Khao Phanom Bencha National Park is a small national park with hiking trails through forestland adorned with a couple of montane waterfalls, meandering trails and a couple of caves. A decent level of fitness is certainly recommended but fret not, a pretty awesome restaurant, a comfortable visitor center and a smallish camping ground makes for a kindly day out.
What’s So Awesome About It
Escape it all in the lush greenery of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park. Located in the north of Krabi, this parkland is a popular refueling stop for tropical birds scanning the clear Krabi skies. Breathe deep, cocooned in the pleasantly condensed foliage and look out for primates, frogs and all kinds of stunning flora along the way. Two circular, signposted nature trails lead from the visitors’ centre to secluded waterfalls and viewpoints, bringing you right back to where you started.
What’s The Catch
Hiking trails are not always well marked, mostly with incorrect distances. Expect trails to be longer than signs suggest. In the humid heat of southern Thailand, some of the trails can be challenging as they involve a lot of uphill climbing. A fundamental and ethics oriented narrative will urge you to take a call on whether or not to visit, given that animal torture seems to be an open secret attributed to the area.
Things To Keep In Mind
There are no cafés or shops along the walking trails, so if you’re going hiking, bring food and plenty of water as it’s easy to get dehydrated in the heat. There are several operations on the fringes of the national park offering “ethical elephant experiences,” but these are known to treat the poor captives badly behind the scenes.
For bungalow and tent stays, go here.
How To Reach There
It’s a 40-minute drive or taxi ride from hotels at Ao Nang. Hotels offer organised trips to the national park to save you worrying about how to get there. The visitor’s centre is 27 kilometers from Krabi Town, so it’s a short drive or taxi ride. This is where the circular trails begin.
The highest elevation of the nature trail is at 540 metres and a decent level of fitness is recommended to tackle the trails in the park.