Khao Phanom Bencha National Park


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Published: February 12th 2008
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massive dipterocarps treemassive dipterocarps treemassive dipterocarps tree

Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, Krabi
Another awesome national park down south. The pix of the langur monkeys were taken at Ao Ton Sai beach in Krabi. Found a great place to stay in the hills of Krabi called Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort , 075-660501) that had wonderful wooden fan bungalows for 800 baht a night with grand views of an epic pink/white/black limestone crag. The bungalows are set in a lush garden. The manager had to drag an 8-foot python away from the resort. He grabbed it with his hands, put it in a burlap bag, and walked away with it over his shoulder. The thing was thrashing for its life in his sack.

For more info on the national park and the 3-day hike to its summit (where a leopard was photographed recently by a French photographer), check out Thom Henley's book: "Krabi: Caught in the Spell".

Ao Ton Sai beach is OK at high tide, but still a bit rocky. The place I stayed at -Mountain View Resort (not be confused with the abovementioned place) is a monstrosity and I do not recommend it at all. The only good things about Ao Ton Sai are rock-climbing, which I do not partake in, and primate watching.
in the junglein the junglein the jungle

looking up at the canopy on the 'nature trail'
Heard gibbons singing loud and long one morning, and I set off to find them, but couldn't. Plenty of langurs and macaques, though.

I wrote up a more detailed trip report on Tales of Asia


Additional photos below
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high mountain swimming holehigh mountain swimming hole
high mountain swimming hole

this was at about 500 meters up on the nature trail, tier # 9 out of 11, I believe. This kept plunging further and further down, but the lip is not visible in this shot
bringing the elephants homebringing the elephants home
bringing the elephants home

There's a difficult-to-reach cave near the entrance to the park (which is the forested area in the background) that visitors use elephants to get to. This was the end of the day, and the staff are bringing them home
Natural swimming poolNatural swimming pool
Natural swimming pool

...at the Khao Phanom Mountain Resort, quite possibly the 2nd coolest establishment I have ever stayed at (after the Old Inn at Bandipur, Nepal). The water is tapped from a natural spring
some cavesome cave
some cave

there are several caves off the road to the park. there's my rented scooter too
langur monkeylangur monkey
langur monkey

a troupe of them come down to feed and frolic in the scrub forest behind the beach at Ao Ton Sai (not such a great beach, but good for primate watching)
Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve, ThailandHuai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve, Thailand
Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve, Thailand

from the air. this is northern Thailand, bordering Burma. Flew over this for about an hour. A paradise of endless jungle, limestone crags, rivers, waterfalls


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