Kuiburi National Park is one of the best national park in Thailand to spot wildlife.It’s probably one of the best places in Thailand to spot wild elephant with sightings almost guaranteed every day.Other interesting mammals in the park are gaur, banteng, wild boar, serow, leopard, tiger and Crested Fireback as the main bird attraction of the park.
To get there is not possible without your own transportation.However, I managed to arrived there quite well.Firstly I took a van in Sai Tai Mai Bus Station ( Southern Bus Terminal ) to Kuiburi.You can get into any van that goes to Prachuap Kiri Khan and stop in Kuiburi ( tell the driver to stop there ).Once there I had to find a place where to rent a motorbike.
There were 3 options in town: Vartika Resort ,X2 Kuiburi Resort and Suttangrat Resort.The later was the best option due to it’s located only 3 km from Kuiburi.When I arrived there the manager told me that they only had one motorbike available. But when I told her that I need it for 3 days she told me that it’s her own motorbike and I could only use it for one day.So I went to the next hotel, Vartika Resort, located 10 km from down town.Vartika Resort is a high-standard resort with friendly and helpful staff that accepted to rent me a motorbike for 350 baths a day.It was a little bit pricy but there were not many other options.X2 Kuiburi Resort is even farther,so I accepted the deal.However I highly recommend to rent a vehicle form Hua Hin or Prachuap Khiri Khan,as there are more offers and better renting prices.
Driving to the park is quite easily.There is a big signpost after 3 km from Kuiburi on the highway to Hua Hin.Once on the road to the park I just followed the signposts and I drove for 30 km.The last part of the road has many bumps but you can arrive to the headquarters without a four-wheels.The entrance fee is 200 baths,but as I work in Thailand I just paid 40 baths.
Once in the headquarters area I found the staff very friendly and helpful.There were some misunderstandings due to the staff doesn’t speak English very well but with my basic Thai I handled to get the information that I required. Accommodation inside the national park is not a problem .You can rent a tent for 270 baths or to sleep in a bungalow for 100 baths per bed.I chose to sleep in a tent.
Kuiburi National Park map
To spot wildlife you have to go to Payang substation and rent a car and a guide.You cannot walk by your own.However it’ s allowed to walk and do some birding around the headquarters area.
It was almost 2:30 pm and I was very excited to go to see wildlife.I talked to the staff to rent a car with driver and guide for 850 baths.Two other tourists joined us so we share expenses.At 3 pm we went to Payang substation, a 20 km ride from the headquarters.We showed our tickets and the ranger lift the barrier.The driver drove slowly along the rough road until the first view point.In the first view point,we were lucky enough to spot a herd of 15 individuals roaming on the grasslands !!! There were females,a few males and some calves.It was a picturesque view…very nice to see and hard to forget !!! You can see the video that I took in my previous post !
Herd of elephants in Kuiburi National Park
Female Elephant with her calf
We stayed there for 10 minutes,when the staff told us that the elephants were so close that I would be dangerous to stay longer.So we went to the second view point.Along the road we saw an individual of elephant just a few meters from us ! But my expectations were higher.As I saw wild elephant many times, I wanted to see new species of mammals,and gaur was my main goal.On the second view point we stopped for one hour but no signs of gaurs.However we could see an individual of banteng quite far.
Around the second view point a White-throated Kingfisher was perched on a branch.When I walked around to explore around and try to find more birds, the guide told me to remain on the view point because there is a potential danger due to the high density of elephants and other dangerous animals. On the way back we spotted some sambar deers around the rangers station.Red Junglefowl is quite common and easy to see along the road around 4 pm.
No signs of leopards,tapirs and tigers, as they are nocturnal and shy animals and extremely hard to spot.I saw some pictures of them by camera trapping in the ranger station.
We had dinner in a stall that is located only 4 km from the headquarters.Excellent food and very cheap !! Only 25 baths per meal !!
Around the headquarters I could listened and see a large-tailed Nightjar flying away from the road when we came back to sleep.
I woke up at 6 am next day willing to find birds around the headquarters area.In front of the bungalows I spotted Lineated barbet and Coppersmith Barbet exposed and perched on branches around 6:30 am.On a small road to a lake I could see Coppersmith Barbet, Oriental Pied Hornbill,Common Flameback,and Racket-tailed Treepie as the most remarkable birds.Beside the headquarters there are a few trees where Blue-winged Leafbirds, Common Iora,and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker,among others, made their appearance.
In the afternoon I rented again a car and another group of tourists joined us.Along the road to the first view point we saw another elephant but no signs of gaur on the second view point.A Green-billed Malkoha and a Greater Coucal crossed the road.Around the ranger station we saw some wild boars that are breeding for reintroduction.
Next day I went along the nature trail with a ranger, expecting to find Crested Fireback. Along the trail we found some tracks of this elusive and shy bird.
There is a big lake ( Yang Chum Reservoir ) at only 7 km from the Headquarters that seems interesting for birdwatching, but I didn’t have enough time to explore farther as I already booked a trip to Huay Kha Khaeng on May 4th.So I had to come back to Bangkok.
Kuiburi national Park was a pleasant experience, even without seeing some of the jewels that host this amazing national park with awesome views !! I promise to see you again !!