× Over 400 species of birds are known to occur within the Park’s boundaries, and 57 mammals. Larger mammals include elephant, gaur, sambar deer, banteng, serow, and bear, indo-chinese tiger, leopard, both common and Fea’s muntjac. Malayan tapir, white-handed gibbon, dusky and banded langurs, Asian wild dog, otter, and wild boar.

Panoenthung entry Nov 1

05 Jan 2022 15:48 #5727 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic Panoenthung entry Nov 1
Lots of good points and I agree with them.

The morning ride up is likely to be stopped as its really only for the people paying trucks to see the Sea of Mist, your going to stick out if you try to go up with them.  For camping we were told we could only go up at 1pm and we definitely would have preferred to go up in the morning however nobody bothered to check any of our paperwork or tickets.  Rangers fussed with me as well about this and some of the other rules for travel up and back

The restaurant at the top had quite a menu on night one, but the second night was a fixed simple menu (based on volume), i would advise you bring your own food.  I was told by phone absolutely no fires either gas grill or bbq cooking is allowed however I saw both happen both nights I was there and even lots of alcohol flowing for paid groups.

Choose your camping day wisely, weekends are going to have the max of 150 people at least through Jan, maybe beyond, weekdays will have far less and be likely more enjoyable.  Temperatures at night are fantastic for sleeping in a tent

The walk to the top of Thor Thip trail is nice and the rangers who knew me had no issue with walking it, they were only surprised i made it all the way down and back.  If you decide to go all the way make sure your prepared, its almost all uphill on the way back from the old view point.  Due to timing your going to have to do it after a night of camping since they wont allow early arrival (from what i could see).

The hope that the road and Thor Thip Trail may be open for New Years sadly did not come to fruition and there is no discussion of it being a possibility 

Your entitled fully to your own view and opinion on what else I saw below:

The "non-rangers" at the top seem to have quite a business going at the top.  They charge 1,500 for a truck to bring you up and another 250-450 baht to use one of the tents they have pre-installed and also in the best locations to camp.  Once we arrived it was only 30 of us so I asked if i could move one of the empty tents to set up mine, I was met with a pretty negative look as they were "prebooked" which was confusing to me, I spoke with a Ranger i knew and he said he could do nothing about their private enterprise.  Within an hour those prebookings miraculously cancelled and I was allowed to move a single empty tent from a prime location from a non-ranger and set mine up, however I felt like I was a major burden to them.

As there is now True Move service at the top of the mountain I saw quite a few non-rangers spending a lot of time on the phone to explain pricing to potential customers.  One of the paid drivers was kind enough to tell me his story of previously having daily trips to the top and the effects of covid ravaging his business and family, I do have sympathy for this but I am conflicted to see capitalism at work in a National Park.

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11 Jan 2022 12:01 #5728 by wvwv
Replied by wvwv on topic Panoenthung entry Nov 1
This goes on across the country at various national parks where they ban you taking your own vehicles in or walking, just so they can provide a transport service.  They make excuses for why you can't go independently such as quality of road, dangerous animals etc.  I can't speak for Kaeng Krachan because I've never been but here are some examples off the top of my head:

Thi Lor Su WF.  The road, especially in dry season is easily navigable by scooter or 4x4, perhaps not normal cars, but they only let you in if you pay for them to drive you there or use their expensive river rafting service.

Phra Nakhon Cave at Sam Roi Yot, the trail over the cape (maybe 400 metre distance) was not allowed to be walked because it had been raining so they force you to take the boat around which is a service provided by local boat drivers.  There is nothing wrong with the trail at all, it's a complete scam that they operate on the pretence of safety.

Many popular waterfalls make you park outside the checkpoint about 1km from the waterfall and then charge everybody 10 baht to drive you to it in a golf-cart type vehicle.  You can walk but they know most Thais won't.

At Phu Sang WF in Phayao I was asked for 10 baht by a ranger to park a scooter on a grass verge at the side of the main public road!

There are some occasions in which it is reasonable to be driven by a guide or ranger such as the Kui Buri elephant area where you get a safari-type experience, but even in that case they make no effort to combine groups, from their perspective the more cars going the better because you pay per vehicle not per person.

You could even make a case for this being why trails in Thailand are so poorly marked.  It would take one ranger half a day to properly mark a typical 3-4km trail, so that anybody could walk it without a guide.  But if they did that, there would be less demand for guides thus they would reduce a revenue stream.  Perhaps this is also why roads in national parks are often kept in such a poor condition, so you can't easily drive them yourself.

I'm not begrudging them of the extra money on a starting salary is 250 baht a day (including meals + accommodation), but they should do it in a more transparent and honest way.

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