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Thap Lan national Park

06 Jul 2017 10:08 - 15 Nov 2017 06:49 #4480 by Robby L
Thap Lan national Park was created by Robby L
I thought I had put this on here before but it seems not.

I am planning a trip to Thap Lan next week and went back to look at this report as I will go to this ranger station again after the HQ area.

Most who visit Thap Lan do so at the main HQ area off road 304 but as we like to get away from the hoards of chattering humans and explore where few others go we decided to try to find our way to a complex shown on Google Earth at GPS coordinates 14.371929, 102.286313.

The name of this is only written in Thai and click gives another Thai script which roughly translates to ‘Ranger Station No3’. We were going there from Buri Ram where we had been visiting friends and by some miss-communication we ended up at Lam Bpli Mat Dam ranger station No2 where we stayed for the first night.

We were to find that there are ranger stations along the whole northern edge of the park but unfortunately most of them are understaffed with sometimes only one or two people stationed at each which means they can’t do much more than check who goes in and out through their particular station. This means the whole length of the park border is quite porous with illegal loggers and poachers who know the area having easy access.

Fortunately the army have patrols stationed at the larger ranger stations which are acting as forest rangers and are responding to reports of poaching or illegal logging. We were to see the results of some of the seized logs and vehicles when we eventually got to ranger station No3.

A selection of vehicles seized from illegal loggers.

Some more.

From Lam Bpli Mat we used GPS to get to Ranger Station No3 which is called Kong Nam Mun a name which does not appear on any of the web sites on the park. We camped there for four nights (no charge) and got to know a very helpful young forest ranger named Guy who spoke English and took us to several other ranger stations as well as up the old road through the park.

One of the home made trollies used to cart logs out of the forest.

A couple more and some of the seized logs.

This station is situated on the northern end of an old road through the middle of the park which is now closed to the public. We were able to drive 21km up this road before we came to a muddy patch which looked too much for our old 2WD wagon. The first part of the road which is better than some of the public roads to other places we were taken is through second growth forest then into virgin forest. We didn’t have to travel far up the road to see elephant droppings but they were all old so no problem with encounters of the elephant kind. We also saw footprints of deer, cattle species of some kind and one of the smaller cats.

A pile of trolly (motorbike) wheels that gives some idea how many they have caught in the act.

There is a 2.5km walking track 13.5km up the old road and I walked it with Guy one misty morning, quite a bit of sign of wild pig and cattle along the track but no sightings. The mist and thick jungle made it difficult to see or get photos of any of the birdlife which we could hear but not see. An interesting walk well worth the effort.

HQ building Ranger Station No 3 with army tent in the left background and seized logs on the right.

We also did a night trip up the road but failed to see much in the headlights other than rabbits, the rear end of what was probably a deer disappearing into the forest and the bright eyes of birds that I took to be nightjars that flew off before I could get any sort of ID.

Guy took us to 3 other ranger stations where we walked in the forest and I got some photos of birds, butterflies and wild flowers. There were people collecting mushrooms in one of these places and the lady boss was in for that as she loves her mushrooms. Allowing the locals access for gathering mushrooms and herbs keeps them onside and does no harm to the forest, better having them as friends than enemies.

Ranger station 12.

The ranger station is fairly primitive with Thai style toilets, no accommodation or tents for hire or eating places although not far down the road there are plenty small roadside eateries. There are also problems with staff in these places for getting dedicated people who are willing to do the hard yards of forest protection in remote areas is no easy task. Even with the ones like young Guy who want to do the right thing by the forests there are problems with leadership from above as those on the ground can only do so much without strong direction from the leaders.

Elongated Tortoise, sub adult, at Ranger station 12

Well worth the visit from our point of view and we will keep in touch with Guy for he now has a Facebook page and we have his phone number. There are rarely any visitors to that part of the park and Guy would really like to see more so if anyone is interested let me know and I will put you in touch with him.

Will we be going back? Don’t know, as it is a long trip for us, took us 7 hours to get home through traffic but if we ever go to that part of the country again for any reason we will for sure be visiting.

And the birdlife, I ended up with 3 new species for me with some of the best right outside our tent in the trees above the toilets. There is also great potential farther up the road where we were hampered in what we could see by the mist.

RIP 2018 - Robby will always be remembered for his sharing of his trips and knowledge. Missed by all.

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13 Jul 2017 20:05 #4488 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic Thap Lan through the Back door
An update on this one.

Went there earlier this week ( 11/7/17 ) and all new management, would not let me in even to camp for the night so cross that one off the list of places to visit.

RIP 2018 - Robby will always be remembered for his sharing of his trips and knowledge. Missed by all.

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13 Jul 2017 20:20 #4489 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Thap Lan through the Back door
That's a big shame.
Was always on my wishlist to go there.

Any reason given?
Dangerous because of wildlife, poachers, or most likely loggers?
Or afraid that the visitors have bad intentions?

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