× The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers, including tropical seasonal forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400–1,000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds, and 67 species of mammals, recording in this, Thailand's most famous National Park.

Gaur, otters, elephant and a new waterfall (for me anyway)

02 Oct 2020 13:45 - 02 Oct 2020 13:50 #5498 by wvwv
The name of this waterfall is Heaw E Am. From the south checkpoint of Khao Yai (Prachinburi), travel east 30km to Than Thip Waterfall. It was closed when I went - no idea why - but most of the Thais don't go to the actual waterfall, they stay in the clear river water next to the road instead.



There is no camping I know of at this waterfall but you can travel to the next waterfall along where you can pitch a tent next to the lake. Takhro Waterfall is a waterfall by name only, in reality it's a river with some tame rapids. Takhro WF is 40 baht for Thais and foreigners.



I camped there and headed back to Than Thip WF the next morning, with a view to reaching Heaw E Am Waterfall upstream. It's rarely visited compared to the main Khao Yai waterfalls, but is a decent 20-30 metres height. There are few reviews online. It's a steep 4km walk which might have something to do with that. It looks like some people are too lazy to walk and are taking scooters up. There are two barriers aiming to block bikes which don't really work because you can drive around them through forest. I thought if they really wanted to stop people taking bikes up they should put down some spike strips and cover them with leaves. This area of Khao Yai is all reclaimed forest, nothing like the main Khao Yai area. I believe they're replanting/rewilding it.

The walk is all on a dirt road and the steep sections are concreted. The start point of the walk is less than 1km from Than Thip Waterfall, at the side of the road at coordinates 14.191508, 101.538758. My GPS track is below but this dirt road is marked on Google Maps so you could just use that. You arrive at the top of the waterfall and the way down to the bottom isn't obvious. Look for an abandoned toilet block which is the only structure around, and there is a rope leading down about 5-10 metres away from that.



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I went through the main part of Khao Yai after that and spent a few days camping. Highlights were the otters and gaur, I have seen gaur before in Khao Yai but in almost total darkness. This time it was 6am at Nong Pak Chi just as they were heading back into the forest. The otters were at that small bridge on the back road between Mo Singto Lake and Laem Takhong Campsite, 5-7 of them. On the bridge railing there are small concrete animals which I think are supposed to be otters, so perhaps it is quite common to see them there.

It was raining every day multiple times, usually in the afternoon. Just after a downpour in the space of an hour I saw 6 snakes swimming across the lake at Nong Pak Chi. At one point there were 3 on the water at the same time. I've never seen that before, very strange. I didn't take a scope with me that day so the pictures aren't great but it's definitely a snake right? Nothing else swims on the surface of the water like that with head up and tail swimming side to side? After the 6th one I walked down to the edge of the lake to get some better pictures but of course no more appeared and nothing the next couple of days either.





I also went to Khao Phaeng Ma which is not part of Khao Yai but adjoins it. You can always see gaur here in my experience, I don't know of any easier place in Thailand; perhaps Kui Buri matches it. The grassland is about 1-2km away from the viewpoint. I think before they used to run safari style jeeps through the grasslands like they do at Kui Buri, so you could get closer, but I never tried that. It seems they've closed down all tourist facilities since last time I came 2 years ago, and there is only a skeleton staff looking after the area. The road has a barrier across but you can get past on a bike (road is not good) or walk 4km (steep). The office area is all derelict with mice chewing up paperwork.



The grassland in centre of picture is where the gaur are.



Best I could do.

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02 Oct 2020 14:05 - 02 Oct 2020 14:15 #5499 by wvwv
Gaur, otter and elephant pictures from Khao Yai. There were 3 gaur to begin with but by the time I walked over one had gone in the other direction. Tracks are otter tracks.



















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03 Oct 2020 12:21 #5501 by Paul T
Great photos, I especially like the first elephant shot, I would have been very happy to take that one myself.

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