Khao Khitchakhut National Park, 30 kilometres north of Chanthaburi on Route 3249, is a pleasant place to visit for a few hours.
The park covers an area of 59 square kilometres, but holds 53 species of birds -- probably because it lies adjacent to the Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary.
Accommodation is available, but no trail network has been developed beyond Krathing Falls, making extensive exploration difficult. The falls have 13 tiers, ranging from water rolling over a rock to an ear-shattering 10-metre drop following a continuous downhill course. The falls roll by 150 metres from the park office, entering at the third tier from the bottom. It is worth making the trek up the steep hill for a kilometre on a well-worn path as the 13th tier is set against a beautiful backdrop of dense forest. Tiers nine and ten are the most impressive.
The mountain that the falls cling to is called Khao Phra Bat, 1,000 metres above sea level, and is the source of the Chanthaburi river. At the very top of the mountain is a Buddha footprint and hermit's cave which is a popular pilgrimmage site for Thai Buddhists. The water here is believed to have medicinal powers and rock formations appear in the shape of a pagoda, turtle and elephant. A trek requires a guide to be followed safely, and takes around three hours.
Bungalows in the park start at 600 baht for eight people to 1,200 baht for 14. Hiring a tent costs 40 baht. There have been cases of malaria reported in this park, so take insect repellent. Food is available in the park with the best choices available on weekends.
How to get there
Khao Khitchakhut national park is located a few kilometres north of the same named town. If travelling by motorbike or car, take Route 3408 north out of Chanthaburi, then cut right in Khao Khitchakhut town onto Route 3249 and look for the signs to the park (the access road will be on the right). A pick-up truck taxi can also take you here and back to Chanthaburi for 600 baht roundtrip. Local songthaews run from the beginning of Prachiniyan Road in Chanthaburi opposite the post office every hour. The driver may drop you at the gates for 25 baht, else it costs 15 baht to the turn-off and then a 1.5 kilometre walk to the park entrance.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd December, 2014.