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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.

Khao Yai - Khao Laem Grassland

02 Jan 2021 15:26 #5551 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Khao Yai - Khao Laem Grassland
Last year, I was with a couple people in Khao Yai and we were stopped by rangers on the road to Pa Dieo Die whilst we were walking along the road there, important to add that this was at night. Not allowed. We were told the fine was 1000 baht per person, we were a group of 5, so 5000 baht total.
We followed the rangers to the HQ, but after some talking they reduced it drastically to only 500 baht for the entire group (so, 100 baht per person).

And yeah, I visited Kaeng Krachan yesterday with family and being the only foreigner in the group I was the only one that had to pay. No surprise, but yeah it's kind of sad that even on a special day they can't have the decency to wave it for everyone.

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07 Jan 2021 14:00 #5555 by wvwv
Replied by wvwv on topic Khao Yai - Khao Laem Grassland
Same thing happened to me but I was very close to the campsite, just on the old golf course road so 100 metres or so from the nearest tents, albeit with that river in the middle.  Politely argued with the ranger in his jeep for a while and he told me it was dangerous because (amongst other things) there were tigers.  I lose all respect for people when they start lying to me and in the end I just carried on walking and he gave up, shouted something out of his window and drove off.  I would have simply refused to pay in your situation, they aren't taking you to court for walking on a road at night and you have already paid over the odds to enter the park in the first instance.

The longer I stay in Thailand the more angry I get about the dual-pricing and casual racism in Thailand in general.  Recently my regular swimming pool of 6 years in Bangkok went from 15 baht a time to 150 baht, but only for foreigners, Thais continue to pay the same rate.  This at a time when there are no tourists in Thailand, everybody here of working age pays taxes and even the people on retirement visas must keep however much it is in the bank, this is not including the other taxes that we all pay such as VAT.  It seems most countries in the world are doing the best they can to rid their societies of discrimination yet Thailand is going in the opposite direction.  I would love 10 minutes in a room with the people who make these decisions to try to understand their thought processes.

I went to Koh Samet the other week and they have moved the ticket checkpoint to the pier, so you cannot get onto the island without paying as you could before.  This was not mentioned before buying the boat ticket, otherwise I would have turned around and gone somewhere else, so again I argued with the ticket staff for a long while, not expecting to get in for Thai price, but I believe if nobody kicks up a fuss - if we all just smile as we go through the turnstyles - they will think that what they are doing is acceptable and they will have no reason to change.  I also used to think that the guys manning the ticket desks were just doing their job and they don't set the prices and it is unfair/inappropriate to subject them to an argument, but the longer I stay here the more I am of the opinion that they are complicit - they are standing right next to the price boards which are clearly discriminatory and they are enforcing those prices, and they are being paid by their xenophobic bosses with that same money.  They are profitting directly from discrimination and I don't care if they only get 10,000 a month or whatever, it's not an excuse.  They could get the same in 7 11 or pretty much any other job.  The SS guards releasing gas into the chambers were also just following orders, obviously we are not talking about mass genocide in Thai national parks, but it is the same.  I'm very doubtful that the pier and the village where you enter the island is even national park land anyway, otherwise the ticket checkpoint would always have been there and not halfway down the island as you enter mainly forested land, as it was before.  But perhaps the sea you came across on the boat is a national park area so they justify it in that way.

And I think that what we actually see/hear with our eyes/ears is only the tip of the iceberg.  Because thais are so conservative and never say what they actually think and are super cautious about being considerate (the whole kreng jai concept) we never experience the true extent of racism in Thailand.  It all happens when you are out of earshot or in Thai language on facebook.  National parks are one of the few places they are forced to be upfront about it, because they want the money.  It is endemic here and it runs right down through society from the very top.

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10 Jan 2021 09:26 #5559 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic Khao Yai - Khao Laem Grassland
The famous excuse for trails in KY that i always get is "elephants fighting, too dangerous" 

I am always amused to asked the rangers of KY about Tigers and them saying "yes they see their tracks all the time" I suppose with the new bridge over Thap Lan it could be true someday:-o

I also laugh how they say we can ask for permission, yet they never say yes.  I have always said I am happy to sign away my liability to walk in the jungle, I fully understand its at my risk that I do so yet this isnt factored in if thats indeed what they are afraid of.  I do see them give some merit to showing that your using GPS, but its rare.  

I also dont mind walking on the trails with Rangers, but often they are just in a rush to get you there and back without actually enjoying the time your there or bothering to teach you things they know about the forest.  If a park demands Rangers for walking on trails then it can often lead to a new source of income that I dont know where it goes.  KY long trail Ranger asked me for 1,000 baht for his time, thats a fair bit in the grand scheme of things and not really something i feel comfortable bartering price about.

Kui Buri is another fantastic national park with a scheme.  You get the park entrance price with no option but to go with the local guide/car, an interesting concept which I can only hope the funds go back to the surrounding villages and they in turn protect the animals because if i recall all in price is over 2,000 baht and they hate staying there past 6pm 

Each year, this year the same the DNP and other Govt agencies say they are going to review and reform the double standard pricing but as we have seen nothing ever happens, or in the case of KY and KK, the prices go up!  I would have more respect if they actually owned up rather than the yearly rhetoric of them saying they are going to change things.  

Sorry for my rant but I might actually be feeling better typing it out8-)

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12 Jan 2021 12:48 #5560 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Khao Yai - Khao Laem Grassland
In the case of Kui Buri, the park authorities take about 20% of the 850 baht you pay for the local vehicle with assistant, if I remember correctly. The rest goes to the driver and assistant. I like the idea behind it, as all drivers are local farmers that loose plenty of crops to the elephants, so this way they can sort of compensate the loss. I think it definitely has made the majority of the locals more tolerant towards the elephants. 

Unfortunately it is not perfect either. Some drivers are OK, some are less enthusiastic... I know a few people that are truly good people with a genuine love for the wildlife that do a lot for this club of drivers, but I have also heard from them that not all members are as dedicated, unfortunately. 

And as a visitor, like you say, you notice that too. They like to rush back before 6pm. I know that is also because the park authorities have sort of ordered them to, but still in most cases it is just them wanting to go home. The head ranger of the station inside the elephant viewing area is very tolerant so I think the drivers using that excuse do so more because they just wish to go home. They sort of get used to the average tourist that is not too wildlife minded and just has a quick look and then is fine to return after a short stop at the viewpoints. 
If you start early, you will need luck to have a driver that allows you to stay inside till the end. The solution therefore is simply not starting too early, haha.
And yeah once they have been to the last viewpoint and there is nothing to see they normally won't try to drive a bit back and forth and return later, they will only consider heading back. So, in theory it is a nice system, but for the true naturalist it is just more frustration. 

And yeah I agree with all the rants haha. And it gets even more frustrating if you see all the misuse of the funds...
But yeah, don't get me started on this, because it will ruin my mood. ;-) 

I guess compared to some countries it is not that bad in Thailand. Well, the two-tier pricing is, but I mean the fact that in most parks we are still allowed to self-drive and even walk by ourselves on the trails without any ranger. There's plenty of places in the world where you can't do any of that. 

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