A Year in Bangkok – Wildlife Watching

20 02 2011

Entering Kui Buri National Park

There is an article in today’s Bangkok Post informing us that a poacher has been shot dead in Kaeng Krachan national park. Apparently there was a shoot-out between forest rangers and a gang of poachers on Friday. The same gang is suspected of being behind the slaughter of an elephant in Kui Buri national park last October but they were disturbed by visitors to the park. Sedatives, darts and the remains of some dusky langurs were found in their camp.

Slaughtered in Kui Buri 20th October 2010

Some time ago, I read that elephant attacks on humans were on the increase and that this is a world-wide phenomenon. There is no consensus on why this should be although common sense suggests two probable causes to me: poaching and the animal/human conflict over land use.

Elephant in Kui Buri

Kaeng Krachan has long been a good place to see wild elephants but it is becoming quite dangerous now due to elephant attacks and more than one person has died as a result of that. Quite a lot of hotels in the Hua Hin area offer wildlife watching trips to Kaeng Krachan but I’m not too sure how safe they are.

Elephant in Kui Buri

I know a Dutch guy who has a small boutique hotel near Hua Hin and he also takes people on such trips. Not only does he own my favourite hotel in Thailand (The Long Beach Inn in Dolphin Bay), he also knows his animal behaviour and is the only person I would happily go wildlife watching with.

Long Beach Inn, Dolphin Bay

January and February are arguably the best months for seeing some of this country’s magnificent wildlife. The main reason for this is that, as we near the end of the dry season, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the animals to find water thus making it easier for us to predict where we might see them. There is a relatively new national park now at Kui Buri, about an hour further south of Hua Hin and this is probably the best place in Thailand to see elephant as well as all sorts of other wildlife.

Elephants in Kui Buri

There are two safe places to watch from here. One is up a tree with a rickety platform in it and is good for elephant watching. The other is a cliff top and, from there, you can see gaur and other large mammals if you are lucky.

Gaur from the cliff top in Kui Buri

You go to the visitor centre and wait there while park rangers check on animal movements and they then take you to the best place for watching them.   You can see dusky langurs in both of these parks but my favourite place for watching them is Khao Sam Roi Yot national park, very close by and so close to The Long Beach Inn that you can cycle there, using a bike which Bram (the hotel owner) will happily lend to you.

Dusky langur in Khao Sam Roi Yot

There are several big cats in Kui Buri and you can stay there overnight. The first time I went there, it was seriously difficult to find as nobody in Kui Buri city seemed to have heard of it and we ended up getting directions from somebody at the local police station but now it is well signed from the main road.

Leopard in Kui Buri



2 responses

8 01 2013

It would be nice to know the name of that national park in Kui Buri.

Best regards, Stefan

8 01 2013
Ben Salmons

Stefan, it’s called Kui Buri national park! 🙂

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