A 2900km sq part of the Western Forest Complex which runs along the Thai-Burma border, Kaeng Krachan has probably the greatest variety of wildlife in Thailand. Wildlife viewing here is good, camping is good, and there are stunning mountain views at a second 4WD-access camp.
The park can be done independently, but realistically, you need either a vehicle or a guide to get in. And if you want a guide, get the best, from Tontan Travel.
Kaeng Krachan is Thailiand's largest park, accessible from Hua Hin.
It is arguably the best wildlife viewing park in the country, although Khao Yai may disagree.
Just a small portion of this massive protected area is open for visitors.
Mammals, reptiles, birds, cats, elephants, bears are all there. One of nature's most delciate creatures also abounds.
I've never seen a roadsign warning for butterflies before.
KK is famous for our winged friends, and drivers really do need to slow down for them.
Like many larger Thai parks, there are tents to rent, well kept camp grounds, and most importantly, a stall selling beautiful Thai food.
It's so nice after a long walk on the trails to relax, and order from a menu. No camp cooking!
The main camp is at Ban Krang, from where several walking trails depart. There is plenty of wildlife around there. An elephant brushed up against our car as we slept.
4WDs can access the higher Phanoen Thung camp, where spectacular morning mist rolls across the hills.
We had two days on our own, where we spotted quite a lot of wildlife, inclduing gibbons, langur and giant squirrel.
We also hired a guide for two more days. Tontan Travels don't come cheap, but, wow- our guide's ability to spot wildlife was ridiculous.
The orange-breasted trogon was one specie I'd hoped to see. Check.
A customer from another group said her guide had shown them TWO bird species. Ours would have shown us 40. (These are langurs, not birds, I know.)
I'd never seen a binturong, but he found one- about 2km away in treetops, and lined up a good view in his scope.
Fantastic as TonTan were, I still love getting away without a guide, even though I'll miss stuff they'd see. Finding, or smelling, or tracking, or hearing stuff yourself is special.
We saw plenty of dusky and banded langur, white-handed gibbons, hornbills, rollers, elephant poo, elephant tracks, elephant damage.
Two big thrills came on the same afternoon. Finding a hornbill (top left), watched by a dog, in the toilets was kinda cool.
And heading back to camp at dusk, finding this fine specimen eating its way alomg the road. Round the corner, and there she was.
We didn't see bears or cats, although I think we heard a leopard at close range. Maybe.
Even if you're not a butterfly nerd, Kaeng Krachan is one awesome national park.