National Parks of the South

03 Aug 2016 10:57 #3922 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic National Parks of the South
Khao Luang Naional Park

Arrived 28th May and stayed 3 nights at the HQ

This park has several entry points the best known of which would be Mae Wong which which is well worth a visit from the tourist aspect but I have visited there several times so we gave a miss on this trip, instead we first visited the HQ area then Krung Ching.

The HQ is another place that is not used to having people camp and the camping ground reflects this, toilets are Thai style but clean.

For those who like waterfalls this is the place to come as this would be the best and most accessible waterfall I have seen, you can drive within sight of the first level and the walk up to the seventh level which is concreted all the way is quite easy although there are a few steep bits, there are toilets at the first and seventh levels for those in need. Information boards along the track up to the waterfalls are very good with excellent English. Pools for swimming, with lifeguards on duty, if you should wish.

Number 7 waterfall

There is a restaurant which serves Thai food and drinks and although they say there are guest houses it appears that some of these are occupied by park staff.
There is a forest trail starting at the top of a steep concrete road that leads to the accommodation it is an old logging road from many years back and links up with the waterfall trail between the sixth and seventh waterfall, it also has information boards that are worth reading although the top few have disappeared.

Quite a bit of bird activity along both trails and around the houses with Black-headed Bulbul prominent

Bird List
Scaly-breasted Bulbul
Black-headed Bulbul
Dark-necked Tailorbird
Spectacled Bulbul
Blue-winged Leafbird
Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike
Little Cormorant
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Krung Ching, Kho Luang National Park

The signs to Krung Ching Waterfall are easy to follow, the last few KM are through forest then down a hill from the helicopter pad (bus stop) to the visitor center and a spacious ‘green’ camping area with lots of bird calls and activity. Because of the daily rain we put up our tent in what is the covered dining area of the youth camp close to western style toilets but had to move out on to the grass after a couple of nights when 5 families was expected for the weekend. There are several bungalows, or ‘Bangalows’ as the sign says these are best booked in advance on the internet as they can be full particularly on weekends and almost guaranteed to be booked on long weekends when the camping area can also be full.

We did not have to pay an entrance fee as we had already stayed at Khao Luang HQ and Krung Ching is part of the same national park. When Ying went to pay for our 6 nights camping one of the ladies ‘on duty’ was asleep and the other watching TV and they were not impressed with being disturbed, here was no receipt given for the payment and when Ying questioned them she was told they didn’t have receipts and had never had them. This is only the first time in our travels this has happened the only other time a receipt was not given immediately one was produced when asked for. I don’t mind paying when the money is accounted for and going to the park but when there is no accountability who knows where it goes.

First morning I walked back up to the helicopter pad and got some photos of Rufous-breasted Malkoha along with other birds then back down to the visitor center where there were small birds flying in and out of fruiting trees, more photos.

The waterfall is 3.7KM up a concrete path, for the first 2.5KM from the camping area the first KM is up hill and has some quite steep parts after that it is a walk in the park (forest). In the afternoon I explored up that trail for 2.2KM getting some photos of another small flock of Rufous-breasted Malkoha and a Scarlet-Rumped Trogon. I could hear hornbill in several places along the track but seeing them in the tops of tall trees was another thing. On the way back at the 800M mark there is a large fig tree and I could hear hornbill up in its topmost branches, a flock of 5 flew out and landed briefly in another tree before flying off, too quick for me to get photos or determine the species other than to say they were not Great Hornbill.

The next morning it was very misty and we had to move camp so I didn’t stray far but still got some photos. The third morning I planned to go all the way to the waterfall and almost got there but for a series of stairs disappearing down to the bottom of the fall and knowing I would only have to climb back up if I went down and there were almost 4KM to go back to camp I gave that bit a miss, well waterfalls aren’t my thing anyway.

The track around the fall and the stairs were paved with stone concreted in place and were a bit slippery meaning care was needed. On the way down I met a group of 15 mountain bike riders and several others walking (it was a Sunday) one group passed me chattering just as a bird landed in a tree beside the track when they had passed I looked up and by some major miracle it was still there and I got photos of my first Red-bearded Bee Eater.

I had one more morning up the entrance road and around the camp ground and another up to the end of the concrete on the waterfall trail adding to my list of bird species every time. On the last evening Ying and I walked up to a small waterfall close to the camping area and got photos of Raffle’s Malkoha another new species for me.

Information I had got from the internet on this place is a fair bit out of date as it mentioned resting at the first Sala at about 800M but that had collapsed in a heap several years ago, the second at 2.2KM is on a lean and looks like joining the first at any time, there is a third at the waterfall which is in better condition. The whole trail reflects neglect with all the small wooden bridges in a precarious state (being kind). The plumbing and electrical work around the camping area leaves a lot to be desired and there are also buildings in a sad state of repair that look like they are being ignored and left to fall down.

Finlayson's Squirrel (I think)

We have seen this neglect and lack of maintenance in several parks and considering the amount of work that has been done in the past it is reprehensible that things are left to deteriorate in such a way, particularly when we see park staff who could do the work needed sitting around talking and generally doing nothing all day. The toilets were not cleaned until one of the families complained and cleaning stopped when they left. However there are lots of birds there and I ended up with photos of 35 species.

I have been a bit hard on the staff for there are only 11 of them to look after the whole place, 6 of those are woman and 2 of the men stay in the visitor center at night, as Ying says the real problem is lack of a strong leader (director) to prioritise what is needed and ensure work is done.
No phone or GPS coverage.

In spite of that I would recommend the place to anyone interested in birds for there are a huge number of birds of many species present.

Bird List.
Red-throated Bee Eater
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
Orange Bellied Flowerpecker
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Black-and-yellow Broadbill
Asian Fairy Bluebird
Red-throated Barbet
Blue-eared Barbet
Brown Barbet
Blue-winged Leafbird
Great-green Leafbird
Thick-billed Green Pigeon
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Little Spiderhunter
Spectacled Spiderhunter
Grey-breasted Spiderhunter
Long-billed Spiderhunter
White-rumped Sharma
Plaintive Cuckoo
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
Raffle’s Malkoha
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Black-crested Bulbul
Buff-vented Bulbul
Hairy-backed Bulbul
Ochraceous Bulbul
Scaly-breasted Bulbul
Spectacled Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Yellow-bellied Bulbul
Grey-cheeked Bulbul
Black-headed Bulbul
Brown-throated Sunbird

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03 Aug 2016 15:10 #3923 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic National Parks of the South
Excellent report as always!! I think I recognize your tent. I think I was admiring it a few weeks ago in KK, in the sala at the top of Baan Krang?? I was thinking what a much better idea for longer stays in a park (I rough it in a hammock) a big tent was - a home from home.

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04 Aug 2016 14:53 #3925 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic National Parks of the South
Thanks Paul

When the lady boss is along a big tent is needed for all her bags, dont tell her I said that.

If you see us again stop and say hello. If I am on my own I may be sleeping in the vehicle.

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04 Aug 2016 15:16 #3926 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic National Parks of the South
Thai Rom Yen National Park

We followed the GPS from Krung Ching and ended up on a track through the forest that degenerated into a real 4WD challenge with deep ruts and mud holes that requiring creeping along in first-low 4WD and took us 3 hours for the 45KM, Advise for anyone traveling between these parks, go via Surat Thani and follow the signs to Dat Fah Waterfall some of which are only in Thai.

A good size camping and parking area, we camped up top in front of the food area but had to park down below. Thai style toilets with good showers but there are western style toilets in a bamboo building below the main toilets, intermittent phone and GPS coverage that can’t be relied on. Friendly staff but not telling where the best bird spots are but they will guide you for 500b. No thanks I will explore on my own. Snacks and drinks are available but food is only cooked on long weekends and holidays when there are a lot of visitors to the waterfalls.

The bird numbers were so high at Krung Ching that this place seemed a bit of a let-down however one fantastic experience made up for the lesser numbers. First photo OP was a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha then later at the third waterfall a pair of White-crowned Hornbill were defending a nest hole against a determined Blythe’s Hawk Eagle. The eagle would land on a branch of a tall tree on the opposite side of the stream from the nest hole and the hornbill would fly at it and chase it off this happened repeatedly while I watched the show and tried to get photos.
Although there were many bird calls most of the other birds I got photos of were feeding on one small fruiting tree.

Juvenile White-crested Hornbill

Where we stayed is ranger station No 6 of Tai Rom Yen NP which is Dat Fah Waterfall there is a limited area up the waterfall stream so we had a look at another entry to the park at Khamin cave 17KM down the road but as they wanted 400b for entry and we didn’t really want to look at a cave so we turned round and headed back.

One afternoon we visited Ranger Station No 8, 22KM from Dat Fah which is a Princess Chulabhorn project and it looked a great place to stay and to see birds and possibly other wildlife as we were told that elephants regularly walk the roads there. The place is quite high up with several concrete roads and some great views of the surrounding area. It is little visited because it has never been publisised. The lady at the gate was very welcoming and told us we could camp anywhere as long as the staff knew where we were. There are also houses for rent for 500b per night and we could get food cooked for us if we wanted.

We went back the next morning, gate open at 9am, and got photos of some birds on a couple of fruiting trees near the accommodation and a Black-thighed Falconet on a dead tree at the Princesses residence at the top of the hill. We decided to have a night in one of the houses as our last night in that park so made the arrangements with the staff.

Black-thighed Falconet

Next morning we packed up at the waterfall and headed to the house we would stay in which had a double bed and 3 singles and a good toilet and shower.

A crested Serpent Eagle posed on a power pole for us on the way in and most of the other birds I got photos of were on the same fruiting trees we saw previously. One of the senior rangers there is keen on birds and knows their Thai names he was very helpful as was his wife who cooked us a meal, did our laundry and sent us on our way with a basket of vegetables from her garden.

Crested_serpent Eagle

Next morning there was a real symphony of birdcalls and on a tree across from the house we stayed in a Crimson-winged Woodpecker was working on extracting breakfast from the trunk of a tall tree, drongos were flying around and bulbuls and leafbirds were feeding on the fruiting trees.

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter

There is plenty of potential for anyone interested in exploring this park farther however we only stayed 4 nights at the waterfall and one in the house then moved on.

A Shrew of some sort.

Bird list.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Asian Fairy Bluebird
Red-throated barbet
Ochraceous Bulbul
Black-crested Bulbul
Blythe’s Hawk Eagle
White-crowned Hornbill
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
Greater Green Leafbird
Blue-winged Leafbird
Black-thighed Falconet
Grey-cheeked Bulbul
Lesser Green Leafbird
Common Lora
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
Crested Serpent Eagle
Magpie Robin
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
Red-eyed Bulbul
Crimson-winged Woodpecker

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16 Aug 2016 13:27 #3937 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic National Parks of the South
Kang Krung National Park,

The last 18km of road to this park are in bad condition with many lumps and potholes, the park itself has a good size camping area but the toilets are a bit away. Because it was piddling down with rain when we arrived I chose to stay in one of their houses for the night and possibly 2 or 3 nights at 600b per night.

We had been told by a lady who once worked there that the best place for birds was several kilometers up a road into the forest and we had hoped to be able to drive up this road to that area, we were told by the staff that it was not safe to go up this road but one of the staff would go with us the next morning. I had expected to drive but next morning the staff member said no we walk, so we walked a couple of KM up the road and saw 2 flights of hornbill pass over, the first of 7 birds looked like White–crested and the second of fewer birds were Great.

There were also many birds in one high tree but because of the angle they were very difficult to get photos of, the only bird of note that I got a photo of was a Brown Barbet. The road as far as we walked was in good condition and we were passed as we walked by several vehicles I could see no danger. I got back to the house early so decided as we couldn’t drive from the camping area we would pack up and get some of the KM to our next and last target Kaeng Krachan behind us and stop somewhere down the road for the night.

When Ying went to pay for our one night stay she was told as we had said we would stay 2 nights we had to pay for 2 nights even though we only stayed one, unfortunately she paid them, if I had been with her they would only have got paid for the one night we stayed, she was also told that anyone staying more than 5 days has to pay another entrance fee. So if anyone visits this park (which I don’t recommend) be careful to only tell them you are staying only one night at a time.

Bird List.

Magpie Robin
Olive-backed Sunbird
Brown Barbet
Red-eyed Bulbul
Spectacled Bulbul
Dark-necked Tailorbird
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paul T

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29 Sep 2016 12:26 - 29 Sep 2016 19:35 #3973 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic National Parks of the South
That leaves our first and last stops Keang Krachan NP

I guess I don’t need to describe this place those who have been there will know it better than I and those who haven’t can find plenty of information here:

So a brief ‘what we did’, first stop: We had planned on 4 nights at Ban Krang and then another 4 at Phanoen Tung. After the first night at Ban Krang which was a Monday we were told that Phanoen Tung was likely to be crowded over the coming weekend and it would be better if we stayed there on weekdays. We took this advice and moved up on the Tuesday morning and moved back down Saturday morning. Our second visit on the way home we spent camped at Ban Krang and I drove up the road from there on 2 mornings.

Although there had been rain before we arrived the place was still very dry in the forest. On the way back in spite of daily showers it seemed even drier with less water in the streams. The place, as do most forests in Thailand, needs some weeks of heavy rain to see it over the winter and the next dry season.
It is 15 kilometers up a one way rough road from Ban Krang to Phanoen Tung that requires 4WD in places, as it is only a single lane road there are set times when you can go up and down. There can be birds seen in many places along this road and sometimes mammals, a couple of places are notable as they often produce birds. At around 9 Kilometers there is a sharp bend to the left round a steep gully here there are usually hornbill both flying and sitting in trees, this is where I got a good view of my first Wreathed Hornbill sitting on a branch up the gully.

Wreathed Hornbill

About 3.5 Kilometers farther up there is a bird sign and a parking area which is known as the 27.5 KM area, from here an old road runs down to a stream where there are often a lot of birds. There is also a waterhole beside the road which attracts birds to bath and drink in dry weather, it is well worth sitting and waiting for birds to arrive as many species can be seen. There were at the time we were there nests of a pair of Long-tailed Broadbill hanging over the water and these beautiful birds put on a great show perching close to their nest and flying back and forth. I spent quite a bit of time there and added several new species to my collection of photos including Ratchet-tailed Treepie which is only found in Kaeng Krachan.

Red-headed Trogon

Around the Panoen Tung campsite there were Mountain Imperial Pigeon and Thick-billed Green Pigeons roosting in tall trees and barbets and bulbul flying around. A pair of Great Hornbill visited one day and on another a troop of Dusky Langur’s. Our camp was visited in the night by a group of Malayan Porcupines looking for any food that had been left out but we expect this sort of visit and are very careful of food security.

Farther up the road past a lookout spot which is where most of the visitors go to look at the morning mists which hang in the valleys there is a side road on the right going up the hill to the Royal residence where the Royal family stays when they visit the park, there is a lookout shelter on the left of that road at the top of the hill where it is worth sitting and watching both down into the valley and the surrounding trees.

The road carries on up to a lookout and a steep trail to a waterfall. I didn’t go down this trail stopping at a parking area before the road goes steeply down-hill to the start of the trail, There were quite a few birds in the trees there as well as hornbill flying past.

On the way back down the road to Ban Krang there was a pair of Kalij Pheasants with a brood of young foraging on the road, difficult to say how many chicks there were for they were ducking in and out of the roadside vegetation but there may have been as many as 8. We also saw Red Junglefowl Asian paradise Flycatcher, Emerald Dove which are common, and other birds on the road.

Kalij Pheasants, male and female

Back down at Ban Krang there were Eyebrow Thrush feeding in the camping area and Laced Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped and Taica Flycatchers as well as other birds in the trees beside the stream, along with 3 Giant Black Squirrels. Pied Hornbill flew over on several days and Dusky Langur’s put on a great show of leaping from tree to tree across the road and at times crossing the camping area. Porcupines turned up most nights at the restaurant looking for food scraps and on a couple of nights on our second visit a Sun Bear which also raided our camp in the night getting hold of an old army mess tin which had a little left over rice in the bottom and destroying the tin in the process of extracting the last grain of rice. I came across an Elephant on the nature trail that goes to the right from the camping area and it walked down the road that night and round our tent.

There was a Silver-breasted Broadbill nest above the road about 60 meters back down the road from the parking area before the start of the single lane road up to Phanoen Tung, the birds were very photogenic taking no notice of the sometimes large group of cameras focused at them nor did they take any notice of vehicles passing directly under the nest but carried on flying back and forth with food for their chicks. I watched for some time and was interested to see that the male was carrying insects and the female fruit.

On the road out from Ban Krang to the checkpoint (15KM) there was a fruiting Fig tree which attracted a large group of Stump-tailed Macaque’s, Great and Pied Hornbill, barbets and bulbul.

A great place and well worth the total of 12 nights we spent there. I will return.

Bird List (photos)
Ban Krang

Asian Fairy Bluebird
Black-capped Kingfisher
Blue-bearded Bee Eater
Bronzed Drongo
Greater-racket-tailed drongo
Crow-billed Drongo
Spangled Drongo
Chinese Pond-heron
Little (Striated) Heron
White-fronted Waterhen
Green –billed Malkoha
Eyebrow Thrush
Forest wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Great Hornbill
Pied Hornbill
Greater Flameback
Greater Yellownape
Laced Woodpecker
Green-eared Barbet
Grey Peacock Pheasant
Indian Roller
Ochraceous Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul
Orange-breasted Trogon
Puff-throated Babbler
Racket-tailed Treepie
Red-wattled Lapwing
Silver-breasted Broadbill
Ticia Flycatcher
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
White-rumped Sharma
Brown Shrike
Banded Broadbill
Black-naped Monarch
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta


Dusky Langur
Stump-tailed Macaque
Malayan Porcupine
Sun Bear
Golden Jackel
Common Tree Shrew
Giant Black Squirrel
Common Muntjac

Golden Jackel

Phanoen Tung

Ashy Bulbul
Flavescent Bulbul
Mountain Bulbul
Ochrceous Bulbul
Ashy Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Chinese Pond Heron
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Blue-throated Barbet
Great Barbet
Moustached barbet
Eyebrow Simitar Babbler
Buff-breasted Babbler
Emerald Dove
Little Cuckoo Dove
Mountain Imperial Pigeon
Thick-billed Green Pigeon
Great Hornbill
Wreathed Hornbill
Green Magpie
Forest Wagtail
Kalij Pheasant
Little Spiderhunter
Streaked Spiderhunter
Long-tailed Broadbill
Radde’s warbler
Ratchet-tailed Treepie
Red Jungle Fowl
Red-headed Trogon
Speckled Piculet
White-crested Laughingthrush
Asian Paradise Flycatcher

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