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World Heritage Site

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Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng

Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng
By: Masayuki Hirabayashi

The Thungyai and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries hold an unusal mix of species from four different biogeographic zones: Sundaic, Indo-Chinese, Indo-Burmese and Sino-Himalayan.

The area is large and undisturbed enough to support the survival of elephant and tiger. The presence of mineral licks also is profitable for wildlife.

These two contiguous parks are located in the northwest of Thailand along the Burmese border. Thungyai is predominantly mountainous, with rivers and a central grassland plain. Huai Kha Khaeng is hilly and has five types of forests.

Thungyai is inhabited by tribal people, including Hmong.

Map of Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng


  • Natural

Community Reviews

John Burrell, Thailand 19.02.13

I recently travelled into the WHS of Tung Yai via the enternace at Songapong (off the 323 Kanchanburi-Songklaburi road). The journey after the gate was 4wd drive only and then with a 32 inch whell clearance. We went as far as Kho Sadeng ranger station where we camped. To get there involved 18 river crossings in 15km. This jouney is impossible in all but the dry season, ask the locals!Largely evergreen mosit hill forest with Eleocarpus dominating the river banks. Many birds can be seen paricularly in vicinity of the river system. But we have touched only a small part of the sanctuary and intend to return again very soon ( Feb 2013)

Nam Onrit, Thailand 23.01.13

Huai Kha Khaeng is the most underrated WHS in Thailand. Why? This heritage place is not the tourist attraction! It is the eco study room and largest rain forest in Southeast Asia for everyone.

In the area of HQ comprises of office, staffs accommodation, canteen, campsite and exhibition building. They allow very limited area for visitors. There is a creek run through it and deer herds among the forest.

Thai people have known this place very well although a few have been there. Former head of the sanctuary committed suicide in his house in the HQ compound to save this forest from many causes ie dam development and so on.

His dedication have brought the consciousness of nature preservation to Thai society. So today Huai Kha Khaeng is saved from the greedy.

Frederik Dawson Netherlands 19.01.12

Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng by Frederik Dawson

For the country that tourism industry developed so well, it was quite surprised to discover that visiting Huai Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai were still almost unknown by tourist standard in Thailand even with the UNESCO World Heritage Site logo guaranteed. In 2009 with my friend we traveled from Malaysia to Northern Thailand with stop en-route at the peaceful town of Uthaithani. We managed to hire local van to bring us to beautiful town of Lan Sak where the Huai Kha Khaeng's forest ranger HQ located.

At the office we pay 200 Thai Baht as the entry fee, here there were many trekking routes to see the forest to chose, the forest was OK with some bird, but there was no significant attraction. A ranger recommended us to visit Cyber Falls (very unusual name!) and Hoop Pa Taad Valley, so we continued our trip to the waterfall which located in other part of the Huai Kha Kheang about 40 minute drive from the HQ office, after 2 kms trekking and river crossing from the entrance, we reached the waterfall, the waterfall was quite lovely but nothing grand or spectacular, but compared to the trekking route at forest ranger HQ, the latter one was far better.

Then we went to Hoop Pa Taad Valley, not part of Huai Kha Khaeng but the adjacent buffer zone, but for us was the real highlight, the valley was located in the middle of limestone mount, we need to walk through the small cave to reach this hidden valley. Inside the valley was like a small Jurassic forest with many beautiful tree and dripstone, I highly recommended to visit this place more than Huai Kha Kheang! But maybe I was just visit the outer zone of this forest complex, to visit the inner zone; we need 15-30 days in advance contact the ranger office or Department of Forest in Bangkok for special permit, and to the best of my knowledge, all paper work and contact point were Thai, so we need local travel agent to deal.

After Huai Kha Khaeng, we continued our trip to the small town of Um Phang in Tak Province located deep in the forest in Western Thailand almost near Burma border. Going to Um Phang was quite amazing; along the road were many beautiful jungle, waterfalls and hill tribe villages. The reason to come to Um Pang was to see Tee Lor Su Fall, the biggest waterfall of Thailand, located in Um Phang Wildlife Reserve next to Thung Yai WHS site. We had to take a raft along the river, passing many pretty waterfalls, and my guide claimed that some area along the river was part of Thung Yai. Finally we reached Tee Lor Su, the waterfalls was really big and truly spectacular, better than any waterfalls I saw in Thailand. It was quite confusing some book even Lonely Planet in some edition claimed Tee Lor Su was part of WHS, but when I was there I saw no single WHS symbol, quite contrast to Huai Kha Khaeng. But for sure was Um Phang and Tung Yai were under the same ecosystem.

Similar to many important natural WHS, visit the inner core zone of the protected area was quite almost impossible, but the places I saw in outer zone and buffer area of Huai Kha Khaeng and Tung Yai were quite amazing, especially Tee Lor Su and Hoop Pa Taad Valley, and not to mention fascinating culture of hill tribe people along the way to Um Phang. Western Thailand was just amazing place to visit and Tung Yai - Huai Kha Khaeng was a good World Heritage Site to enjoy.

masayuki.h, japan

I've been here last X'mas and stayed overnight.basically entering there but educational and scientific study and some eco tour that is managed by NGO especially burmese refugee suport organization.very beautiful place,if you're lucky,you could see wild peacock and tiger!in the rainy season rivers overflow with much rain.i recomend you wake up early and see fog sea from the mountain.

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Site Info

Full name: Thungyai - Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries

Unesco ID: 591

Inscribed: 1991

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1991 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng