Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Khao Takiab, Khao Tao, Pranburi, Paknampran, Khao Kalok, Dolphin Bay, Sam Roi Yod and Prachuabkirikhan. Discussion on areas south of Hua Hin.
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Big Boy » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:43 am

My son had a rare day off yesterday, so we went back again, even though we'd been there only 2 weeks previous. His days off are so infrequent, this was a rare opportunity. We took the whole 'Hua Hin' family (only 7 of us), and we all easily fitted in to the back of a safari truck, so no extra cost.

There was no close up action this time (last time was exceptional), but we had contact with over 20 elephants, and a deer (first time) on this visit.

The funniest part of the day was when a mother and young elephant appeared out of the trees. The young elephant was getting a little adventurous, and wandered away from mum. A flock of birds landed beside the young elephant. Well, I've never seen an elephant move so fast as it ran to get behind the safety of mum. Reminded me of the elephant/mouse stories.

My little point and shoot camera is not suitable for distance, but I managed a couple of short videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-YrRHuKV_c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPInDhAb5v8

We think this family could have been the same family we saw so closely a couple of weeks earlier.
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by buksida » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:47 am

Thanks for the vids, this trip is still on my list. Do you have to book the ranger in advance or can you just rock up? How long are you out in the park for and how many kilometers into the wild do they take you?
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Big Boy » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:43 am

Do you have to book the ranger - no, just turn up. Trucks are queuing to take visitors into the park. I assume it's local farmers trying to earn a little pocket money. You will have to walk through the sheep dip, so make sure your shoes are up to it. Trucks are well sprayed as well as driving through the sheep dip.
TOP TIP: I've been 3 times, and have entered as soon as they have opened at 2pm. The first hour has been searching for animals. In future, we will do 3 until 6 - the later you are into the afternoon, the more chance of animals coming to water holes to drink/bathe.

How long are you out in the park - a maximum of 4 hours (2 until 6), but especially if it's quiet, they will try to get you out sooner to enable them to pick up a 2nd trip. Don't be rushed - there are 3 observation points they will stop at. Just relax, and enjoy the view. Your guide will stick with you, and when animals are spotted, he or she will receive notification by walkie talkie.

how many kilometers into the wild do they take you? - I don't really know, but they always take you to the end of the trail. Terrain is quite rough, so the trucks don't rush.

Make sure you have binoculars - a decent set can be hired at the ticket office for 100 Baht. Make sure you have a lens on your camera with decent zoom (not like mine :oops: ). Officially, they won't let you within 100 metres of the animals. Two out of 3 visits we've been much closer. It really is luck of the draw. There are rangers all over the park with cannons elephant guns in case there is an incident - never actually heard of one yet.

There is only one toilet inside the park, and that is at the first official stop (the Ranger Station). Take water with you, but drink sparingly. OK, men just use the nearest tree, but certainly Mrs BB was afraid of presenting her backside to the nearset snake :D . We had to cut our first visit short.

The safari trucks comfortably seat 9 [Edit] comfort may not be the right word :D . Same price irrespective of passengers. Guide is included with the truck.
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Pleng » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:57 pm

A word of warning - it can be very hit and miss. I went there a while back and all I saw was one elephant at extremely long range, and a deer which came skipping past the truck while we were in transit.

The staff were very apologetic and desperately communicating with each other on the radios to try and find us some elephants to see, but I guess they juts didn't feel like coming out to play on that particular occasion!

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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Big Boy » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:08 pm

This is very true. On our first visit we were warned that there wasn't much about, but from the final observation point, there were 2 herds, one either side. Then on the drive out we encountered another herd crossing right in front of us. We have been very fortunate.
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Vital Spark » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:55 pm

Great info about getting there and what to take, thanks BB. Got my nephew staying with us at the moment, so when we can drag ourselves away from the dreaded work this is certainly on our list of things to do.

I think you and Buksi should be on the TAT pay roll. Your excellent reports and photos are far better than any website information that they produce.

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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by MDMK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:30 am

I had so many questions about going to see the elephants at Kuiburi, they're all answered now. The videos are great too.

Thanks for a great report, very informative!

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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Big Boy » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:57 am

You're welcome MDMK. I've been a few times now, and never tire of the visit.

One lesson I've learnt is don't get there too early - we used to be there as soon as they opened. Yes, we've always seen elephants. However, go maybe 2 hours later, and the elephants are gathering near the water holes, and you get a much better experience.

Here's a couple of photos from 3 weeks ago:
DSC02722.jpg
DSC02730.jpg
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by MDMK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:42 pm

So that would make it, what ? aim to enter the park just before 4pm, right?

Those latest photos, are you zoomed right in with your camera in those ones, or are you actually that close?

Thanks again Bigboy, best info by far that I have came across for Kuiburi.

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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Big Boy » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:15 pm

Aim to enter the park between 3:30 and 4. If you don't have binoculars, hire some - only 100 Baht.

In the latest photos, that was at full zoom, but my camera is not good, so yes, we were fairly close. I think the official closest you are allowed to get is about 100 mtrs, but elephants don't carry a tape measure, and often come closer. You will see game wardens around the park carrying huge elephant guns, just in case - these are wild animals. However, I've been a few times, and have never seen any incidents. Just do as your guide says, and you will enjoy it.

I'll look forward to the photos. :D
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by MDMK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:21 pm

My husband has been on a week long safari in Kenya, and he did get some photos of herds of elephants, but none as close as yours ... and his camera is a fairly good one with special zoom lenses and all that.

(Incidentally, I think I know who you are as that day the colliery band played in Market Village back in June.... after you posted the pictures here on the forum the following day, I kind of worked out who you must have been, my husband was the big tall guy who was also making pics with a fancy camera. I'm his short arsed wife with an 80euro point and shoot. We were sat just in front and slightly to the right of you and your wife.) He's Dutch, I'm Scottish. Hence the long and the short.

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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by MDMK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:24 pm

oh and as for photos.... I am going one better. Just bought a cheapo go pro (action cam thingy) that screws on to the visor bit of a baseball cap so I can make videos too. handsfree. Will be sure to post them! I hope I do get the elephants in and dont end up with 2 hrs of tree tops and skyline. hehe

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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by buksida » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:45 pm

GoPros are wide angle HD video cameras - to get good shots of wildlife that is far away you need a telephoto lens 300mm or above.
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by Big Boy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:24 am

MDMK wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:21 pm
I think I know who you are as that day the colliery band played in Market Village back in June.... after you posted the pictures here on the forum the following day, I kind of worked out who you must have been, my husband was the big tall guy who was also making pics with a fancy camera. I'm his short arsed wife with an 80euro point and shoot. We were sat just in front and slightly to the right of you and your wife.)
Yes, that sounds like me. Unfortunately, I have a facial recognition problem, so I wouldn't have a clue who you were. It is a very embarrassing condition, and I'm sure people think I'm being ignorant. Fortunately, if people start talking, I'm normally perceptive enough to work out very quickly where I've seen them before. It's amazing how many people I see around town, and know that I've seen them before, but don't have any idea who they are.

My camera is only a cheap point and shoot. So long as it has optical zoom, and you have a steady hand it should be fine.
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Re: Visiting the Animals at Kuiburi National Park

Post by mil_dos » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:22 pm

I don't know why this place isn't world famous. I've been three times this year and will keep going back.
More or less guaranteed elephants. Can't imagine you can say that about many places that aren't a zoo.

Took a few photos in June. Hopefully, this link will work:

https://flickr.com/photos/121488257@N08 ... 5246559976

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