Khao Khitchakut National Park

About Khao Khitchakut

Being one of the smallest national parks in the country, Khao Khitchakut National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาคิชฌกูฏ) covers 59 km² forested montane area in Chantaburi Province. The park is popular for annual pilgrimage to Buddha Footprint at Khao Phra Bat, it’s waterfalls and hiking.

The highest point is Khao Phra Bat peak at 1,085 metres asl. The nearest towns are Chanthaburi (~33 km), Ko Chang (~100 km), Rayong (~115 km) and Pattaya (~115 km).

Wildlife

The montane forest of the park is part of a continuous forest in Soi Dao Mountains of Cardamom Mountain Range. The forest types are typically deciduous forest on lower altitudes and evergreen forests on high altitudes above 800 meters.

Most of the impressive wildlife recorded from nearby Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary are probably found in Khao Khitchakut too.

There are elephants, gaurs, sambar deer, Indian muntjacs and serows reported from the park.

There are around 120 bird species recorded from the national park, most notable coral-billed ground cuckoo, rufous-tailed robin and silver oriole.

Flower’s long-headed lizard (Pseudocalotes floweri) was recently re-discovered in Khao Khitchakut National Park

Flower's long-headed lizard (Pseudocalotes floweri) was recently re-discovered in the park as the first record in Thailand since 1912. Chanthaburi rock gecko (Cnemaspis chanthaburiensis) is an endemic species found in the park, only known from Chantaburi and other nearby provinces. Another gecko species only known from the same area is yellow-bellied dwarf gecko (Hemiphyllodactylus flaviventris). Some of the other reptile species found in the park are; Boulenger's keelback (Hebius boulengeri), Cardamom pit viper (Trimeresurus cardamomensis) and Vogel's pit viper (Trimeresurus vogeli). Most of the common reptile species in south/east Thailand can also be found in the park.

Of the amphibian species perhaps the most notable to mention are; Cardamom stream frog (Sylvirana faber), stellar bug-eyed frog (Theloderma stellatum) and Mortensen's stream frog (Sylvirana mortenseni).

Visiting

Khao Khitchakut National Park is located in Khao Khitchakut District, 32 kilometres northeast from Chanthaburi City. The park visitor center and the main waterfalls can easily be reached by any vehicle.

Khao Phra Bat mountain and the pilgrimage site can be reached either by a challenging hike or by shuttle service operated by the park authorities for a very cheap price.

Map of Khao Khitchakut National Park
Map of Khao Khitchakut National Park

Getting to Khao Phra Bat by shuttle service

As the road up to Khao Phra Bat is a very steep and a poor dirt road, no private vehicles are allowed in. There are pickup-converted shuttle trucks operating from Pluang village to Khao Phra Bat 24 hours a day.

Coordinates of the departure point; 12.80494, 102.14606

The price is 100 Baht per person for one way. The trucks tend to depart every 5-15 minutes as soon as they get full, each truck can take 8-12 passengers. As many people find it more pleasant to hike in the late hours of the day, the shuttle trucks tend to operate very frequently any time of the day/night. The pickup trucks stop at a ranger station near the summit, the trip takes about 30 minutes. Once dropped off at the ranger station, the visitors can hike about 1.2 km to the pilgrimage site.

Getting to Khao Phra Bat by hiking

It is possible to drive to a ranger station near a reservoir on the south side of the park and hike all the way up to the pilgrimage site from there. There is an open space at the north end of the dam which is used as a car park.

Car park coordinates: 12.80993, 102.15356

The car park is a few hundred meters away from the park entrance. There are three ranger stations along the road until reaching the pilgrimage site; the first one is at the entrance, the second one about half way uphill and the last one at the end of the road where a shorter trail starts to the pilgrimage site. The ranger station at the top of the mountain is around 5 km from the entrance and the pilgrimage site is another 1.2 km away, so the total hike becomes about 6.5 km from the car park. Once at the top, it is possible to use the shuttle service back to the village.

Activities

The top activities in the park are visiting the waterfalls and hiking up to Khao Phra Bat peak. There are a number of challenging trails in the park which can be walked any time of the day during two months of pilgrimage, even at night and no guides required.

Entrance fees & opening times

The entrance fees are 200 Baht for foreigners (children up to 14 years old pay 100 Baht) and 40 Baht for Thai citizens (children pay 20 Baht). Free entrance for 4 years old or younger children.

The park is open from 7 am to 4:30 pm every day, closed for three months from 1st July to 30th September every year.

Khao Phra Bat and the trails around there are open only for two months from February to March and 24 hours a day. The opening date may be a bit into February and closure date may be a bit into April, the dates vary from year to year. We will inform you of the dates from this page every year.

Stay & eat

There are two campsites in the park, one in the HQ & main visitor center area, the other in Khlong Phaibun Waterfall. Two pax tents are available for rent from the visitor center for 150 Baht per night and sleeping bag/pillow for 20 Baht per person. There are no accommodations to book inside the park but there are plenty of options for rent right outside the park in Pluang village but also in Khao Khitchakut Town.

Eat

There is a restaurant in the visitor center area. The waterfall entrances have small food stalls during the busy times. In the vicinity of Khao Phra Bat ranger station there are a few food stalls to buy drinks and water from.

Phone(s)

You are recommended to ask a Thai speaking person to call on your behalf.

  • Visitor center - 039 609 672
  • HQ - 039 609 666 

The attractions of Khao Khitchakut

Khao Phra Bat

Khao Phra Bat is a mountain within Khao Khitchakut National Park, known as one of several Buddha footprint sites in Thailand. It is one of the most important religious sites for Thai Buddhists, visited by over a million pilgrims every year around the Magha Puja holiday from early February to the end of March. The exact opening and closure dates vary from year to year, typically opening the first week of February and closing at the end of March or early April.

Buddha Footprint at Khao Phra Bat

The Buddha footprint is under a towering stone pagoda a few hundred meters down from the peak of Khao Phra Bat mountain. There are also some big boulder formations at the peak.

Getting up to the peak is possible by hiking or by shuttle transportation, both with interesting experience.

The longer hike can start from the dam, about 6.5 km from the pilgrimage site, and shorter 1.2 km one from the ranger station at the end of the road. The road has street lights and the trail follows the road, all the way to the top. After half way up, it is possible to take a side trail straight to the Buddha footprint site. The trail is very steep and can be very challenging for people who are not fit.

The shuttle transportation is an equally interesting experience. While the traffic runs from the left side in Thailand, the rules are completely different on the road up to Khao Phra Bat mountain. Along the 5 km long road up to the top, the traffic shifts to both left or right before the sharp bends so that the vehicles driving up can easily turn the bends. The left/right shift happens along the longer and straight stretches, signposted well. Both driving up and down happens at relatively high speed, so, it is very “exciting” and at the same time a bit scary to see how cars suddenly change left/right while meeting cars driving in the opposite direction.

There are toilet facilities and a few food stalls next to the ranger station at the top.

Krathing Waterfall

Krathing Waterfall is a 13 level waterfall along the Chanthaburi River, it is the “biggest” one in Khao Khitchakut National Park. The tiers are not really that big but popular for swimming. The waterfall is in the visitor center area of the park, easily accessible by a short stroll. It is also possible to rent a tent and camp at a nearby campsite.

Khlong Phaibun Waterfall & Campsite

Located about 7.5 km further north from Krathing Waterfall and the visitor center, it is another popular waterfall at the edges of the park. There is a smaller campsite next to the ranger station.

On the busier week-end and holidays there may be food stalls selling very basic food, otherwise the nearest restaurants are in the nearby villages not too far from the waterfall.