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Thung Yai West - Trip Report

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4 months 4 days ago #5029 by wildambience
Thung Yai West - Trip Report was created by wildambience
I just published an article on website about a visit to Thung Yai (West) Wildlife Sanctuary back in December 2017 - https://wildambience.com/location-trip-updates/thailand/thung-yai-visit/

Here's a few notes which may be of interest:

Thi Nuey:

We entered via the Thi Nuey ranger station which is about an 90 minutes drive from Thong Pha Phum. I received permission form the DNP prior to entry, although I think it may not be needed just to stay at the campsite at Thi Nuey as has been mentioned in a previous post - wildlifethailand.com/kunena/25-wildlife-...710-thungyai?start=6 . However if you're going all that way it is probably worth getting permission so you can go deeper into the reserve where there is more variety of habitat and certainly more sign of large mammals.

There is one main access road into the reserve which is a dirt road and was quite muddy in sections, even though the weather had been dry for a couple of weeks prior to my visit. We had optimistically hired a Toyota Fortuner 4WD hoping to drive ourselves in, but the rangers made it clear that this vehicle was not going to make it through. At first we thought they were underestimating my driving skills (!!) but the next day when I was on the trail we realised that their advice was sound. There were very deep ruts in the road, deep enough to damage the standard front bumper or side rails of a factory 4WD. The rangers do grade the road from time to time so there would be times when the road condition is better than this, but I wouldn't count on it. Thankfully, a local friend was coming to meet us the next day in his ranger style banged-up modified 4WD!

We spent our first afternoon and following morning walking the first 4 kms of the road from Thi Nuey and recording the sounds of the forest. The birding was excellent and there was very little traffic, only the occasional ranger on a motorbike. Mammal sign along the road included deer, wild boar and pugmarks of a medium sized cat (about 6cm diameter). Around Thi Nuey, hill evergreen forest the main habitat and the birds and other wildlife are a mix of what you would find in the hills of Kaeng Krachan and the mid-altitude forests further north. For some species, Thung Yai is pretty much the northern limit of their distribution (eg. Banded Broadbill) and for others it is the southern limit (eg. Rufous-necked Hornbill), so there is an interesting mix of fauna. While the forest around Thi Nuey is quite beautiful, we really wanted to head deeper into Thung Yai to increase our chances of seeing large mammals and explore some of the drier forests.

Thi Khong:

On the second day we met up with our friend and headed off for Thi Khong ranger station, about 12km further along the main road from Thi Nuey. After about 5 or 6 kilometres the forest started to change and patches of deciduous forest began to appear. It was a slow, bumpy journey but the views of wild, healthy forest made up for the discomfort! As we got closer to Thi Khong, mammal sign on the road became more common, including tracks of gaur, deer and pugmarks of tiger. It seems the large mammals prefer this mixed deciduous/evergreen habitat where there is a grassy understorey.

Once we arrived at Thi Khong, one of the rangers took us to see a nearby salt lick and watchtower where I left one audio recorder overnight (this one picked up mainly Sambar Deer alarm calls ). We also drove to a viewpoint a few kilometres further along the road and found some fairly fresh tiger pugmarks as well as recent sign from a small pack of dhole. There is a nice mix of dry forest, evergreen gullies and bamboo forest in this area. We left another recorder overnight near this viewpoint and recorded some very distant tiger roars at dawn the next morning, as well as plenty of calls from Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, White-handed Gibbon & Dusky Langur - plus a nice mix of birdsong.

The next morning we retrieved the recorders and wandered around some of the trails close to the ranger station. Later in the day we headed back towards Thi Nuey and then carried on south to Kaeng Krachan. I wish we could have stayed longer and our original plan was to spend three nights at either Thi Khong or Maharaj (Song Thai) which is the next ranger station about 18km further along the road. However the plans changed last minute due to reasons outside of our control, so we had to settle for just the two nights/three days. I'd love to go back and spend more time in Thung Yai in the future, but not sure what the situation is with permits at the moment after the recent poaching scandal.

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4 months 4 days ago - 4 months 4 days ago #5030 by WT admin
Replied by WT admin on topic Thung Yai West - Trip Report
Great write up Marc, thanks for sharing.

Note to all - be sure to click the link to the full article as there are some really nice info/additions. Some great sound files too - made me hacker to get back in the forest.

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4 months 1 day ago #5040 by Geoff Potter
Replied by Geoff Potter on topic Thung Yai West - Trip Report
I managed to get my Fortuner in and out of the Maharaj campsite about two years ago, it was not easy and I got stuck at least twice. A good tip is to ask the rangers if they are heading in or out that day and go an hour or so ahead of them, lots of mammal sign further in and I believe the actual Thing Yai area is even better. Thats further in, and needs a different level of permission.

NB: I saw my only Marbled Cat at Thi Nuey, on the road near the camp.

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