Traveling in Thailand – Natural Trails in Kaeng Krachan

Top of Panoentung Mountain in Kaeng Krachan National Park
Top of Panoentung Mountain in Kaeng Krachan National Park

For the first time in years, we are straying. Usually travellers with repeating itineraries, we do most of our vacations to places we know well. No-brainer trips mean we get a real rest every time. No need to explore. No need to plan much ahead. Just book a room and stick to the true-and-tried and be satisfied.

This time, however, we are enriching our memories. So we go to places that we have never been before. Our destination this time is Kaeng Krachan National Park in Petchaburi which is just a short drive from Bangkok.

Being on the opposite side of the more-frequented Hua Hin beach resort, Kaeng Krachan is still thankfully a wilderness waiting for us to explore. Listed as the national park back in the 1970s, Kaeng Krachan is Thailand’s largest national park with a vast area of over 1.8 million square rais (or about 711,663 square acres) covering two provinces of Petchaburi and Prachuabkirikhan. This is a place dense with natural trails for those wishing to walk around and observe the real ambiance of a tropical forest. On the top of the national park is Khao Panoen Tung where we drove up in a truck to see the morning misty scenes at the top of the valley. The top of the mountain is just 36 kilometres from where we stayed (Samarn Bird Camp down at the camp ground near the park’s entrance), but it took us almost 2 hours thanks to the conditions of the road.

Here’s our YouTube recollection of this trip.

Kaeng Krachan is a prime spot for bird watching and natural trekking. However, I feel a lot uneasy about the practices some tour guides do to lure out the birds and the general attitudes that seem to give zero care to the birds’ habitat and their well-being. Pishing is used freely and everywhere, causing the birds so much stresses. Trucks are used freely in the wild, meaning we are upsetting the animals’ habitats and environments all the time, up and down the trails and everywhere. Noises are used freely. People have no clues that they should just be there and quietly observe the nature. No shouting, no screaming, please!!

And there’s no control (such as limits of photography and pishing) whatsoever about how birding and trekking should be done. And this is not just about birds, but also about the rich ecosystem of the whole area.

We had a great time walking around even when we didn’t spot a lot of birds. Even with no pishing, but with the agility of our guide, we spotted some rare birds and wild animals. So fragile and innocent. If memories are your most treasured possession, you will only remember those lovely faces and pray and do whatever you can to make sure that tourism is not going to kill them all.


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