วันอาทิตย์ที่ 16 สิงหาคม พ.ศ. 2552

A Visit to The Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Elephant Nature Park is just one hour's drive north of the Thai city of Chiang Mai, it is located in the beautiful natural settings of the Mae Taeng Valley, which enjoys a scenic river running through it and is surrounded by the densely forested mountains of Northern Thailand.The park operates as both a sanctuary & a rescue centre for distressed & sick Asian Elephants from all over Thailand.The park which covers a total land area of 800 hectares (2,000 acres), was founded in 1996 and was the brainchild of Sangduen "Lek" Chailert & her husband Adam.Lek (meaning "small" in Thai) grew up in a local village not too far away from the park, and it has been through the endless hard work of Adam & Lek plus the continued support of her family that the park has been able to continue to expand and become successful.The "goals" of the park are very simple yet thought provoking:" To offer a sanctuary to an endangered species - Asian Elephant numbers in Thailand have decreased dramatically over the last century from over 100,000 down to less than 2,000 animals left today." To help restore the ecological balance by rain forest restoration - the park is carrying out an aggressive programme of tree planting, with the aim to replant 25 acres of trees a year for 5 years to help re-introduce the rain forest & with it promote the plants & animals that rely on it." To preserve the cultural integrity of the local community - by creating employment and purchasing agricultural products locally the park is helping the villagers to sustain their distinct culture." To promote the park as a means of education - for visitors, individuals, study groups, schools and interested parties, with the key focus being on the plight of the endangered local species presented in an entertaining yet meaningful way.The elephants that live in the sanctuary of the Elephant Nature Park are mainly from private owners having been acquired by negotiated fees.Some of the majestic beasts merely "outlived" their usefulness to the Hill Tribe People who used them for logging purposes, as the use of the animals has diminished due to both mechanisation & much stricter controls on the management of Thailand's forests , others were so badly treated that they became weak & sick, therefore useless to their trekking camp owners.The park is now home to 31 elephants of all ages from just one year old right up to "grand-daddy" at over 70 years old! The Elephant has a similar lifespan to humans, and form families of similar composition and duration. Some of the "youngsters" have mothers but all have "aunties". There are elephants that help out, or have adopted them, even if not genetically related. There are a couple of older male elephants including the king of the clan.Thailand as a country is FULL of elephant "experiences" available to tourists, you can ride them, watch them paint pictures, play drums, play football, do a trick or two for food, or lug supplies on trekking adventures, but this park is different because it does not allow ANY of these cruel exploitations. It is home to elephants that have been abused in this manner or orphaned or rescued over the past ten years.Most tourists visiting the park as "day-trippers', the park does also offer 2-7 day stays, & even "volunteer" stays of 14-30 days, there is something suitable for everyone.After being collected from their hotels or lodgings in Chiang Mai, the first port of call for the visitors is to buy fruit at the market, an elephant can eat up to 200kg of food a day, so "wholesale buying" is the order of the day.Arriving at the park you meet the other tourists, numbering on average between twenty & forty, also dependent on time of the year. Your guide for the day begins by introducing you to the various elephants and their relationships with each other and before long a dozen or so of them are sniffing around the visitors with their trunks, expecting lunch shortly.Each elephant has a laundry basket full of fruit made to order. One wants its watermelons peeled, another won't eat bananas, and another won't touch the cucumbers until the rest has all gone. Feeding doesn't take long & there are enough elephants for every tourist to have their own to feed and you soon discover their personalities.There are cheeky elephants, nosy elephants, lonely elephants, greedy elephants, fast eaters and slow eaters. But be warned -you won't get out of this exercise without a lot of elephant drool and snot on your hands!After the elephants have their lunch the tour groups will have theirs, the food is actually very good, it's a buffet so there is something for everyone, even including vegetarians which for Thailand is quite unusual.Once lunch is over it is time for the next highlight of the day. The elephants are bathed twice a day at around 1pm and 4pm, and it is without doubt their favourite times of day, and certainly by the time its bath time they are usually completely covered in a mixture of mud, dirt and flies.Everyone heads to the river for the washing ritual and it is one of the funniest things you could ever see. These giants of the jungle like nothing better than splashing around & playing in the water, rolling over and over. At times they totally disappear under the water only to reappear and trumpet water over anyone & everyone within range.With buckets and scrubbing brushes the visiting group sets to work cleaning, much to the appreciation of the elephants.After the elephants have been bathed, if Lek (the founder) is available, she always appears to greet both the tourists & to say hello to "her family", as she approaches, all of the elephants come over to greet her and it is very clear she has a special affinity with them.The groups are also informed about the individual elephants & the sorry tales behind each of them, one of them walks like an invalid this is because her legs got broken in various logging accidents. Another one is totally blind because the mahout (handler) stabbed her eyes out with arrows in order to get "obedience" from it. Yet another was shot because he threw some tourists off his back whilst undertaking a dangerous ascent up a narrow jungle path, even " The King" of the elephants had been a victim of ivory poachers.Every elephant has a different story, but the common bond shared between them all is that they have suffered abuse at the hands of us humans!.As the sun starts to set, the day trippers leave & the "boarders" watch some of the very gentle training that is used to keep the elephants happy & contented.Dinner is equally as delicious as lunch, and we have chance to meet & chat with the volunteers, some of whom have been at the Elephant Nature Park for weeks some even months!.The accommodation is somewhat on the "rustic" side, but the beds are comfortable, and it's surprising just how tired you get during your day with the elephants.The nights though are far from silent, as apart from the 31 elephants there are well over 50 other "pets" ranging from dogs, cats, water buffalo & cows, not to mention the frogs, and millions of insects throughout the park.All round it's great fun & the experience of living & working with the elephants is something that provides fabulous living memories for many years to come !!.Please visit the Elephant Nature Park website at:http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/index.htm for more details.

วันจันทร์ที่ 27 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2552

Mae Tho National


Mae Tho National Park Topography

Mae Tho National Park is situated between the northern latitudes of 18o 07' - 18o 29' and the eastern longitudes of 98o 8.5' - 98o 24' . The National Park’s headquarters is located at the Water Source Development Unit 6 (Doi Mae Tho), Ban Lao-li, Mu 9 (separated from Ban Maetho Mu 10), Tambon Bosali, Hot District, Chiang Mai Province.

The geographical features of the National Park consist of steep mountains (400-1,699 meters above the medium sea level), extending northwards in the same mountain range of Doi Inthanon. Mountains in the northern part of the area are about 20%-40% steeper than those in the southern part. The average altitude of the area is 1,000 meters above the medium sea level. Doi Kio Rai-mong is the highest mountaintop (1,699 meters above the medium sea level), located at Ban Pang Hin-fon, Mae-Chaem District. Meanwhile, the National Park’s office is located at the approximate altitude of 1,200 meters above the medium sea level.

Climate

The weather at the National Park can be divided into 3 seasons including the rainy season (May-September) with the highest temperature of 25oC and the lowest temperature of 10oC ; winter (October-February) with the highest temperature of 20oC and the lowest temperature of 4oC ; and summer (March-April) with the highest temperature of 30oC and the lowest temperature of 12oC . The average year-round highest temperature is 27oC and the average year-round lowest temperature is 8oC. And the average rainfall at the National Park is 1,030 mm/year.

Flora and Fauna

There are various kinds of forests and plants within the areas of the National Park, including tropical evergreen forests of which major plants include Ironwood, rubber trees, Michelia Alba, Indian Mahogany, Mangifera Caloneura Kurz (wild mango), Therm, Garuga Pinnata (Ta-kram), Alstonia Scholaris (Teen Ped), and lower plants include Takran Mhaktao, Ploo-din, Kreu-tuay, and Gastrochilus Pandurata (Kra-chai); virgin forests of which major plants include Quercus Kerril Craib (Kor-pae), Kor-duan, Castanopsis Cerebrina (Kor-tamoo), Red zebra wood (Rak-yai), Aromadendron Elegans Bl., and lower plants include Carex Baccans Nees (Ya-kombang), pigeon peas, Aglaia Pirifera (Kangkao-din), Saab-ma, etc.; mixed forests of which major plants include teaks, Xylia Xylocarpa (redwood plants), Leguminosae (Pradoo), Lagerstroemia (Tabaek), Lagerstroemia Tomentosa Presl. (Se-lah), Anogeissus Acuminata Wall. (Takien Noo), rubber trees, and lower plants include bamboo and grasses; pinery and timber forests (mostly found in the area of Hod District) of which major plants include Pinus Kesiya Royle Ex Gordon (three-leaf pines), Lithocarpus Cantleyanus (Kor), Soloropyrum Wallichianum (Muad), Red zebra wood (Rak-yai), timbers, Shorea Siamensis (Rang), Dipterocarpus Intricatus (Hiang), Dipterocarpus Tuberculatus (Pluang), and lower plants include Dodonaca Viscosa (Ya-pek), Arundinaria Pusilla (Phai-jod), and other kinds of grasses.

Wild animals found in the National Park include gaur, deer, goral, Muliacus Muntjak, bears, gibbons, monkeys, langur, masked palm civets, rabbits, wild boars, and elephants, inhabiting in Om-koi Sanctuary, Dong Sam-muen and Mae-pai Forests, peacocks, pheasants, red jungle fowls, parrots, Gracula Religiosa, Trogon, hawks, woodpeckers, constrictors, pythons, cobras, monitor lizards, ground lizards, turtles, soft-shelled turtles, frogs, small green frogs, bull frogs, and fish in gullies and rivers, particularly Mae-jam River.

Doi Mae Tho Viewpoint

Doi Mae Tho National Park has been a well-known sightseeing spot since His Majesty the King has visited the National Park in 1980. Unfortunately, the former responsible unit (Water Source Development Unit 6) has recently lacked the budget and staff for maintenance of accommodations and the surroundings, therefore, flowers and plants are not as beautiful as they used to be. At present, the National Park is improving the sightseeing spot to regain its reputation and attractiveness.

Regarding the travelling route to the sightseeing spot, you may take Highway No.108 (Hot-Mae Sariang) until reaching Baan Kong-loi (km 54), then, make a right hand turn to Highway No.1270 and go straight on for 16 kilometers until reaching Ban Lao-li. Then, make a right hand turn to the National Park’s office, which is located approximately 500 meters away from the branch road. From the sightseeing spot, you will be impressed with the sea of fogs reaching the mountaintop of Doi Inthanon.

Activities :

View

<> Mae-aep Waterfall

Mae-aep Waterfall is approximately 10-12 meters wide. The Waterfall is beautiful and attracts many tourists to visit in the dry season. The Waterfall is located approximately 6 km away from the National Park’s office. You may take the same route to the sightseeing spot until reaching Ban Mae-aep and take a branch road from Baan Mae-aeb for approximately 3 km until reaching the parking spot, then, travel on foot for approximately 1 km to the Waterfall.

Activities :

View

Nature trail study

Waterfall Traveling

Mae-lit Waterfall

Mae-lit Waterfall is approximately 8-10 meters wide and 12-15 meters high. The Waterfall is very beautiful and attracts many Thai and foreign tourists to visit in the dry season. Local people can make supplementary incomes from providing accommodations and services to the tourists. Regarding the travelling route to the Waterfall, you may take Highway No.108 (Hot-Mae Sariang) until reaching km 63, then, make a left hand turn to Ban Thung Lung and go straight on for approximately 12 km and travel on foot for approximately 500 meters to the Waterfall.

Activities :

View

Nature trail study

Waterfall Traveling

Rafting on the Mae Chaem River

To get to the starting point for rafting on the Mae Chaem River, you may take Highway No.108 (Mae Chaem ? Ban Na-bangdin) and go straight on for approximately 6 km until reaching the Salak Hin Ranger Station. And you may go ashore when the raft reaches Ban Kong-pae, Tambon Tha-pha of Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province.

Activities :

Rafting

Travelling activities along the route of Ban Mae-ping Noi, Sop Mae-tum, and Sop Huai Kong-pae.

You may begin with travelling by a four-wheel-drive vehicle along the route of Ban Mae-ping Noi?Ban Om-raet, visit the Huai Mae-chuea Waterfall on the way to Ban Om-rat, and stay overnight on the side of Mae-tum River (the vehicle may be parked at the National Park’s headquarters). Then, you may visit Tham Luang Mae-tum, a cave which has beautiful pillar-shaped stalagmites and stalactites and being inhabited by a large number of bats. After that, you may travel by boat along Mae-tum River to visit natural cactus-shaped timber forests and mixed forests on both sides of Mae-tum River and you can see islets and reefs in Mae-tum River until reaching Sop Huai Mae-tum, where Mae-tum River meets Mae Chaem River, and finish with travelling by boat along Mae Chaem River to visit virgin mixed forests, since the vehicle route has not yet been opened for tourists. Interested tourists who need guides may directly contact officials of the National Park and prepare their own supplies.

Activities :

View

Nature trail study

Cave/Geological Touring

Waterfall Traveling

Rafting

Travelling activities along the route of Ban Mae-khan, Sop Mae-tum, and Sop Huai Kong-pae.

The route, which is suitable for rafting on the Mae Chaem River, starts from Mae-khan Checkpoint, Salak-hin Ranger Station passing Kaeng Sop-khan, Kaeng Kho-ma, Kaeng Tha-ruea, Kaeng Khot, Kaeng Luang, Kaeng Op, Hat Chiang-da, Wang Khwai-phueak, Ban Sop-long (where you can see beautiful cliffs and forests on both sides of Mae-jam River), Sob Mae-tum and finishes with rafting. The route is approximately 25 kilometers long and taking approximately 11-12 hours.

Services and activities

Interested tourists may contact Mae Chaem Plantation, Op Luang National Park, or service providers to rent inflatable rafts, provided that rafting along the route requires prior permission from the National Park.

Activities :

View

Rafting

Contact Address and How to go?

Contact Address

Mae Tho National Park

P.O. Box 10 Amphur Hod Chiang Mai Thailand 50240

Tel. 0 5381 8348 E-mail reserve@dnp.go.th

How to go?

By Car

From the city of Chiang Mai, you may take Highway No.102 (Chiang Mai-Hot) for 89 kilometers until reaching Hot District, then take Highway No.108 (Hot-Mae Sariang) passing the Op-luang National Park’s office for 54 kilometers until reaching Ban Kong-loi, then make a right hand turn to Highway No.1270 (Ban Kong-loi ? Ban Maetho) for 16 kilometers until reaching a branch road. Then, make a right hand turn to the National Park’s headquarters, which is located approximately 500 meters away from the branch road.

วันจันทร์ที่ 20 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2552

Phu Soi Dao National Park

General Information
Phu Soi-dao National Park is situated in an approximately area of 78.34 square kilometers or 48,962.5 rai, covering the areas of Pa Nam-pad National Conserved Forest, Tambol Muang-jedton, Tambol Na-khum, Tambol Ban Koak, Ban Koak District, Huai Moon District, Nam-pad District of Uttaradit Province, and Tambol Bor-pak, Chattrakarn District of Pittsanulok Province. The topography of the National Park consist of beautiful virgin forests, which are the sources of streams and rivers. Major sightseeing spots include Phu Soi-dao Waterfall, a beautiful 5-step waterfall situated in an approximate area of 1,000 rai, which can be accessed by an asphaltic road to facilitate the travelling for recreational purpose.

The geographical features of the National Park consist of high mountains (500-1,800 meters above the sea level), extending northwards and being used as the boundary between Thailand and Laos. The areas of mountains and forests are approximately 85 percent of the total area of the National Park, meanwhile, the areas of flatlands are approximately 15 percent thereof.

Climate
The weather here is very comfortable all year round. Its average highest temperature is about 35.0 degrees celsius and the lowest is about 13.0 degrees celsius or the mid-average is 27.0 degrees celsius. The average rainfall is 1,334.4 milimeters/year. Its raining season starts from May to October while the winter starts from November till February and summer starts from April to June.

Flora and Fauna
The weather at the National Park is cool and breezy throughout the year and can be divided into 3 seasons including the rainy season (May-October), winter (November-February), and summer (April-June). The average highest temperature is 35.0ฐC and the lowest temperature is 13.0ฐC, meanwhile, the average temperature is 27.0ฐC; and the average rainfall is 1,344.4 mm/year.

The location of the National Park, which consists of high mountains (extending westwards), valleys, and hills, creates beautiful scenery, particularly in the morning when the area is covered with the sea of fogs. The weather is cool and pleasurable due to high humidity.

The park will be closed during january 15th - June 31th every year for forest recovering.

The Field of Three-leaf Pines on Phu Soi-dao
The Sightseeing Spot is a flatland on Phu Soi-dao Mountains (1,800 meters above sea level), covering an approximately area of 1,000 rai within Pa Nam-pad National Conserved Forest. The topography of the Sightseeing Spot consist of high/low hills of three-leaf pines and vast fields of lower plants. In the rainy season (August-September), some lower plants bloom thick bunches of beautiful flowers such as Ngon-nark, Goong (yellow) and Ya Rak-hom (dark purple). The Sightseeing Spot may only be accessed by walking for approximately 6.5 kilometers from Phu Soi-dao Waterfall (near the roadside of Highway No.1268) to the mountaintop of Phu Soi-dao, which will take you approximately 4-5 hours to reach there. And you can view a beautiful nature of the forests on the way to the Sightseeing Spot.

Phu Soi-dao Waterfall
Phu Soi-dao Waterfall is a 5-step waterfall with the flowing water throughout the year, situated in the Nam-pad National Conserved Forest in Tambol Huai-moon of Nam-pad District, Uttaradit Province (near the roadside of Highway No.1268).

Sai Thip Waterfall
Sai-thip Waterfall is a 7-step waterfall (each step of the Waterfall is approximately 5-10 meters high), located at the joints between the tropical evergreen forest and the pinery. In the rainy season, the Waterfall is particularly beautiful with its swiftly flowing water. You may also visit the field of three-leaf pines on the way to the Waterfall.

Stone fields on both sides of Pak River
The Sightseeing Spot is situated in the area of the Lasting Forests of Phu Soi-dao (as per the Cabinet’s Resolution) in Tambol Bor-pak of Chattrakarn District, Pitsanulok Province. The Sightseeing Spot originated from natural stone fields on both sides of Pak River, which flows into Daeng-noi River in Chattrakarn District. The stone fields are approximately 10-15 meters wide and 100 meters long.

Contact Address
Phu Soi Dao National Park
Huai Moui Sub-district, Amphur Nam Pad Uttaradit Thailand 53110
Tel. 0 5541 9234-5

How to go?
By Car
From the city of Pitsanulok Province, you may take Highway No.11, then, turn to Highway No.1246 and go straight on until reaching Ban Pae. And then, take Highway No.1143 passing Chattrakarn District. Then, turn to Highway No.1237 passing Ban Bor-pak and Highway No.1268 until reaching Phu Soi-dao Waterfall situated at the National Park. The total distance is approximately 199 kilometers.


ps: I'm back home. Did you miss me ^_^

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