Khao Phanom Bencha - trailhead to mountain (and some updates).

16 Sep 2019 12:42 #5349 by peyronnel
Replied by peyronnel on topic Khao Phanom Bencha - trailhead to mountain?
The water levels were ok, not really a problem, We had more problems on the way down because it was raining so the rocks were wet from the rain but was still very manageable (even with trail running type trainers).
We saw quite a few big spiders but nothing more ( Red and black, Yellow and black)

We were more focused on making it to the top than looking around to be fair, we come from a trekking background but now that I have discovered this website , I am quite amazed at what you all do and will pay more attention to wildlife surroundings on the future.

I also paste this link which shows our itinerary and a photo

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23 Sep 2019 13:39 #5359 by peyronnel
Big thanks to the GPX trace we were able to do the itinerary in a day. Everything was perfectly clear even though we still got lost a few times.

The main reason for this post is to signal the path has been cut in the jungle. Maybe 500m after you enter the jungle few of trees with lot of branches and leaves fell on the track and you have to literally climb and walk over these for about 15 metres before you can see the path again. We wasted quite a lot of time there.

The second time we got lost is when you get out the jungle to cross the river again, you need to cross it and go up slightly , there are 2 cairns (stones piles) and need to re enter the jungle next to this second cairn.

It took us 9h30 car to car but we had heavy rain all the way down and it was very slippery. It was fun in the jungle but not so much in the river bed.

It was a first time for me doing "jungle mountaineering" and it was success. Make sure you have enough baterry to follow the GPX both ways and dont forget to bring a machete.

Thanks again to all of you on the forum who made this outing possible.

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22 Aug 2022 07:09 - 16 Sep 2022 18:39 #5869 by wvwv
Quick update, lots of leeches even at the Huai To Waterfall at this time of year.  Daily rain keeps the ground moist, leeches like those conditions.Last time I tried to walk the mountain trail it was a weekend and I met rangers with a trekking group on the path who turned me around. If hiking independently it's not recommended to go on a weekend for this reason, high risk of a wasted journey in dry season, maybe less risk in rainy season but then you might not get much of a view from the top if it's cloudy.  Unlikely to meet any staff on the path on a weekday.  I took the path on the left side of the river that time and it was very clear and easy to walk, so maybe go that way instead of the riverbed way.  It's marked as a dotted line on the BCN app.

Regarding the Dragon Crest Trek near Ao Nang, mentioned earlier, there is no guide requirement for that one but there's no public transport to get there. Sleeper Hostel in Ao Nang run a shuttle service every Tuesday and Friday for 300 baht. Go in the morning roughly 10am and back mid-afternoon. You don't need to be a guest.

Photos below are from the Tiger Cave Temple viewpoint, I stayed here late after sunset, there's a nice breeze and no mosquitos.  I think the bats are eating them.  Lots of insects are attracted to the lights and the bats come for the insects.  I had a hard time trying to photo the bats, I prefer them when they are hanging upside down.  When they are in flight you have to find a well-lit area, predict their flight path, prefocus the camera and then press the shutter slightly in advance when you see a bat coming.  Maybe with a more expensive camera there would be less shutter lag.


The horizon glows green in the evenings, it's the squid fishing boats:

Phanom Bencha Mountain:

Monkey grooming:

I saw this Malayan Pit Viper on the main road whilst walking to the temple, it was dark and I nearly stepped on it.  This is the second one I've seen, both in South Thailand and both about 30cm from the edge of the road.  Careful where you are walking!

A better bat photo, I got this one in Trang.  That day all the flying ants were emerging in swarms on Koh Libong and there was a feeding frenzy all around me with bats, geckos, squirrels all getting in on the action: 

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26 Oct 2023 10:59 #7007 by wvwv
Another interesting hike in Krabi is called Khao Tham Suea Pahksa Sawan Krabi Urban Forest.  There is a road 90% of the way up but most people use the road as a jogging path, there are few cars or bikes going up.  The last bit is steep steps from where you can get a view across to Wat Tham Suea and Phanom Bencha:



The road up is really rural, surrounded by forest at all times, and not well-maintained.  I think a high chance of seeing a snake or two if there aren't too many people out jogging.

There is a troop of, I think, stump-tailed macaques here and I am not sure you will find an easier place in Thailand to see this species because they are a lot less skittish than the troops you find high in the mountains.  If they are on the road foraging for food you can get within 20 metres or so before they run off.  A troop I found near the top of Phanom Bencha saw me from 200 metres away and immediately disappeared.  I have only just discovered this place so next time I will try and get better pictures.


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"Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." > Edward O. Wilson

"An understanding of the Natural World and whats in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment." > Sir David Attenborough

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