An unexpected adventure
Published/Last edited or updated: 9th May, 2017
The Thung Khai Botanical Garden makes for an unexpectedly thrilling adventure thanks to a series of suspension footbridges piercing through lowland jungle canopy.
Known in English as the Trang Peninsular Botanical Gardens, the vast park can be easily hit on a day trip by tuk tuk or motorbike out of Trang town.
Aside from a local couple of lovebirds, we were the only visitors on a drizzly weekday afternoon and it was a joy to have the park’s several square kilometres of foliage practically to ourselves. A network of well-marked paths make this a peaceful place for a stroll through the forest, and naturalists will appreciate the botanical library and plant museum.
The park's many rare plants and trees are cared for by a local conservationist group and can be seen near the front gates, each marked on a sign by its Thai and Latin ecological names.
But for the real fun, follow signs for “canopy walk” as they lead you deeper into the jungle. Seemingly out of nowhere, the first of six red steel “canopy stations” appears like the gate to a hidden treehouse village. Leave your acrophobia behind and start the climb.
Constructed in 2003, the five narrow suspension bridges are connected by observation towers with staircases that each lead higher than the last. The first walkway is only 10 metres off the ground, but further on they ascend to 18 metres -- high enough to spot bats and birds in the treetops.
While the walkways seemed sturdy and have some (albeit low standing) handrails, traversing them can be a tad unnerving, especially if they’re wet. Keep a close eye on small children—and remember, selfies can be lethal.
Reaching the park by motorbike or car is relatively simple. Head south out of Trang on Route 404 towards Yan Ta Khao and continue for about 10 km after passing Trang Airport. Keep an eye out on your left for the large gate for “Thung Khai Peninsular Botanical Gardens”. Alternately, a tuk tuk can take you to the park from Trang town and back for around 600 baht. Most southbound minibuses from Trang pass the gardens and can drop you there, but finding seats on a minibus heading back to Trang can be difficult.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.