Khao Phanom Bencha National Park

Krabi has mountains too

Photo of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, , Krabi

Enjoyed this park!
I think the best way to visit is to do the round-the-park loop. Takes about an hour and a half. Begi...

By gregmccann1

What we say: 3.5 stars

The main attraction is Nam Tok Huay To, a spectacular 11-tier waterfall with numerous pools suitable for swimming. On the largest tier, water cascades for some 70 metres down a jagged rock face. If the lowest natural swimming pool is too crowded, take the steep trail to the right if facing the falls to discover several more secluded pools and falls higher up. These more remote spots take some effort to reach, but they also reward you with views over the lush jungle. Huay To is an easy 500 metre walk from the visitor centre and the smaller Nam Tok Huay Sa Khe is even closer.

Numerous hiking trails lead into the mountains but many are not well maintained and serious trekkers are encouraged to arrange for a park ranger to accompany them. The park is covered in virgin rainforest which thins to moist evergreen as you get higher. Keep your eyes open for wild boar, tapir, asiatic black bear, clouded leopard, panther and a range of tropical birds, including the extremely rare Gurney's Pitta, a yellow-bellied bird thought to be extinct until a pair were discovered in the area in 1986.

Simple cottages and camping tents can be rented at park headquarters and a basic Thai restaurant opens for lunch and dinner. On the way into the park, you might make a side trip to nearby Khao Pheung cave.

More details
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 16:30 daily
How to get there: The park cannot be reached by public transport. Most choose to either pay a motorbike taxi or tuk tuk around 400 baht roundtrip or rent a motorbike and go on their own. If going on your own steam, head north out of Krabi town on Uttarakit Rd and take a right on to Phet Kasem Rd (Route 4). The turn off (a left if heading east) for the road that leads straight to the park is well sign-posted. From here it's another 20 km to the front gates and signs are well posted leading up to the park. Admission is 100 baht plus another 20 for motorbikes.
Last updated: 16th September, 2013

Last reviewed by:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.

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  • Enjoyed this park! 4 stars

    18th September, 2013

    I think the best way to visit is to do the round-the-park loop. Takes about an hour and a half. Begin counter-clockwise and head across the lawn with the giant vines then follow the path up the hill. You might hear monkeys up in the trees above you, probably macaques or langurs. Look for nut and fruit shells on the ground around the base of the trees to have an idea if something is up above you. When you reach somewhere around the top of the mountain you'll come upon the upper tiers of the falls, and you'll find several (probably pleasantly empty) pools that are nice for swimming. Hang out up there for a while in those pools then make your way down the steep trail to the base of the falls where are the people are and you'll probably want to skip the big pool, get back on your motorbike, and take a very pleasant ride through gorgeous kasrt countryside on the way out of the vicinity of the park.

    Fabulous accomodation south of the park at Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort: and staff that can arrange day hikes into the park's southern flank. They can also arrange treks to the summit of Phanom Bencha Mountain, which takes about 3 days. I wrote a trip report about my day in this park a few years back:

    Khao Phanom Bencha National Park reviewed by gregmccann1 (2)
    Written on 18th September, 2013, rated 4 out of 5. Visited here in January, 2008

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