Sunday, January 18, 2009

Birding at Kaeng Krachan National Park - 14/1/2009

Where is Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan national park is the largest national park in Thailand, It is about 200km south west from Bangkok (Krung Thip). It was 1st declared as the National Park on 12th June 1981. Later it was officiated by the secretary of ministries of Agricultural and Co-operation on 12th Dec 1984. It was then the park boundary extended.

Today the park is 2,915 sq km, located in Tenasserim range, lies as a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar. This park covering part of district Nong Ya Plong, Kaeng Krachan and Tha Yang in Petchaburi province to Hua Hin of Prachuap Kiri Khan province. The highest mountain is Ngan Yik Vong Tong 1,513 m asl, follow by Panoenthung 1,207 m asl.

It's topography is mountainous with vegetation of rich tropical broad leave forest. Petchaburi and Pranburi rivers flow through this park. Kaeng Krachan dam was built in 1966 as a water catchment area for one of the river that flow in the park

Thailand has a tropical climate having 3 season namely – wet, dry and winter. November till mid February is winter where the temperature in some places can drop to single digit celcius. Since Kang Krachan is situated more towards to the south during my visit in the morning at Panoenthung the 2nd highest point is about 15°C. March till April is the hottest and the most driest month. May till October more rain can be experience. For a rough weather forecast preferably to use it's nearest town Petchaburi as a reference.

How to get there
For foreigner like myself 1st we need to fly to Bangkok. Since Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand, there are many flights to it's international airport at Suvarnabhumi. Then to continue the journey can opt for self drive preferably to use 4WD as there are 3 streams need to cross at Kaeng Krachan National Park from Barn Krang campsite to Panoenthung. It would not be a problem for a normal saloon car/van to reach Barn Krang campsite. For comfort travel we hired a van together with it's driver fuel on us with a daily rate of 1,800 Baht. Days we need to go to Panoenthung we hire a 4WD from the transport services offer by the local at Kaeng Krachan villages.

From Bangkok Rama II road hit to Samut Sakon and then to Samut Songkram and this will lead you to Phetchaburi Province. Before reaching Petchaburi follow the sign to Kaeng Krachan. We use this and the journey takes us about 5 hours as we stop for shoppings and lunch along the way. Actually a non-stop journey only takes 3 hrs. Alternatively, it is possible to travel via Nakhon Pathom and Ratchaburi Provinces.

Park Fees
200 baht for foreigner, 20 baht for local, 10 bath for thai children, 30 bath for car, 40 bath for pick-up, 70-80 baht for larger vehicle.

In this trip I noticed that Baht is much more worth to buy at Bangkok. Once you land at Suvarnabhumi airport there are a few money changing counters that offer more attractive rates than in Malaysia here.

Place to Stay
Facilities offer by the park are very limited, during peak season the limited bungalows available could not cater for the amount of tourist.
To know what are the accomodation available click

During this recent visit during weekend I was shocked to see all the 3 big campsites are full of tents. For comfort living there are a number of guesthouses outside of the park located at the Kaeng Krachan Village. However for foreigner the only set back is to daily pay 200 Baht park entrance fees.

For this trip me and my teammates we stayed at A & B Resort at 591 Moo 1 Tha Yang-Kaeng Krachan Rd, Ampher Kaeng Krachan, 76170 Phetchaburi Province
Every chalet is equip with a queen size bed, clean and nice modern toilet, towels are provided selling at the price of 600 baht per night. To booked talk to Chalongporn Maneeratanachatchai tel 032-459338, fax 032-459339 mobile 08 98912328 If call from outside thailand I think we need to add thailand country code +66 in front. Alternative email them at

We feel very much at home at this resort cause the owner's wife Chalongporn can speak fluent cantonese beside being a good cook, PR officer and Resort Manager. Her husband can converse in good english. This is indeed a added points for us who have language problems in thailand.

This is how the chalet looks like from outside. We stayed at those chalet at Zone A. Each one of them are also equip with air-con. Me and my roommate do not swith it on and we close every doors and windows for it was winter during our visit.

See what I meant every chalet is equip with a bridal bed. There are a number of accomodations that you can pick your choice. This is one of it.

Another altenative I notice Barn Maka

My Field Trip Report
I took the 1st flight AK880 of the day from LCCT to Bangkok depart from LCCT at 7:50am expecting arrival at Internation Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport at 8:55am local time. Since it is a 2 hrs flight due to the time difference I took the opportunities to read field reports that I can find from the Internet. I was wondering why there are not as many field trips reports just like Doi Inthanon. Later only I know that this largest national park in thailand is not extensively visited by birders.

Airasia flight landed 15 mins earlier. It was long walk to get to the conveyance belt to claim the check in baggages. After passed through the immigrations waited for a while outside at the Starbuck Cafe for my other teammates come down from Khao Yai National Park to proceed to Kaeng Krachan together. I could not join them earlier due to work commitment. They told me they have good sightings at Khao Yai such as Blue Pitta.. for this news I indeed listen with great jeoulosy.

Along the way, our van driver who use to service birders drop us a while to Wat Changlung. He wanted to show us nesting swiflet. I was amazed of this priceless nest. Wooow.. this Wat is indeed "Chook dee.." (bless). This is my 1st time seeing fresh bird's nest that are yet to harvest.

From the edible swiflet's site we proceed for lunch along the way. OOPs a small decent looking shop I notice after lunch while most of my teammates are enjoying their desert (cofee). My shopping spree start. Somehow I feel thailand seems to made more better good quality and affordable clothings than in Malaysia. Imagine a cap for kid only cost 10Baht. For this I regretted that I did not pick it up for my nephew. After than we need to drop to the hypemarket big C for 30 mins along the way to purchased our 4 days breakfast.

After we have done all the shopping we head to Kaeng Krachan, along the way we passed Petchaburi. I notice this is a different outskirt compare to what we have in Malaysia. Here I notice big plot of paddy fields, palm sugar along the way and most of all the big plot of salt pan like big plot of paddy rice fields.

After we have check in to A & B Resort, as it would not be justify for us to Barn Krang Campsite for a short 1.5 hrs window of light for birding, Mam introduce us to Kun Eek who owns Barn Soong Nork. Even though it was a first time to met up with a few of us... but we all seems to exchange news like old friends met up because of the common interest... bird watching. She mentioned about Durai of Fraser's Hill.. merapoh....

Thank you Kun Eek for taking the trouble to prepare a tea sesion for us.. Khun Eek is a retired school teacher and as well a self made artist. She hand painted beautiful birds potrait on hat and T-shirt.

We make use of the available windows of daylights to look out for birds here. Arrrh.. It really excite me to have a good look at the Grey Treepie. Too bad I could not capture it's blue eyes to share with you all.
Birds that I notice here

Ashy Drongo the sub spp leucogenis, Grey Treepie, Black-Naped Monarch, White Rumped Shama, Indian Roller, Streaked-eared Bulbul, Sooty Headed Bulbul, Red Whiskered Bulbul, a flock of Egret spp.

As the daylight disminish we called it a day and we head back to A & B Resort for dinner. Normally food serving at thailand is small therefore Mam help us to order 7 dishes normally it would be just nice for 7 adults. To our surprise not only all the dishes is delicious (aroi mak-mak) but they come in as a big serving. It is indeed a big banquet. ... phew... how to sleep ...I'm so full.

Look at this dish the fish seems to be bigger than the plate.
After dinner before we retired to be we head to look out for night birds. I secretly hope that I would tick Indian Nightjar but.. but this seems to be the Large-Tailed Nightjar.


ANZAGA said...

Preciosas las aves de su país. Buenas fotografías. Saludos desde Spain-España. ANZAGA.

Ying Chi said...

Hi! We are some birders planning to go to Kaeng Krachan the coming january. We would like to book the transportation. Can you please give us the contact info for the driver you hired?