Thap Lan national Park

14 Jul 2017 13:35 #4490 by Robby L
Thap Lan national Park was created by Robby L
Thap Lan National Park and the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve.

Arrived at the Thap Lan HQ on the morning of Sunday 9th July waved through the gate, no entry charge, and went in to the visitor center where I was given a map of the park which showed several ranger stations and 4 camping places.

I drove up the (mud) road past the helicopter pad to where there were buffalo grazing which was as far as I could drive. There were several birds perched on dead bamboo, mostly Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters with Cattle Egrets round the buffalo, looked a likely spot for early mornings or evenings.

Cliff sign, the long ridge I drove up can be seen in the background to the left.

Then headed to the place marked No3 on the map which is 13km in from road 304, this is a cliff popular with tourists and being a Sunday quite crowded so I went a short distance back down to the ranger station and as there was nobody about drove on up a rough road that led up a long ridge that could be seen from the cliff lookout seeing a Siamese Fireback , another large dark brown bird that flew off and lots of deer tracks on the road. There were also 2 salt licks one with a lot of deer tracks where I put my trail cam and another with old elephant sign. I stopped at a place about 3km in where I could turn around, this turned out to be the high point of the road and I stayed there for the night as it was getting late.

Te second salt lick.

In the morning after some overnight rain I walked about another KM or so down the road which went steadily downhill, lots of Gaur tracks down there as well as some deer tracks. The road carries on from where I turned and would be drivable (4WD) in the dry. Back at the vehicle I drove back down the road which was pretty slippery after the rain to the place where I had left the trail cam to find there had been Elephants there overnight. The trail Cam had been slightly adjusted but was still attached to the tree and when I looked at the card I have 4 short videos of 2 female Elephants and 2 young calves, after they finished at the salt lick they had walked a short way down the road and into the forest, very glad I didn’t meet up with those ladies as they may have seen me as a threat to their children. Not much in the way of birds to be seen up there but lots of mammals.

Entrance to the cliff ranger station.

After getting back on a real road I went for a look at Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve which I had read about being a very good place for birds but saw nothing on the entrance road and not much more on a walk up the road that goes up into the forest from the HQ area.

I then tried for another place I had read about Sap Sadao which is another entrance to Thap lan. I had found Ban Sap Sadao on Google maps and went there and on through cassava and sugar cane fields to a rough road into the forest which went downhill, only went a short distance as I am not keen on driving down as should it rain I may not be able to get back up another reason for turning back was the marks of a tractor that had gone ahead of me for he may be up to some illegal activity and could resent me being there. It would seem I missed the place I was looking for as there is supposed to be a ranger station there.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater.

Back to a parking place for the night off the main road where there are 3 toilet blocks with a shower in one of them.

Rest area, room fr tents if you wish.

After a good night sleep it was 7km back up road 304 to Sakaerat for a morning walk up the road and down to a dam which is their water supply. Again very little in the way of birds, only took photos of 4 species (all common) including a Little Grebe on the dam, obviously the wrong time of the year again.

Little Grebe.

From there it was about 70km to ranger station 3 at the north of Thap Lan where I had been before but it now has all new staff and they wouldn’t let me in not even to camp so very disappointed as I was looking forward to visiting there again. Had to turn round and head back to road 304 and down to a camping place called Suan Hawm marked on their map as 2, missed the turn off and as it is a pest trying to do a U turn on that busy road I carried on back to the HQ where I drove up to the buffalo area again seeing a lot of birds, a Mouse Deer on the road and a Hare at the grazing area.

Green-billed Malkoha

Then to overnight close to the camping area toilet block, nice big thunder storm started at 8.30 and the rain continued all night to clear at daylight so after breakfast I again drove up a very slippery track to the buffalo area where there were lots of birds on the dead bamboo. This turned out to be the best and really only place where I saw a reasonable number of bird species.

Learnt a lot about the place which should be worth another visit.


Crested Bulbul
Cattle Egret
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Common Flameback
Common Iora
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Green-billed Malkoha
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Hill Mynah
Indian Rollar
Little Cormorant
Little Grebe
Olive-backed Sunbird
Plain-backed Sparrow
Racket-tailed Treepie
Red Jungle Fowl
Scaley-breasted Munia
Spotted Dove
Streak-eared Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Vernal Hanging Parrot

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14 Jul 2017 14:42 #4491 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Thap Lan national Park
Hi Robby, you did better than me with Sap Sadao - I got lost in the fields and never found the place.

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22 Jul 2017 09:20 - 22 Jul 2017 09:28 #4504 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic Thap Lan national Park
Hi Paul

Was doing a search for info on Pang Sida when I came across Sap Sadao on Nick Uptons site

From his maps I have worked out where the ranger station is and it is a long way from where I was.

I went into the forest at GPS 14.463715- 101.954064 this is a rough road that looks to run down to a river and continues on right through the forest, it should be no problem to drive in the dry.

The Sap sadao Ranger station is at 14.398794-102.165457
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