Khao Kitchakut Trail (Chantaburi) and Koh Chang trip

13 Jun 2021 01:10 - 13 Jun 2021 01:33 #5645 by wvwv
Short trip to Koh Chang and Chantaburi to get out of mostly shutdown Bangkok and to be able to swim!  Pools in bangkok all closed for a long time now, makes no sense as chlorine kills any virus almost immediately.

Koh Chang doesn't have much snorkeling opportunity and it's close to the mainland so the water is a bit murky, but Koh Mapring is a small island at the north of Koh Chang which has some nice corals.  Visibility is okay if you can get a few consecutive days without wind or rain.  At low tide you can walk along the coast (about 2km, mostly rocky and pebbly, interspersed with some small beaches) and then it is a 200-metre swim across open water. 

View looking across to Koh Mapring:


View looking back to Koh Chang from Koh Mapring:


That boat is called Ocean Guardian and it is run completely by solar panels on the roof.  I believe the DNP owns it and they use it in the Mu Ko Chang National Park area.  It is very slow.

An uncommon copperband butterflyfish, some batfish, and a bluespotted ribbontail ray were the highlights of my snorkel. 




A lot of the jungle trails on Koh Chang have started to become overgrown having not been walked much for a long time.  I attempted a couple with mixed success.  Saw a green viper which is quite common on Koh Chang. 


Went to a few waterfalls over a couple of days before heading to Chantaburi.  First picture is an unnamed waterfall quite deep in the jungle in Klong Prao area.  Other two pictures are Klong Nonsi Waterfall.




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13 Jun 2021 02:05 - 13 Jun 2021 02:24 #5646 by wvwv
Klong Nonsi Waterfall has so many waterpipes along the edges of the stream to supply the houses and resorts beneath it and I don't understand why they can't just have one pipe and have it branch off at the bottom.  Also some of them have been there for so long I'm not sure that many of them are even connected to anything anymore and everytime I visit there are more broken pipes all over the place.  When repairs are made they don't carry the broken pipes back down with them they just dump the pipes at the side of the waterfall.  I spent an afternoon dragging some of these broken pipes down the levels of the waterfall and dumping them at the carpark.  I found a tarantula and a mouse within the pipes who will now have to find a new home, sorry about that!



Beaches were mostly empty. 

After Koh Chang I went to Chantaburi just to have a go at a trail I'd seen mentioned somewhere going up to the top of Khao Kitchakut.  The startpoint for this trek is near Khuan Pluang Reservoir at a big concrete chimney, I have no idea what the chimney is for, let me know if you have an idea.  Coordinates for chimney 12.818412, 102.179539

Before you get to the chimney there is a barrier after which you will have to walk unless you have pre-arranged your trek with national park staff and are walking with a ranger.  After this barrier you go past a hydroelectric station which is the only place I worry you might be turned around if somebody saw you.  I did see a guy here on the way back and he just smiled and didn't seem too bothered but I always think it's hit and miss when you are walking without staff and somebody in a position of authority sees you.  This is the hydroelectric plant:


This is looking across the reservoir at Khao Kitchakut, you can just see the chimney tower on the right: 


There is a small hut at the start point and some toilets which don't work.


You cross a small stream very near the start and after that stream there isn't any other water source until the top.  This isn't a particularly long trek but it is steep so if you don't have much water remember to fill up here. 


I don't have any views from the top because the whole day was completely shrouded in fog/clouds but it was interesting because I was expecting people - this is a major tourist attraction and whilst I knew it was not open at this time of year, I was expecting some monks or DNP staff, but there was nobody anywhere; I walked around the buildings and shrines for a good while.


The big boulder below is the rock where the 'buddhas footprint' is, which is the big draw.


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13 Jun 2021 03:06 - 13 Jun 2021 03:06 #5647 by wvwv
The trail itself is steep throughout before it flattens off near the top.  It's easy to follow but as always it's advised to have the GPX track which I will post below.  This track is already pre-marked on the backcountry navigator app (free version).  There was no litter at all on the trail so kudos to whoever didn't drop it or more likely, whoever picked it up.  The length is almost exactly 3km, not including any distance spent wandering around the area at the top.  Within that 3km there is 714 metres of altitude gain.  The average person will take 2-3 hours to climb it.  The place where you arrive at the first buildings at the top is at 934 metres but the highest point is 1060m.


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I spent one night in Chantaburi Town and the place where I was staying had a rooftop area.  I sat there watching thousands of swifts (I think) come back to their nests after a day of catching insects.  People are harvesting their nests.  You can see they have built small extensions on the tops of buildings to mimic caves.  The swifts makes nests there out of their saliva, and the nests are removed and sold to the Chinese.  Apparently it is very profitable.  The openings to the artificial caves all have a light next to them, on the below picture.


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