× 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.

Khao Yai Long Trail from HQ to Haew Suwat Waterfall

09 Dec 2020 10:33 #5526 by jonathanbkk
Haven't walked this trail in awhile, its technically the longest trail Khao Yai has to offer and I have previously logged GPS for it, very few people end up walking it so its always exciting and you never know what you may run into.

So last weekend there was a bit of a temperature break so thought it a good day to get into Khao Yai, the morning was quite cold, well under 18 degrees which makes for easy walking.

In the past this trail has been made infamous for hikers getting lost, even a tail of school children having to spend the night deep in the jungle because they got lost. Because of this i kept my GPS on, I do know Rangers will also take you on this trail for a cost. Both carriers of DTAC and TRUE work for most of the trail which is great

The trail is in great shape, its quite well marked most of the way and dry (its a very different trail in rain season) now making it a great time to try if you dare

The dare comes because its a very active Elephant area, we ran into a group of them within the first hour and they were quite noisy and hard to figure out exactly where they were (this has happened to me twice before). We locked down for about 20 min until they moved on, they were also surprisingly vocal which made it quite nerve wracking. The rest of the trail we saw a lot of recent activity and heard another single elephant off in the distance.

Some of the other animals seen were as follows:
-Hog Badger
-Both species of Gibbons
-Silver Pheasant
-Blue Pita (not seen it in KY)

Lots of tracks for Elephants, dhole, Guar, Deer, and Pig

We took a couple of detours to look at secondary trails, most were made by large animals and one resulted in the largest mud pit I've ever seen, frequently used by elephants. The second was down to see one of the additional waterfalls on the way to HS, no real trails for it just rock hopping to get down but beautiful, expect to startle a few animals on the way.

If you do decide to go make sure you bring about 2-3L of water as your going to be on trail for at least 4-6 hours, GPS is a must to be safe (or a ranger), if you have it bring Pepper Spray (Bear Spray), a fully charged phone, and your thumb because your going to have to rely on hitch hiking back to your car at HQ!

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10 Dec 2020 13:20 #5527 by wvwv
I think people get lost because in parts there are lots of red spray markings on trees. They must have been done by rangers to demarcate research areas or something, but they can be confused for the marks for the trail, which they aren't. Since there are animal tracks all over it only takes some of those red dots to follow an animal track and you're off trail. With the GPS track you are fine.

When I did this I did the HQ to Heaw Suwat Trail, then the Heaw Suwat to Pla Kluay Mai Campground Trail, walked a few hundred metres along the road from there, and then took a different route through the jungle which joins the HQ to Heaw Suwat Trail about halfway along it. Saved hitchhiking and saved backtracking the same route, but was a lot of walking, I guess about 18km. That last stretch of trail even though it was marked on my GPS app (backcountry navigator) was not well travelled - impossible to follow parts of it without the GPS.

I was at Huai Kha Kaeng over the weekend and heard elephants trumpeting not far away, similar to you. I was walking along one of the dirt roads. Sometimes if there's an echo it's hard to judge exactly where they are so you aren't sure which way to walk.

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10 Dec 2020 14:17 #5528 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic Khao Yai Long Trail from HQ to Haew Suwat Waterfall
Your right, lots of markings and old cuts on trees can get a bit confusing. I would say 90% of the trail is currently very well marked, but as dry season always does and with animals tracks and fallen trees, you can find your way off fairly quickly

Your also right about sound, it carries far further than people think. Since Elephant feet make almost no noise, its quite nerve wracking to hear the separation of trees and brush as they move, then for sure you know they are close! I was walking in Pang Sida with rangers and I could hear Saturday afternoon dance music off in the distance but still what seemed close. The Rangers said if we walked directly there it would take 2.5 days but that the sound carried deep through the valleys

The trail your talking about, Trail 3 I tried to follow half way down Trail 1 and could for about 1km but it quickly gets lost and they dont seem to keep it in condition anymore. I was keen to try to follow it out on the last trip as I have never done so but i dont have that log for GPS done and I was going to have to guess work it out. Also and very interestingly, T3 started filling up with A LOT of Gaur tracks and I wasnt keen on startling them if indeed they were using the area to rest by day. I am thinking to go back Saturday and start at the campground to see if i can use my GPS to connect things as I hate leaving things unfinished!

Also would be interesting to see if rangers would go down Trail 2, that would be an interesting part of the park for sure

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11 Dec 2020 00:22 - 11 Dec 2020 00:22 #5529 by wvwv
Will be a lot of cars in Khao Yai this weekend because it's a 4-day holiday and cold weather too. I went a few weeks back just on a normal weekend and the campsite was basically full. I was cycling through from one side to the other over a couple of days and cars were passing every few seconds, it's not so enjoyable like that. Couldn't believe it and thought I must have forgot about a holiday, but I think it was just the start of winter and Thais wanting to go someplace cold. Actually I have noticed generally Khao Yai is busier than last year and previous years. Before you could go in rainy season on a weekday and there would be only about 10 tents on the field but this year on my trips it was always double or triple that. Maybe people making up for lost trips from when it was closed for those few months earlier this year. Or maybe people who would have gone abroad staying closer to home.

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11 Dec 2020 09:02 #5530 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic Khao Yai Long Trail from HQ to Haew Suwat Waterfall
Last weekend was the 3 day weekend, every inch of both campgrounds was covered by tents and they were still letting people drive in and cause a huge traffic jam. People were setting up tents between car park areas, and even into the jungle they put up tents, literally anywhere. Maybe it had to do with Thais getting in free, of course as a foreigner I still had to pay my 400 baht entry fee. Definitely had to do with the temperature as it was a perfect 18 all day

Then to my surprise they opened the grasslands near HQ for camping(where the bear killing helicopter sits), it was also ENTIRELY full with hundreds of tents and people parking everywhere. My guess was that there could have been as many as 10,000 campers there and I have no idea why they wouldnt pre-book people to save the headache people must have had

This is why the long trail is nice, even with all these people its extremely rare to see anyone on it

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13 Dec 2020 12:04 #5533 by wvwv
That grassland area near HQ is an official camping place, but they only let you use it when the other campsites are full, as an overflow area. That's why there are facilities around there like toilet blocks etc. But I have gone in those toilets before and would not again!

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