The Giant Krabak Tree

I’ve been a way for a while, but here I am with a new travel report. I planned for several months to visit Taksin Maharat National Park (named after a former king of Thailand) in Tak province where the Giant Krabak Tree is growing. Some previous research told me that the Giant Krabak tree (anisoptera costata) is a species of plant of the  dipterocarpacease family. It’ s the largest  tree  growing in South East Asia – Costata in Latin (costatus) means  ribbed and describes the venation of the leaf blades. Krabak trees grow in lowland evergreen and semi evergreen forests.

Enough talking for now…. let’s hit the road to one of northern Thailand’s lesser known national parks.

Taksin Maharat National Park is located in the Mae Sot district of Tak province, about 3 kilometers off the main road. It’s a well paved winding mountain road. I was surprised to the park’s access road which was in real good condition, and so I was cherishing the hope that all the park would be just as clean. And yes, after entering the park’s main entrance, I was taken-aback by a well maintained park where there was no litter to be found, amazing. This is very rare in Thailand. The Head Office is about 500m from the  main  entrance and I was welcomed by the ever-friendly ranger. The ranger told me that the krabak tree was  approximately  2,5 kms  away  from the office – the first 1,700 meters could be done by vehicle and  the rest  on foot. The ranger told me that the krabak tree in this  park, towering 58 meters high  above the ground with a circumference of  approx. 16 meters, is the  largest of its kind  in Thailand. I couldn’t figure out  the age of the tree but it is probably more than 100 years old.

Stage 2  of my visit  was a quick visit to the  longest natural rock bridge  (saphan hin) in Thailand. I wasn’t aware that there were natural stone bridges of this size in Thailand. The  bridge is about 10 km away from the  headquarters, but again a couple of hundred meters have to be done on foot. The natural rock bridge is a massive rock bar  spanning  a gap  between two cliffs . The huge  rock bridge  measures about  30 meters in length and about 25 m wide. A stream flows  around 25 meters  beneath the huge rock structure. Heading towards the hot season, the riverbed was nearly dried out. The beautiful surroundings are ideal for picnicking and enjoying your day out.

There are several waterfalls  to explore too,  The Pang-an – Noi Waterfall is only 1 km away from the Giant Krabak Tree and certainly worth a visit. Several species of bird can be seen in the park. There is also an interpretive trail for hikers available with the  path starting at the Visitor Center. It descends gradually into a savanna forest and then eventually into a Dry Evergreen Forest  until it reaches the krabak tree 2,5 kilometers later. The trail then climbs up  the road  and follows the back to the head quarters .

The  park  has  9 lodges  available for rent and also  a canteen campground. As the campground is at the top of a mountain you can enjoy the view of amazing surroundings. I would really recommend a visit to this park.

The park  is about  480  km away from Bangkok  towards the  north. Take  the high road to  Nakhon Sawan then  turn left in the direction of  Tak. Upon arrival in Tak, follow the road signs to Mea Sot.  At  about  45 km from Mae Sot  you’ll see several signs pointing to the park .

If, after this park, you are interested in seeing more of the north, you can carry  on to Chiang Mai following high Road 105  to Mae Sariang in Chiang Mai province. This is a breathtaking  mountain ride and a perfect alternative route to going to Chiang Mai. A truly relaxing  outing for tourists who want to go off the beaten track. See  you again in a next episode of  UNSEEN THAILAND  

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