Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries
The Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary (เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าทุ่งใหญ่นเรศวร) and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (ขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าห้วยขาแข้ง) are adjacent parks in the Uthai Thani, Kanchanaburi and Tak provinces of Western Thailand. At 622,200 hectares combined, they form the largest protected area in Southeast Asia, and were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. They are best visited from Uthai Thani.
The reserves consist of almost every kind of forest found in Thailand, including mountain virgin forest, dry virgin forest and pine forest. It has a total area of about 5,775 square kilometres. In addition, it is the watershed of rivers flowing to Srinakharin Dam.
Flora and fauna
The unspoiled nature of the reserve makes it an ideal home to various rare and endangered animals such as wild buffalo, rhinoceros, wild elephant, tapir, leopard, wild bull, etc.
There are 2 routes to the Huai Kha Khaeng reserve: First route is to enter through the reserve headquarters that is around 102 kilometres from the province. Take the Uthai Thani-Nong Chang road (Highway No. 333) past Amphoe Nong Chang to Highway No. 3438 (Nong Chang-Lan Sak) to Km. 53-54, then turn left onto a laterite road for about 14 kilometres.
Access to the Thungyai reserve is harder, as the roads are poor. Take the route Thong Pha Phum-Sangkhla Buri near Huai Suea to Khli Ti Village, a distance of 42 km. After that, there is an intersection leading to the Wildlife Sanctuary Headquarters at Huai Song Thai another 40 km.
Designated points in both sanctuaries, listed below, are open to visitors. Access anywhere else in the parks or staying overnight requires permission, obtained by writing at least 15 days in advance to the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Office at the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkhen, Bangkok or Tel. 0 2561 4292-3 ext. 765.
Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary has 3 points through which visitors can tour the area:
1. The area around the reserve headquarters is in Amphoe Lan Sak, 34 kilometres from the district. The area has an exhibition building and the Sup Nakhasathian Memorial. The Khao Hin Daeng walking nature trail is about 4 kilometres long. There is also the Pong Thian viewpoint.
2. The area around the Cyber Forest Protection Unit in Amphoe Huai Khot is the site of the Huai Kha Khaeng Nature and Wildlife Study Centre to be set up by a private organization of Suep Nakhasathian Foundation under the approval of the Royal Forest Department. The centre consists of a study, a nature trail that has direction and information signs, trailside exhibitions, and viewpoints, among others.
3. The area around Huai Mae Di Forest Protection Unit in Amphoe Ban Rai has a nature study walking trail arranged by the National Park purposes.
- Namtok Takhian Thong (น้ำตกตะเคียนทอง) The waterfall is in the area of Tanao Si Mountains, the Thai-Burmese border area in Amphoe Sangkhla Buri, a part of Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. Its water source is from Myanmar flowing along the boundary mountains leading to Thailand at Huai Song Ka Lia.
Due to the completeness of the forest, water flows all year round. It takes 30 minutes to get to the first level of the waterfall with a smooth route covered with bamboo, rattan, ferns and various kinds of large trees. Sometimes, it is better to take a shortcut passing along the stream. Tourists can experience the different beauty of cascades where water flows from many directions and disperses to the basin or the wide ground.
To get there, take Highway 323, go straight on for 4 km. until you get to Amphoe Sangkhla Buri. Pass the intersection on the right leading to the Three Pagodas Pass then take the route Sangkhla Buri-Three Pagodas Pass until Km. 12-13 where you will see a sign, and the waterfall is on your right. Turn into the intersection on the laterite road for 9 km. to the car park. After that, go on foot for about 30 minutes to the first level of the waterfall at the Safeguard Unit.
- Namtok Khli Ti (น้ำตกคลีตี้) ‘Khli Ti’ in Karen language means ‘Suea Thon’ (lone tiger). The waterfall is located in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, and its water source flows from the top of Khao Di Ka near the sanctuary. To travel to the waterfall, go on foot about 2 days from the Khli Ti Karen Village. Crews and local guide are needed.
Moreover, Namtok Khli Ti Lang (น้ำตกคลีตี้ล่าง) is located above Khwae Yai Lake near Khao Ngu Stream. It takes 2½ hours to get there by boat from Kradan Pier or Mong Krathae Pier.
- Tontan Travel (Wildlife safaris), ☎ 0878745794 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Wildlife safaris in Huai Kha Khaeng. These wildlife watching tours in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary are a great way to discover the wildlife of Thailand like the endangered Banteng (wild cattle), Golden Jackals, White-handed Gibbons, Long-tailed Macaques, Green Peafowl, Asian Elephant, and lots more. Accompanied by an experienced, English-speaking guide you will head out on safari drives, jungle hikes, and patiently waiting at wildlife observation towers to look for any of the elusive animals that call this reserve their home. Huai Kha Khaeng has the largest tiger and leopard population of any place in Thailand and possibly even the whole of Southeast Asia, and on these safaris you'll try to find pug marks, scent marks, scratches on trees, and if you are extremely fortunate you might even catch a glimpse of one of these big cats, but even in the best sanctuary in the area getting a sighting of any of the big cats is still very rare. These multi-day guided trips are all-inclusive and include accommodation. edit