Phuket and the Andaman Coast: Places to Explore


Khao Pra Taew National Park

Thailand's islands have several national parks, and this one is home to Phuket's last remaining virgin forest and populations of endangered animals. The park has two easily accessible waterfalls. The Gibbon Center, which works to protect the primates and educate visitors about them, is part of the park.

You'll have to pay the standard foreigner's fee to enter the park: B200 (Thais pay B40). To access Tonsai Waterfall on the other side of the park, follow the signs and turn east off Highway 402. Here you can find two trails (600 meters and 2 km [1 mile]), through rich tropical evergreen forest. Expect buckets of rain in the monsoon season. Gibbons, civets, macaques, mouse deer, wild boar, lemurs, and loris live in the park, but spotting one would be a rare and impressive feat.

The park advertises the good deeds of the Gibbon Center, and indeed it's a worthy cause. (What they don't tell you is that the center, which sits near the parking lot at Bang Pae, receives none of your entrance fee.) After visiting the center, follow the paved trail along the waterfall. It's a relatively easy hike, quite lush in the rainy season. Both park entrances have bathrooms, parking lots, and food stalls. If you plan to visit both waterfalls, make sure you get entrance tickets at your first stop—they're good for both sites.

Khao Pra Taew National Park at a Glance