If you want somewhere that’s easy to access and brimming with wildlife, look no further than Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary. Known to be one of the most abundant wildlife spots in the country, this stunning park is located in the province of Chaiyaphum.

Stick to the Trail

 

Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary forms part of the 4,594-sq-kilometer Western Isaan Forest Complex. This huge area is home to three other wildlife sanctuaries and four national parks. With over half of this space comprising evergreen forest, it’s no wonder that such a huge array of wildlife still remains. To access most areas, you’ll need to seek permission from the DNP headquarters in Bangkok 15-30 days in advance—without this, trailing will be limited to a smaller area. Before you can wander out on your own, you’ll be briefed on all the trails, or alternatively you can opt to have a ranger keep you company for a cost of around B500-600 per day.

 

Really Wild Things

 
Warning: if you’re not an animal person, this is not the place for you! Reports suggest that there are over 111 species of mammal, 419 species of bird, 45 species of amphibians, 110 species of reptile and 76 species of fish. Big mammals which can be easily spotted in the sanctuary include sambar and hog deer, macaques, golden jackals, white gibbons and elephants. If luck is on your side, you may even stand a chance of sighting gaurs, leopards, dholes, tigers and black bears—in which event, staying silent is highly recommended. Birds like Siamese fireback, golden crested myna and red-billed blue magpie are also often seen on the site.
 

Not to Miss 

Thung Kramang

In this area, you can easily wander out on your own without a ranger. Surrounded by evergreen forest, the Thung Kramang grasslands offer a great opportunity to spot bigger animals like deer, jackals, and, on some days, elephants.

 

The Amazing Pool

Only a short walk away from the bungalows, the Amazing Pool is host to a number of bird hides, making it a popular spot for bird watchers.

 

Mon Lake

Mon Lake can be reached via a 5km hike, for which you’re required to have a ranger with you. Here, you can spot the endangered white-winged duck.

 

 

Where to stay

 

If you’re planning on staying overnight, there are bungalows for rent at Hotels.com (B1,448/night)—although they are not in great shape. A better option is to camp in the provided camping grounds (by donation) but be aware that the sanctuary does not provide any equipment, food or water, so you’ll need to come prepared.

 

How to get there

 

There is no car service to get into the sanctuary, meaning you’ll have to have your own vehicle. Entry costs are B200 for foreigners, B20 for Thais and B30 for the car. The checkpoint operates from 8:30am-4pm. Reaching Phu Khiao is a six-hour drive from Bangkok.


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