The Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Uthai Thani and Tak Provinces, Thailand. The sanctuary was established in 1974, and is one of the largest and most important protected wildlife areas in Southeast Asia. The wildlife sanctuary was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1991. The protected area is home to a diverse range of animals including large mammals, birds, and reptiles. It is Thailand's premier Wildlife research sanctuary.
Work commitments have been keeping me from the trails lately but I managed to get up to the headquarters area of Huai Kha Khaeng in Lan Sak last week.
Conditions were good and there was not many people about for a long weekend. A pair of jackals and a family of wild boar were seen on the mammal front, signs of elephant, banteng and deer were all about. The trails in this area are quite easy and well maintained although the "view" route was hard to distinguish at points and had no markers.
The second two trails, namely "home of the tiger" and "Khao Pak Dee viewpoint" can be walked as a single trail setting off from the "home of the tiger" start point (it is well marked). The "tiger" trail is super easy but not much to shout about, it is evergreen forest and has a nice resting point by a bend in the river.
The Khao Pak Dee (stay [or rest] well mountain) is much more interesting as its through dry dipterocarp forest and the climb gave my lungs a good blow out after week of inactivity.
The two trails are connected (point A leads to point but it seems this route is not maintained as was experienced in our walking the bottom half of the (the point A leg on the diagram) route leg.
The total walk was around 5 kilos but you can do anything you want, the tracks are well marked except for the Khao Pak Dee viewpoint trail.
Length of trail :: 1 to 5.5 (round trip) say average of 3km
Hiking time :: 2 to 3 hours
Difficulty level :: easy/moderate (depends how far you want to go)
Terrain :: Mixed Evergreen forest and Dry Dipterocarp forest
Minimum essentials :: 1 L water and a snack
Seeing loads of tracks when I visited HKK HW area, but I guess I should have spend some more time at the watching towers there. Discovered the towers (2, not sure of there are more...) only on the last day of the trip...
Onflipflops - are they open to the public? B4 you needed permission to access them. Always wanted to go to them.
@Trekker, That's a good question.
Well, there is a road sign telling about the Pong Chang Puak trail. And a small parking area, and no sign saying you need permission, though on the sign they don't mention the tower. The best way to get directly to the tower is to walk from the parking area back along the road in the direction of the park entrance and turn right into the dirt road. You'll pass a little ranger station and continue along the track to the tower. It's a short walk.
We met the ranger that was staying in this small station along the trail and he did not mention that we were not allowed to go, nor did he ask if we had permission. We asked why the tower was not mentioned on the road sign. He told it used to be a popular spot, but now the park management tries to reduce the number of visitors by simply not showing the tower on the map.
While at the tower we saw several Green Peafowls, macaques (they were far in the distance, not sure which species...), Indian Muntjac and Sambar. Quite a lot of tracks of elephant and Banteng.
However, the other tower (closer to the camping area), is more hidden away. It's quite a walk, but actually most of the track can be done by car. 2 Thai Photographers had parked along this track, and walked the last few hundred meters or so to the tower. However they set up 2 little hides near the tower. I did not want to bother them, so not sure what they were after.
They were the only other visitors on the days that we were there.
Though, when we passed the gate before reaching the camp, a ranger (the only one that was not very welcoming to us) first started interrogating us where we had been. We told we had visited the first tower, but did not mention the second tower as I was not sure if that was allowed. And then he wanted to know if we had seen the 2 photographers. The ranger had not seen their car. In my opinion the photographers were not doing anything wrong, and the way he asked we certainly did not want to tell him where they were, so we told we did not have a clue.
So, in other words, it seems like visiting the first tower is fine. The second one is still a question.
Interesting, the routes that come off the main road into the HQ have always puzzled me and have never fully got my head around them (public, non public, drivable, non drivable) and the last time I was there,there was a host of new parallel tracks that were being maintained with a drag sled (so you can see new animal tracks clearly). If you find out more, pls do let us know. Theres a watch tower behind the first gate on the left which is usually locked (the gate) but last time I was there it was open in the evening. Did not venture down though. Intrigued.