Located in Phetchaburi province, Kaeng Krachan is the largest national park in Thailand covering an area of 2914.7 km². With 400 species of birds, the Kaeng Krachan national park is best bird watching spot in Thailand. The park also is home for over 57 species of mammals and wide variety of butterflies. If you are into bird watching and camping, you will love this wonderful part of Thailand.
Kaeng Krachan Geography
The Kaeng Krachan national park is 28th national park was originally covering an area of 2,478 km² was established in 1981. The park was later extended. Two main rivers, Phetchaburi River and Pranburi River originate within the national park area. The Phetchaburi river flows into Kaeng Krachan dam which is located at the eastern edge of the park. The park consists of vast area of both land and water. A large rain forest covers most of the land area that result in abundant rain and water flow throughout the year in both rivers. The national park which consist of portions of Nong Ya Plong, and Kaeng Krachan districts and Hua Hin district is a part of huge continuous rain forest that extends deep into Myanmar (Burma) covering an area of approximately 30,000 km².
Birding at Kaeng Krachan
Bird species like Blue Pitta, Orange-breasted Trogon, Great Slaty Woodpecke and Banded Broadbill are often seen at Kaeng Krachan. Savvy birders have spotted rare species like Giant Pitta at this wonderful rain forest. Other bird species found in this natural habitant includes Kalij Pheasant, Ferruginous Partridge, Eared Pitta, Grey Peacock-Pheasant and many other rare birds. A weekend trip to Kaeng Krachan is good for camping and get to know the national park. However if you are seriously into birding you might want to spend couple of more days here. Often it takes more than one trip to listen and spot birds like Tickell’s Brown Hornbills. Beautiful hornbills are often found here including the Oriental Pied and Wreathed Hornbills.
Birds like laughing thrushes, babblers, flycatchers, bulbuls, warblers, woodpeckers and leaf birds are common in this national park. A unique species of Kaeng Krachan are the spectacular Broadbills. The broadbills are very difficult to find. However during the breeding season from February till July you can spot broadbills building nest. Silver-breasted, Banded, Dusky, Long-tailed Broadbills, Black-and-yellow, Black-and-red and the rare green broadbills are spotted by birders at Kaeng Krachan national park, Thailand.
Visiting Kaeng Krachang National Park
The rainy season in Thailand is from June to August. Due to global climate change we noticed that during the last couple of years rain fall continues till late October. The camping sites are Ban Krang and Phanoen Thung are open for visitors throughout the year. The Pala-U Waterfall is located at southern edge of the Kaeng Krachan national park.
How to Get There
Kaeng Krachang national park is aproximately 178km from Bangkok. If you travel by car you could reach the national park entrance in 2.5 hours. If you are going by bus, get down at Phetchaburi and get a cab. Alternatively you could also make Hua Hin as a part of your trip.
Accommodations and camping sites are available near the national park head quarters. You could rent the camping equipment from here. However there is nothing much to experience here. I suggest you to travel to Ban Krang camping site which is 15km away from the head quarters. The Ban Krang camping site is comfortable with toilets and a small Thai restaurant. This camping site is ideal for families especially if you are traveling with kids.
For birding and more serious camping, I suggest you to camp at Phanoen Thung. If you have a pickup truck you can go further to Phanoen Thung campsite which is another 15km drive from Ban Krang. The road from very narrow and quite steep and hence only one way travel is allowed. Hence the national park authorities have stipulated strictt time schedule for driving between the two camping sites.
- From Ban Krang to Phanoen Thung campsite: 5:30 am – 7:30 am and 1pm – 3pm
- From Phanoen Thung: 9 am – 10 am and 4 pm – 5 pm.