When visiting Krabi town, you may have wondered about that high, steep mountain range covered in mist in the distance. It is 1400-metre tall Khao Phanom Benja (also spelled Bencha), or Five-point Prostration Mountain, as Thais say the shape of the mountain resembles a person in prayer.
The National Park headquarters are an easy 20 km motorcycle ride from Krabi town across splendid plantations, little villages, a landscape of fantastic rocks. The route is clearly marked off highway 4.
The main attraction of the park is the 3-tier Huay To waterfall, a comfortable 350-metre walk from the entrance along a shaded path flanked by huge trees. There is plenty of water for a quick dip in the pools even at the height of the dry season.
As you can see, Thais usually go for a swim dressed up. Not a bad idea if the pool happens to be in the sun.
You can climb up to the top tier for a more secluded pool.
It was a little scary when we got attacked by a swarm of wild bees or wasps up there. We literally had to run down the slippery trail.
There is a very steep circular nature trail taking you to some of the highlights of this national park; all the sights are clearly marked on the map at the entrance.
There are bungalows and a camping area near the headquarters, which were at the time occupied by a Thai wedding party taking photos in the spectacular setting.
You can book accommodation through the national parks of Thailand website. Guides are also available if you would like to trek to the top of the mountain range.
As I had a really painful migraine the day before, and it was an extremely hot day (maybe the hottest I ever remember in Krabi), we did not walk the trail, did not visit Khao Pheung cave, about 3 kms from the national park office, or the elephant camp on a small stream just outside the park. Nevertheless, I remember it as a relaxing experience. It is relatively near Krabi town and not overrun by tour groups at all. The usual national park entry fees do apply, though. I got the Thai price when I mentioned I was from Chiang Mai – so was the guard on duty.
It is an area that I would certainly like to explore a lot more on my next visit to the province. If you have been to this national park or you have some photos, please share your experiences in a comment or at the forums.