About Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
Formerly known as Khao Nor Chu Chi, Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary is a very popular tourist destination in Krabi Province, south of Thailand. It is located about 56 km southeast of Krabi Town and 18 km east from Khlong Thom. The sanctuary is quite small, about 183 km², parts of it very commercialized, mainly because of it’s emerald green and blue ponds which attracts many foreign and local tourists every day. It is one of the most popular attractions of Krabi Province.
The main attractions are the Emerald and Blue Pools with it’s clear waters and series of trails about 2.7 km long. The park is also a very popular destination among birders where few rare birds can be found.
The forests in the wildlife sanctuary is one of the last remaining lowland forests in the country. The altitudes in the sanctuary varies from around 50 meters up to around 320 meters asl.
The rainy season generally starts in May and continues until November. Most rain falls in June to October. The rest of the year is quite dry.
The sanctuary is a popular destination among birders where 337 bird species recorded. The very rare Gurney's pitta, known to be found in the sanctuary and very few lowland forests in Myanmar and Thailand, it is a critically endangered species. Other few rare sightings are; black-and-white bulbul, striped wren-babbler, chestnut-capped thrush, cinnamon-rumped trogon, crested fireback, black magpie and jambu fruit dove. Of the hornbill species bushy-crested hornbill, white-crowned hornbill, plain-pouched hornbill, wreathed hornbill, great hornbill and oriental pied hornbill are all recorded from the sanctuary.
There are around 25 known reptile species in the sanctuary, likely many more. Some to mention are; Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra), Aplopeltura boa (blunt-headed tree snake), Ahaetulla mycterizans (Malayan whip snake), Boiga drapiezii (Drapiez's cat snake), Trimeresurus venustus (beautiful pit viper), Argyrophis muelleri (Müller's blind snake), Varanus dumerilii (Dumeril's monitor), Draco formosus (beautiful flying dragon) and Draco melanopogon (black-bearded flying dragon).
The wildlife sanctuary can be visited easiest with private transportation, either a car or a bike. Various tour operators offer day tours to a number of places in the province, including to the Emerald Pools.
Getting to the park
Getting to the sanctuary is not straightforward, but signposted well. Easiest is to follow the directions from a navigator by entering following coordinates; 7.922609, 99.259975.
While doing the driving the old good old school way, follow the route 4 towards the airport, pass the airport until you reach Khlong Thom Town. Once in the town, turn left towards Lam Thap (signposted) at the traffic lights. In a couple of hundred meters into this road, turn right into road 2021, you will see a blue sign showing the direction to “Crystal Pond”. Drive on this route for around 8 km until you see yet another signpost showing the direction to the right. Drive another 7 km until you reach the entrance.
Warning - When reaching the entrance, there is this big sign showing “Entrance to Crystal Ponds” which should be ignored. The sign is set up by a resort there, it is just an ugly way of fooling tourists to park at their parking space for a fee. The real entrance is some 50-70 meters beyond this sign, there are plenty of other parking spaces more near the checkpoint, they too will charge for around 30 Baht to park.
Get around in the park
The ponds inside the sanctuary are accessible by a 2.7 km long trail. The trail branches two two directions, one over a boardwalk along the stream, the other a very wide one through the forest. Both branches joins at the main emerald pool. Walking this trail further will end at the Blue Pond, which is another nice pond but not suitable for swimming.
Entrance fees & opening times
The entrance fees are 200 Baht for foreigners (100 Baht for children) and 20 Baht for Thai citizens (10 Baht for children).
The park is open 8:30 am to 17:30 pm every day, all year round.
Stay & eat
There are a good number of restaurants, shops and cafes at the entrance. Number of websites claims that it is possible to camp inside the sanctuary but it is not possible.
There are many resorts right outside the sanctuary along the main road. Morakot Resort is a popular resort just 750 meters from the entrance, frequently visited by birders.
You are recommended to ask a Thai speaking person to call on your behalf.
087 477 1105