Thap Lan - Nakorn Ratchasima, Thai Sammaki entrance

08 May 2010 14:23 - 17 May 2013 13:25 #152 by
I had spotted this track on Google Earth and was intrigued by it because I thought it was a vehicle route to access the inner of Thap Lan National Park. Thap Lan fascinates me because it is so hard to glean information on, yet on a per trip basis I have seen more wild mammals in Thap Lan than any other park I have visited. The entrance is hidden away and un-signposted but it is at the Pha Gep Tawan entrance just after the village of Thai Sammaki. Pha Gep Tawan is a scenic view point that seems to have quite a lot of visitors from what I saw, although I did not find it very inspiring but there seems to be some active development currently ongoing with a visitors centre being set-up and wildlife watch tower being built.

After searching around for the track we eventually found what we thought was the start and took a look up the first two hundred meters and immediately saw a jackal. That was enough and we were back to kit up and set off to see were it would lead.

The track is, I suspect, an old logging track from the 1970s and 80s when timber and consequently wildlife habitat was readily plundered throughout the country. The trail has all the hallmarks of a logging trail as the forest surrounding it is all secondary forest and the main track is criss-crossed with other old access tracks leading further into the secondary growth.

The trail is still obviously used occasionally by vehicles and I suspect there is a ranger station at its ultimate end at the Mun River. Little did we know that we were just a few km from the Mun River when we turned back. Ah hindsight and stronger legs would have helped.

The trail leads through secondary regrowth and there is evidence of a formal replanting project. What is quite exciting is the amount of signs of gaur, deer, elephants, and wild boar from many animal trails, foot prints and droppings. There is also a lot of small carnivorous scat along the trail. It has obviously been recolonized quickly by the animals.

Older growth trees start around the 8 km mark and you will notice a drop in temperature as you reach the shade of the older forest.

We were also lucky enough to come across a family of wild boar in a wallow and it was quite remarkable how close we could get before they finally realized there was a "stranger in their midst" - I suspect that this trail is not walked very often although there are signs of humans (i.e occassional trash) scattered along the track.

At a 23 km roundtrip (30 if you were to continue to the Mun river) its a long trail, though the elevations are very easy, and you need to set off early to make sure you give yourself enough time to get back. You can turn back at anytime or distance though. The trail is very easy to follow and no GPS is needed for directions although it helps with distances.

Its definitely a trail I will be returning to with a view to making it all the way to the Mun River. Once again Thap Lan has impressed me.


Important facts

Length of trail :: 23 km (round trip)
Hiking time :: 8/9 hours (includes return and stops)
Difficulty level :: moderate (scale : easy, moderate, hard, ouch)
Minimum essentials :: 2 to 2.5 L water, food, high sugar source, rehyd salts





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08 May 2010 14:25 - 15 Oct 2012 12:04 #153 by Trekker
Wild boar that were at the wallow marked on the track. Its a pity about all the foliage obscuring the shots but that the reality of the forest.








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14 Nov 2010 17:29 #211 by Trekker
UPDATE AS OF NOV 14 2010

I got to travel this trail again and have a number of small updates:

We pushed the trail for a 25.5 km round trip, this would effectively be the maximum that can be achieved on foot in a day on this track.

The Pongs (salt licks) in the first 3 km have all now been marked by the ranges (Pongs 1 thru' 7).

One of the side tracks leads to the Huai Kham Khi Ret - a very nice forest stream/river where you can rest.

The tracks beyond the points we reached are still walkable but are just used by animals. You need to travel quite slowly as there is a lot of elephant activity in the area and hence the potential associated dangers of walking in the area.

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14 Nov 2010 17:38 - 15 Oct 2012 12:04 #212 by Trekker
Updates to track.....








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14 Nov 2010 17:51 - 15 Oct 2012 12:04 #213 by Trekker
Snap shots....

Huai Kham Khi Ret is a nice area to doze and appreciate the surroundings. Home to a Blue bearded bee eater also.


The track is through secondary forest and very easy to follow, dont expect "jungle" though








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