Photo: Trekking fuel at Ban Krang.

Eat and meet

The park-run restaurants at Headquarters, Ban Krang and Phanoen Thung open early in the morning and close at 19:00, while the eatery at Pala-U Waterfall stops serving by 16:00. No other food options are available inside the park, but you will find privately run restaurants within a few kilometres of Headquarters.

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The park-run eateries at Headquarters and Ban Krang both offer menus with simple Thai dishes labeled in English. The grapao gai (chicken stir-fry with holy basil), pad prik gaeng (sauteed red curry) and garlic and pepper with pork were all tasty and the portions large. Up at Phanoen Thung the options are more limited and there is no menu—expect very basic dishes like fried rice and kale stir-fried with oyster sauce. At dawn, when it’s usually chilly up on Phanoen Thung, the rangers prepare a steaming pot of khao tom (rice porridge) served with fish sauce and dried chillies. The restaurant at Headquarters has a fresh coffee stand but you’ll have to settle for instant coffee at Ban Krang and Phanoen Thung. Alcohol is not available in the park.

Rice soup for breakfast.

Rice soup for breakfast. Photo: David Luekens

When asked where to find great local food outside the park, several locals steered us to a place called Krua Tonson and it did not disappoint. The pla raek tort gratiem (giant gourami fish deep-fried with garlic), tort man pla (fish cakes) and gaeng som pak grued (sour orange curry with fiddleheads) were sensational, leaving three of us stuffed for less than 500 baht. Other options include gaeng paa muu paa (spicy “jungle” curry with wild boar) and laap neua (spicy minced beef salad). There’s no English menu and communication would be difficult if you don’t speak any Thai. But give it a shot if you can order in Thai or are with a local guide who could help.

We also had a fine meal at Rim Kaeng, one of several large restaurants facing the reservoir just north of Park Headquarters. Little English is spoken but all menu items are written in English and cost 60 to 180 baht. The gaeng paa gai paa (jungle curry with free-range “domestic” chicken) packed an intense punch of flavour and heat. Giant catfish salad and tom yum are also worth trying.

A simple one-plate meal at Ban Krang.

A simple one-plate meal at Ban Krang. Photo: David Luekens

On the access road in Baan Kaeng Krachan you’ll also find some coffee shops and a few street-style kitchens serving noodle soup, rice porridge and fried chicken with sticky rice. A couple of small grocery shops sell fresh foods and necessities, but we’d hit a grocery store in Phetchaburi town or Hua Hin, for example, if wanting to bring your own food into the park.

Krua Tonson: Highway 2062 (from Park Headquarters, head south for two km and take the first left at a cluster of shops; continue south for 2.4 km and look for a no-frills restaurant with blue chairs and thick wooden tables just past a small temple and another restaurant that has a windmill by the road); open for lunch and dinner; T: (081) 191 0445.
Rim Kaeng: Highway 3432 (one km north of Park Headquarters; it’s marked by a white sign with red Thai script and is the furthest south of the large reservoir-side restaurants); open 10:00-20:00; T: (032) 772 319;(090) 083 5798

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kaeng Krachan National Park? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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