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× 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.

Wang Bon Reservoir (short Trail into Khao Yai) and Heo Prathun Waterfall

23 May 2021 01:35 - 23 May 2021 02:35 #5638 by wvwv
 

I'm not sure if Wang Bon Reservoir is run by the national park or not.  The land is presumably national park land because it is part of Khao Yai forest, but the fee structure seems completely different.  Entry is free, which happens occasionally in other Thai national parks, but the fee to rent tents is 50 baht, which is much cheaper than usual.  Also there doesn't seem to be any charge to take your own tent and use the facilities there, whereas in national parks that's always 30 baht per person per night.  When I went it was closed for covid, but there was nobody about so I went in and had a look around.  Normally they will rent you kayaks for 50 baht to paddle across the lake to a small waterfall (dry during my visit).  It would be a good place to camp for a night, perhaps on a Friday, before heading into Khao Yai for the weekend.  On the west side of the lake there are the remnants of a neglected trail which I think was used for the Wang Bon Trail event which last ran in 2019.  You could follow it for a while before it became a bit confusing.  There were fig trees and kraton/santol trees fruiting and some elephant footprints on the edges of the lake.

 

 

 

Over at the end of the dam wall there is an interesting trail, not marked in any way.  It is not inside the barrier so even if the camping area etc is closed you should still be able to get there.  This trail leads to the main road through Khao Yai, bypassing the southern entrance ticket checkpoint.  It is only about 1-2km in length.  The first few hundred metres is not easy because there are many trails all over the place but after that most of them seem to merge into one and then it becomes easy to follow until you reach the road.  There are a couple of mud baths at the side of the trail and there was elephant activity everywhere.

 

It slopes gently uphill all the way.  You join the road about 3km inside the park at nowhere in particular, I'm not sure why the trail is in relatively good shape because it doesn't really go to a destination.  I read trekking is amongst the activities offered at Wang Bon as well as the kayaking, so perhaps staff use this trail for that.  Perhaps they do it as a loop - coming back out via the road and then walking/driving back to Wang Bon through the villages.

 

The GPS track is in the next post if anybody wants to try it.  The first time I managed it without any track or guide but that initial part I mentioned took me a little while, it was almost a maze of tracks, probably mostly animal tracks.  I was just trying to head in the direction of the road as straight as possible.  It would be easier with the GPS track.




Also on my last trip I managed to get to Heo Prathun Waterfall for the first time, this is the last one of the trio of waterfalls on the same stretch of river; Heaw Suwat - Heo Sai - Heo Prathun.  Does anybody know what Heaw means and are Heo and Heaw the same word?

Heo Sai is reached easily enough by starting at the bottom of the steps at Haew Suwat, about 50 metres from the waterfall itself.  Where the steps finish, take a left, walking away from Heaw Suwat WF, and follow the trail or the riverbed for about 1km.  Heo Prathun is another 1km from Heo Sai but the trail is not so obvious (I mostly walked along the river bed) and I think it is more commonly reached via the long 8km Visitor Centre to Haew Suwat Trail.  To save time it would be best to start from the Heaw Suwat end, the trailhead is shown here:

 

There is no marking where to turn off the main trail to get to the waterfall and you wouldn't notice the path without the GPS track (in next post).  On the way back I found the path leading up to the 8km trail and so that was easy going back to Heaw Suwat.  Heo Sai and Heo Prathun are very similar waterfalls in terms of height and width.  Both are about half the height of Heaw Suwat and both have swimmable pools.  I went in dry season so very little water.  I've been to Heo Sai many times and never met anybody else there.  A nice place to relax.  By the way that 8km trail is supposed to have a guide to accompany you.  This is Heo Prathun (not much water in dry season).

 

And from the top of the waterfall looking down:

 

Heo Sai in rainy season:

 
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23 May 2021 02:31 - 23 May 2021 02:45 #5639 by wvwv
Wang Bon trail GPX track:

File Attachment:

File Name: 05210927wa...0523.gpx
File Size:34 KB


Heo Prathun / Heo Sai GPX:

File Attachment:

File Name: 03291501he...0523.gpx
File Size:60 KB


Some more pics (phone camera) from 2 day trip to Khao Yai:



 







Saw quite a few gaur at Nong Pak Chi at 5.30am but I didn't have a camera with me so didn't bother walking over, I've seen them there 4-5 times now.  Particularly in the mornings they seem to regularly be chomping on the grass but you have to get there early; by 7am they've gone.  Also I had a walk down the Manao Waterfall Trail but it's in bad shape now, not possible to follow I would say, unless you know it very well.  I turned around at the first river crossing, still a long way from Manao WF.
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24 May 2021 06:38 #5641 by Paul T
Great write-ups and directions as always! Cheers.

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