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Rainy season hiking in Khao Yai national park

Trail from Nong Pak Chi to Khlong E-Tao camp 07 September 2003
Walking in the evergreen forest in the rainy season is not very popular. However this is the time the forest is very healthy and green. Vegetation and plants are in their full growth, all green and wet. Wildlife is everywhere since water is plenty. Streams and rivers are fat.

Ones need to prepare for its protection against leeches. These blood suckers come out to the ground surface in the wet season. They are plenty. Most insect repellants are found to be not very effective. One solution is to use leech socks which are made from finely woven fabric cloth that leeches can not penetrate. You also need to have strong walking shoes to walk the muddy and slippery ground.

I walked with a national park guide. We started late in the morning at a point on the highway 2090 (about 4 km north of the headquarters). We walked on a dirt trail through grassland for 1.5 km to Nong Pak Chi wildlife watch tower. From here we continued to the west on the wet land passing through lush forest. The forest were very green and wet, and there were leeches almost everywhere. We crossed Lam Ta Klong river by a fallen tree trunk.

Many vegetation, mushrooms, fig fruits, insects, birds, reptiles make up the forest life. After one and a half hours of walk we emerged into an open space from where we saw Khlong E-Tao ranger station in the distance. From Nong Pak Chi it is about 4 km to Khlong E-Tao ranger station.

Arrive Khlong E-Tao ranger station  A stream behind the station
Arriving Khlong E-Tao ranger station (left), A stream behind the station, where you can swim (right)

Khlong E-Tao ranger station has a small two story wooden building where the ranger stay. The ground floor open space house a place for cooking, wooden tables and chairs for dining. They have cooking pots, plates, and some basic facilities. Rain water is collected in the large containers for consumption. There are toilets behind.

It is possible to pitch your tents in the open yard nearby the building. A place for camp fire is available. You have to bring your own gear and food. Surrounding the station are hills that people can hike for good view points and animal watching (early morning or late evening are said to be better).

Crossing a stream: Khlong E-Tao to Bueng Pai station trail
Crossing a stream: Khlong E-Tao to Bueng Pai station

After our lunch of rice, vegetables and some pork meat, we continued to Bueng Pai ranger station in the north. The trail passes several river streams in the thick forest. We saw a couple of sandal wood trees. On this trail we saw gibbons and hornbills behind the tree leaves. This 6 km trail is marked with red color paint on the trees.

Before arriving Bueng Pai station we had to walk zip-zap through tall (about 2 meters) grasses for about 300 meters. Bueng Pai ranger station is basically the same as Khlong E-Tao. But it is a bit smaller. Camping here is also possible. Again campers must bring their own gear and provision.

View from Bueng Pai
A view from Bueng Pai station

From Bueng Pai to km 30 marker on highway 2090 we walked 2 km passing a small hill.

All together we hiked around 13.5 km. Total walking time was roughly 5 hours. Have a look at the map below. If you start right from the headquarters the total would be about 17 km and you should overnight at Khlong E-Tao camp. Please expect rain almost everyday in the wet season (July to October). On the day we went it was only light shower.

Trail map 1 = Headquarters
2 = Nong Pak Chi wildlife watch tower
3 = Khlong E-Tao ranger station (guard house)
4 = Bueng Pai ranger station (guard house)
5 = Lam Ta Khlong river
A = To Pak Chong
B = To Prachinburi

Things to prepare for rainy season trek
  • Rain coat
  • Light, easy to dry clothes, no jeans
  • Leech socks
  • Strong walking shoes and sandals
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Plastic cover or sheet, plastic bags
  • Rope to cross river, clothes lines and clips to hang clothes
  • Toiletry
  • Food, water container, cooking and eating things
  • Medicines
Always walk the long trails together with a local guide during day light.

Note: some trails (including the trail in this article) are occasionally closed to the tourists to let the forest and wildlife come back. Therefore please contact the national park headquarters. More information on this park


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