Hua Hin to Kui Buri

Left Hua Hin at early hours of the morning today and followed a beautiful coastline starting about 25kms South of the city (Hua Hin). Long stretches of sandy beaches with new resorts starting to appear in that isolated part of the coastal region because of the serene locality, Dolphin Bay. After about 50 km of lovely beaches, coconut trees and island views which took our mind off the hard pedalling before a big sweeping right hand turn inland to Kao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
 
We hit some very strong head winds and hot conditions in the middle of the day (midday heat) for quite awhile but offset by seeing stunning views of the limestone hills throughout the park. A big day just over 100 km but again worth it for the relaxing overnight stay back down on a beautiful beach at Kui Buri, 15 km short of Prachuabkirikhan.
 
A big thanks to Jim and Sandra Smithers who kindly brought 18kgs of Pure Sports Nutrition to Thailand for me just in time as I was onto my last packet of protein nutrition. Thanks Guys!!! The products are a big help to get me through the day and to recover for the onslaught the next day and coming days ahead.
 
After 4,200 km for me and over 1,500 km for Troy and Giles the aches are starting to appear in our muscles we didn't know we had. Troy and Giles have changed their bike seats, but I am still relying on a wing and a prayer with my old trusty tacky seat which seems to hold up to the bumping and thumping along the way so far.
 
Kui Buri is known to be the best elephant and gaur sighting place in Thailand, it is almost 99% sure visitors will see elephants any day.
 
Established in 1999 Kui Buri National Park is located in the Tenasserim Hills in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. The forests consists of dry and moist evergreen forests with trees such as Dipterocarpus tuberculatus, Hopea odorata, Terminalia chebula and different species of palms.
 
The national park is home to one of biggest population of gaurs in entire Thailand with estimated around 100 individuals and around 320 elephants. In December 2013, 24 gaurs were found dead in the national park. Clinic tests concluded that the cause of deaths are bacterial, not chemical substances. Following by this incident, the national park was closed 8 months and re-opened again in August 2014. Recently a herd of 70 gaurs has been spotted feeding near the one of ranger stations.
 
Although the national park doesn't have that many mammals such as nearby Kaeng Krachan National Park, it is probably the best spot in entire Thailand to easily see few species thanks to the easily accessible open areas. Wild mammals such as gaurs, elephants, golden jackals, leopards, deers, bantengs, langursare common in the national park.
 
Some of the common birds that can be found in Kui Buri are crested fireback, indian roller, asian openbill.
 
Kuri Buri has a campsite with a visitor center and bacis facilities, no restaurants. Tents are available for rent at the visitor center from 270B a night including accessories. There is one 3 bed room bungalow with 2 toilets for 1800 Baht per night. Own tent allowed for 30 Baht per night.
 
Visitors who wish to only see wildlife over a day trip are advised to head directly to a substation called Huai Leuk, it is quite far north from the visitor center. There are also clear signs from the visitor center all the way to the wildlife watching area. Once in Huai Leuk a safari vehicle must be arranged as private vehicles won't be allowed to pass beyond the substation. A guided tour with a safari vehicle is 850B per group (July 2016 price), can be arranged from Huai Leuk on arrival or for 950 Baht from the visitor center. The wildlife watching areas are open from 2pm until sunset but it is recommended to visit the area on the late afternoon as there won't be many animals around on the earlier hours.
 
The rainy period in the park is May to November with heavy rainfall in May and August to November, less rain June-July. Due to climate change, the rain period may continue a bit beyond November.
 
The entrance fees is 200 THB for foreigners (children 100 THB), 40 THB for Thai citizens (children 20 THB) and 30 THB for cars. The entrance ticket are valid for both visitor center and wildlife watching area.
 
Hueai Luek Wildlife Watching Area is an area behind Huai Luek Substation where local guides can be arranged for private trips in pickup style safari vehicles. The safari vehicles are open, umbrellas provided in case of rain. A safari tour costs 850 per group. Advance booking is not possible, guides available on spot only. Some guides speaks very basic English, others don't.
 
The station has a car parking area, toilets and a visitor center.
 
The wildlife watching area north from the substation is a forested area with several grassland areas. The last grassland area has a viewpoint with nice view over surrounding areas. While doing safari trip the local guides will inform each other with walkie talkies when they see animals. Apart from the elephants gaurs, golden jackals and deers may be seen with a bit of luck.
 
More to report as we move further and further South and some specific big thanks and appreciations to come (posts) on our rest day ahead (2 days time) to the latest donors to the long ride home.
 
Sawadee Krub
 
Truck, Troy and Giles
On the long ride home in Thailand