntjac was feeding the first time I went there. I first started to drive along this road until a pair of Simese Fireback ran along the road in front of me from there I parked and walked past 2 camera traps (DSLR) one of which I triggered being to lazy to find a way round it.



Is this yours?

I walked this road again in the hope of the Fireback making another show but no such luck, there was however a flock of Pied Hornbill roosting in the trees along the track.
Another is a track that goes from a parking place about 1.2km up the road from Lum Ta Khong camp to grassland and to a road that has a barrier across, lots of deer sign on this one, both Sambar and Muntjac and another quite large flock of Pied Hornbill roosting in the trees. This is where I put my trail cam mentioned elsewhere.



Track up from the parking place


The third is a track that branches off the 33km track where it comes down through the grass, this goes to the Klong-e-Tao ranger station and a ‘don’t go’ sign after it passes grassland and enters the forest. I got a glimpse of a Blue Pitta by the pond on this track as it hopped out in front of me when I was trying to get photos of White-eye bouncing around in a tree, unfortunately it left as quick as it arrived so no photo.



Bright-headed Cistacola.

New bird species for me are House Swifts nesting under the watchtower, Rufefcent Prinia and Bright-headed Cisticola in the grassland and a Black-and-Buff Woodpecker along the 33km trail. An interesting trip even though it didn’t produce photos of any of the sought after species.



Black-and-Buff Woodpecker.

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18 Jun 2017 21:20 #4440 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I think those camera traps are from 'Trap Tour Thai' which is a group of Thai photographers that are using camera traps to document elusive species. I saw they got a Clouded Leopard in Khao Yai. Maybe the same individual as yours ;-)

Are you sure that the pittas at Pa Dieo Die were not Blue Pittas? I have only seen Blue Pitta there.

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19 Jun 2017 07:49 #4441 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Been listening to bird calls and am pretty sure it was Eared.

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19 Jun 2017 11:15 #4442 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
OK, cool! Never seen those up there. Usually lower elevation. Will keep my eyes out for it next time.

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21 Jun 2017 15:23 #4446 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I read that you wrote that the Pa Kluay Mai trail was closed, and I actually just thought you had mistaken the signs that used to be there. But I now hear it is indeed really closed because some high ranking DNP figures walked the trail and saw the crocodile....

Just heard this from one of the guides in the park. And I am sitting here shaking my head in disbelief in front of a computer screen....

Why, despite the fact that Thailand is not known to be a country where people get sued over issues that should be people's own responsibility, are they always thinking they need to be 'responsible' for totally unnecessary matters?

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21 Jun 2017 15:38 #4447 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
And Pa Dieo Die viewpoint is now also closed at the start of the road, so another big part of the park became inaccessible for a couple months. The least they could do is cut the entrance fee in half for the reduced activity possibilities...

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24 Jun 2017 20:29 #4449 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I was at Pha Diew Dai yesterday morning and the road was not closed then.

Lots of Blue Pitta (it is blue) calls but no sighting, could even hear the calls from the car park.

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25 Jun 2017 00:08 #4450 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Glad to hear!
But is there an army blockage at the start of the road?
Because I heard that was the case. The person who told me did not try to go in. So I was assuming on my own experience that once they block the road that they won't let people through. That was the case a year or two ago.

But glad that this is not an issue currently.
It is pitta calling season ;-)
At the backyard of my home in Kaeng Krachan I hear a Blue-winged Pitta calling every day. I think that is every year around this season.

Thanks for your update!

Now all they have to do is reopen the 'crocodile'-trail again ;-)

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25 Jun 2017 20:06 #4451 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
There was the usual park ranger (one only) in the box at the entrance to the road. There is a barrier halfway across the road but plenty of room to drive past.

I went up Thursday afternoon as well and was asked by a park ranger who was on the road where I was going when I told him he waved me through.

There is army presence at the top lookout parking place, probably normal radar station guard.

Possibly your friend mistook the ranger uniform for army.

Sign at start of Croc trail.

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30 Jun 2017 12:49 #4458 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Another 2 nights at khao Yai.

Not in the plans but I suddenly had to act as a taxi to take someone to Prachin Buri so to take advantage of the distance from home I went back to Khao Yai for 2 nights. First thing was to set the trail cam in the same place then up to the boardwalk at Pha Diew Dai in the hope of Blue Pitta but no sign of them.
Again stayed the nights at Lum Ta Khong camp site and in the morning did the 33km trail again with the only notable birds being a pair of Wreathed Hornbill high in a tree, fortunately was able to get a reasonable photo. Had a look along the cycle track in the afternoon and walked some of the grass areas, saw a couple of Sambar but no notable birds.



Next morning after the second night I picked up the trail cam which had this time been set on video and got videos of Muntjak in the daytime and Sambar at night. From there it was back to Pha Diew Dai again after Blue Pitta, plenty of calls but the only bird photo I got was a Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher. There were birds on the other side of the road behind the parking area but nothing unusual.

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30 Jun 2017 13:48 #4460 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
How many people are camping there mid week Robby? I was wondering if the rainy season scares most campers away - I don't like crowds ;+)

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01 Jul 2017 08:25 #4463 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I dont like crowds either Paul and I find that sometimes even 2 can be a crowd.

Between 10 or 20 I suppose, camps that is not total people. There were also day visitors, the Jungle Adventures lot were there every day, a mob of young farang on the 33km trail one day and what appeared to be a Japanese film crew on another. But OK if you get there early.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paul TW

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01 Jul 2017 08:32 #4464 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I should add that I stayed, in the vehicle, right down the far end of the camp ground by 2 toilet blocks I was the only one in that area and had the toilets and showers to myself.

Also I was not approached by any staff and not asked to pay a camping fee nor did I offer any as 450b to get is quite enough.

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10 Aug 2017 18:49 - 10 Aug 2017 18:53 #4532 by admin
admin replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I called by this week - Lam Tha Klong camp site had lots of people in, Pha Gluay Mai campsite was empty .... and my plan for a stroll to see if the Khao Yai crocodile was sunbathing was thwarted by this....

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13 Aug 2017 10:41 #4538 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Haha, yes it is still closed.

Unbelievable really. Clearly shows that it does not require an awful lot of knowledge about nature to run a national park...
Next time they close the whole park due to presence of:
elephants, 2 species of bear, dholes, and who knows a lost tiger
2 krait species, 2 viper species, king cobra, monocled cobra, and potentially Siamese Spitting cobra (though have to confirm the latter within the park boundaries...), 2 coral snake species, and two species of python that grow large enough to kill a human.

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15 Aug 2017 13:19 #4561 by maglim26
maglim26 replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
I read with interest your recent hike in KHao Yai NP ; like to ask from a tourist and avid wildlife photographer's perspective, how accessible and practical is it to do self hike (no guides) in the NP ? A group of us (4px) is contemplating whether to hire an agency or DIY, getting own transport into the NP (from Pak Chong), having daily commute from accomodation there. Easy to get local transport there from Pak Chong to NP and back ? And hire transport from Pak Chong back to Bangkok?
With the oldest NP in Thailand, I suppose there are plenty of endemic species based there, wondering what the the chances of sighting in Nov?
Any advice?

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15 Aug 2017 15:35 #4562 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Hi

I will answer as best I can.

No problem to do hikes without a guide but you will need transport to get around the park and you will be required to each pay an entry fee (400b+50b for car) every day you go into the park from outside.Deer are very easy to see as they are around the camp grounds and it is always possible to see other species of mammals and plenty of birds.You will be given a map when you enter the park which shows the trails and camping places.

There are buses from BKK to Pak Chong and then hire a car to go to the park would probably be the best option it is possible to use hire motorbikes but I hesitate to recommend them as over 70% of road deaths here involve motorbikes.

It is possible to stay in the park have a look at this site for costs khaoyaiguide.com/2010/12/16/lodges_camps...o-yai-national-park/

Nov would be a good time to visit.

Robby

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15 Aug 2017 16:09 #4563 by maglim26
maglim26 replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Thanks Robby for the prompt response. I reckon you are a regular trekker and photographer there, nice picture of the Bright-headed Cistacola!
Its hard to know which are the reliable trekking and wildlife agencies based in Thailand, i reckon for tourists like myself, we just have to keep searching, reading online recommendations.

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16 Aug 2017 01:38 #4565 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Bring a compass (even the cheapest ones could potentially save your life) and study even the most basic maps to have a slight idea where the roads and rivers are. A compass will bring you home if you end up lost. Some trails are as Robby mentioned easy to follow, but not all trails are like that. Some can get very confusing, and it is not uncommon that people get lost. Best to avoid that, first of all for your own sake, but also for all of us, as I fear one day they will no longer allow people to go out by themselves when some incidents reach the news. Which would be a major shame.

Be careful, stay at a distance if you meet elephants or other large wildlife, and just use common sense. It's not a zoo ;-)

Surely your experience will be a lot better with a good guide. You will see more and do not have to worry about getting lost.

There is definitely difference in quality between the local companies in Pak Chong area, but in the years I have stayed around there, I have noticed that all local operators are reliable companies, at least, no need to worry that they run off with your money, haha.
But like I said, there is of course difference in quality when it comes to the guides. Level of English speaking, spotting skills, and wildlife knowledge vary a lot.
Following online reviews does indeed help to find the better options.

Good luck!

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17 Aug 2017 14:59 #4571 by maglim26
maglim26 replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
Thats certainly good helpful information, Yes, we may engage a guide for multiple entries into the park as we intend to stay around Mu Si area and enter the park on a daily basis.
I gather the weather around Aug - Oct has higher average rainfall but I am sure that does not deter you all from continuing wildlife and hiking opportunities there :)

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17 Aug 2017 15:26 - 18 Aug 2017 20:39 #4572 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: 3 nights in Khao Yai
The wet season is my favorite season. It is rare to rain for the whole day. The jungle looks at its best when wet. And everything comes to life. I have noticed little difference in activity for mammals. Birds might be a bit better in the cool and dry season. Reptiles, amphibians and insect life are best in the wet season.

Just bring a 20 baht plastic rain poncho from the 7-eleven and you will be fine ;-)

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