Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary is close to the Chulabhorn Dam and the nearest large town is Chumpae in Khon Khaen. It has an area of 1,560 square kilometres. The geography consists of a sandstone mountain range with high cliffs. It is one of Thailand's premier sanctuaries that allows limited tourist access.
I spent mid week in Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary. I had not been in February before so wanted to see what conditions were like. It was very hot and very dry! I only seem to go about once or twice a year because of the drive being so long from Bangkok - it was no shorter this time! Nighttime was VERY cold and I needed the second sleeping bag at 3 am in the morning as it was too cold to sleep with just one. As is usual mid week, I had the camp site to myself which is always nice.
The open areas as well as the forest areas of dry dipterocarp are extremely dry and I noted that I only saw about 3 or 4 Hog deer on the main Thung Ka Man field as it was totally devoid of grass - all dried out. Interestingly for me it had caused all the sambar to take to the different lakes to eat some kind of water plant. It was interesting because I was there to practice my videoing skills (lack there of) and the sambar gave me a great opportunity to work on my video gear and practice my technique to see were my problems are (everywhere ;+).
On the last day I spent the morning in the birders hide at pond number 1 ("miracle pond") which was very interesting as I got to photograph some birds I had not seen before (which is just about all of them !!!). You can book time in the hide at the headquarters and it seats up to 4 people. I would recommend phoning ahead though because the hide was booked solid whilst I was there and I shared it with 3 others.
In reference to the dryness of everything - I would expect them to start controlled burning soon. If you check the other trips reports (see the April one) I would expect the burning to commence sometime next month (March) so check ahead for that as well. But would still be worth a visit as the sambar were coming into rut and the male hog deer were in velvet as well so rutting for them should commence soon as well.