Khao Luang National Park

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Orchids

Things to do for visitors

Topography Nature Trail`s of Khao Luang

Visitor Info

Map of the Park

Background

The Khao Luang massive
The Khao Luang massive, one of the most important habitat for many endangered species of Thailand
Topographically, the southern part of Thailand is a long peninsular which has some scattered mountain ranges in particular areas. In the central areas of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province such landscape is obvious. The Nakhon Si Thammarat Ranges, named after the province, are located in the central part of the province. Therefore, much of the eastern coast  n the past, these mountains and forests were know as a significant source of food that nurtured the prosperity of ancient communities. The well-know, greet  Tamphonling Kingdom of the Southern Peninsular was located here. Khao Luang, the highest point in peninsular Thailand is also a rich source of various resource, and water. As a result, it made Nakhon Si Thammarat a very important trading seaport center in Southeast Asia.  
At present, the business center has  been shifted to other places in accordance with 
changing conditions but Khao Luangs significance still remains. Apart from being a source of various natural resources, it also servers as a rare habitat of a variety of biodiversities of  numerous species that are countless in value.
The Royal Forestry Department declared Khao Luang as the 9th national park of Thailand on 18. December 1974.  


Topography

Khao Luang national Park is located in Southern Thailand. It partly covers the areas of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Tha Sala, Phromkhiri Chawang, and Phipoon district of  Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The park covers an area of approximately 356,250 rai or 570 square kilometers. There is range upon range as far as the eye can see. Most parts of the formation are soil from igneous rock with scattered limestone mountains. The highest peak of the ranges is about 1,835 meters above sea level.
The top of the peninsular ranges is covered with virgin forest. This makes an ideal source for streams and rivers. One of the most important river courses that originates here is Tapee river, which nurtures the land of the central peninsular. The climate of the region is mainly rain throughout the year. This begins in May and becomes heavier during February-April compared with the rest of the years. The average maximum temperature of the plain is around 28,7 C except on the mountaintops which may be as low as 5 C.  

Forest and Vegetation on Khao Luang

  

Didymocarpus platypus a rare exotic of Gesneriad family
Didymocarpus platypus a rare exotic of Gesneriad family

Since the area of the park is covered with high mountains with year-round rainfall, this effects the types of vegetation and the  forests growing there. Due to the high altitude, the forest is generally Tropical Rain Forest which can be categorized to the different heights of altitude and the availability and density of particular vegetation, especially that prevalent at each height.  
Bua chaek (Dipteris conjugata) 
Bua chaek (Dipteris conjugata) 
The living fossil fern
  
Lowland Forest
This type of forest grows on the plain up to a height not exceeding 300 meters. This dense jungle consists of a rich variety of species.  The high treetops are found at three different levels. Those with  a height of up to 30-50 meters are tall timber trees, locally  known as Yang (Dipteroarpus ssp.). The ground is covered with shrubs, weeds, creepers, and other plants like ferns, taro, galanga, ginger, pandanus, and rattan.

Hills Forest This covers the high altitude area exceeding 300 meters, but not exceeding 1,000 meters. It resembles  the firstype,  but with more Padocarpus, giant fishtail palms, t and tree ferns which are foundprevalentin the valley. Rare jungle orchids are also found in this area.  

 

Lower Montane Forest This is found in the high area  exceeding 1,000 meters, but lower than 1,500 meters. Plants growing in this zone obviously differ from the first two types.  This area is always  covered with fog and cloud, so there is a high degree of moisture. Some prevalent timber trees available are Eugenia, Schima tree and Oak, with primitive plants like filmy ferns and mosses that grow on the surfaces of tree trunks as well as rocks. Besides the mentioned, there  is a variety of Begonia growing in the area.

Montane Forest  This type covers the high altitude of above 1,500 meters with year-round foggy and cloudy cover. Hence, it is known by another name as the “cloud forest”. It is also characterized by strong winds and could temperatures. The level of moisture is almost 100 percent. Most timber tree are dwarfish with a hight of only 3-5 meters, e.g. Rhodendron and a variety of Oak. On the trees, there are mosses, ferns, and lichens which grow densely. The most visible plants are Dipteris fern and Cheiropleuria fern on the mountaintop. These remarkable ferns are found nowhere else in Thailand.  

 

Hubpha Maha Sadam or Tree fern valley seen from 1,300 m.

Hubpha Maha Sadam or Tree fern valley seen from 1,300 m.

Wildlife

The rich natural resources of Khao Luang National Park`s forest attracts diverse species of animals, e.g. Malayan tapir and serow which are preserved in Thailand. These animals, which generally are difficult to see, inhabit the valleys of the central part of the park. Anim that are easily visible are macaque, musk deer, civet, binturong, and various kinds of rare southern birds and reptiles; for instance, turtles, lizards, and rare jungle insects that can be found around the bush on the sides of the water courses or falls throughout the park.

Orchids of Khao Luang

Khao Luang Forest  is a hub of biodiversity thats is comparable to none. It acommodates various species of fauna and flora, especially more than 300 species of orchids. Some are uniquely local which are found nowhere else. Visitors walking in Khao Luang Forest will be greeted by different kinds of orchids all along the trail. Some grow their roots on the ground or among rocks whereas others are found grouwing epiphytically on tree trunks.
Picture, Orchids of Khao Luang

Things to do for visitors

  • Study about the destination before visiting particularly the weather, seasons for suitable equipment, and safety.
  • Familiarise oneself with the rules and regulations wat are do and don`t laid out by the park at the Visitor Centre or the
       Park Protection Centre while visiting different spots in the park.
  • Prepare equipment that helps one to enjoy the beauty of nature effectively such as binoculars, sketch book, telescope, or  camera, and take them along.
  • Ask for permision from park officials in the case of wainting to spend the night in the park compound. The number of 
       campers at each spot should not exceed 10 people, and they must prepare themselves as follows:
  • Take only extremly necessary and useful equipment, e.g. backpack, tent, plastic plates sleeping bag, torch, water cotainers, pocket knife, spots, rope, plastic bags, digging tools, ointment, etc.
  • Dress in well-protective clothing. A raincoat is necessary during the rainy season and only wear trekking shoes.
  • Enough food should be taken in accordance with the period planned to spend in the forest, as well as easy to prepare; a camping gas stove is required since building fires in the Park is prohibited.
  • Camp only in the area suggested by the park, and walk only along the marked trails.
  • Take all disposals out of the park.

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Copyright © 1999 Werner Reichert
Last modified: 30.12.1999 12:00