Monday, March 5, 2018

Do: Kui Buri National Park (Thailand)

Prior to our second visit to Hua Hin, I looked for day trips that would be fun and interesting for a 4-year old, a 7-year old, and adults. This rules out most historic and cultural sights, as the kids are too young to appreciate them. I'm always trying to find ways to incorporate nature and activity, so a day trip to Kui Buri National Park seemed like the best option.

Wildlife viewing area at Kui Buri National Park
Established in 1999, Kui Buri National Park is in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, and its primary draw are the herds of gaur (aka the Indian bison) and elephants. There are also several species of birds and apparently event a resident tiger (a sighting of which is understandably extremely rare). What you are almost certainly guaranteed to see are elephants in their natural setting, which is a delight, instead of caged up or chained up for human performance. 

Elephants in the wild!
Don't be intimidated by the logistics of visiting - the formal tours sold in Hua Hin town go only on Fridays, and a private tour was quite pricey. We ended up asking our cab driver one afternoon if he'd be willing to drive us, which he did for 2,000 baht round trip. At the park, the entrance fee was 200/100 adults/children and the hire of a truck/Jeep and guide was an additional 850 baht. In total, this was a third of the cost of an organized tour. We left our hotel in Hua Hin at 1:30p, and returned by 6p, so the timing was better for us as well. We enjoyed seeing the elephants and birds (bring binoculars), even if we did not spot the more exotic animals that also reside in the park (deer, bears, etc.).

The 'safari' trucks available for hire for 850 baht, which includes a tour guide.
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