Sai Yok National Park was established in 1980 and it is located in Amphur Thongphaphum and Amphur Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi Province. The park covers an area of 958km2 near the Myanmar’s Southeastern border with Thailand. Sai Yok National Park has a very long history, during World War II, Japanese troops forced Allied Prisoners of War to build the notorious railway to Burma through this area. Much evidence remains available for historical study. Sai Yok area is well known for bats because there are many hills and caves within the parks. One of the species of bat found only in the limestone caves in this area is called the Kitti’s hog-nosed Bat. It is the world’s smallest mammals, weighting only 2g discovered by Mr Kitti Thonglongya in October 1973 in a cave near Sai Yok Waterfall.
The area within Sai Yok National Park is a complex limestone mountain supporting moist evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, and bamboo. The park is the habitat of large animals such as Elephant, Gaur, Sambar Deer, and Tiger. There are also smallest mammals in the worlds, Kitti’s Hog-Nose Bat and the recently discovered Regal Crab, both of which are endemic species.
Dowadeung Cave is 80m deep consisting of 8 “rooms” all with stalagmites, such as the huge “pendant curtain” in the Chatrakaew Room, and the eagle-shaped stone pillar in the Maan Fa Room.
Sai Yok Yai Waterfall
This large waterfall drops directly into the Kwai Noi River. It is about 10m high. Near by is the Sai Yok Lek Waterfall with similar, but smaller characteristics. Both waterfalls flow all year round even during the dry season which the waterfall will appear even higher due to the low river water level of Kwai Noi. The park has built a bridge across the river in order to conveniently view the waterfalls and river.
The two rivers that have been well recognized as “River Kwai” are the Kwai Noi and the Kwai Yai river meaning Big Kwai and Small Kwai river. The river is well known for her WWII historical value i.e. the “Bridge Over River Kwai” and the “Death Railway” which was laid adjacent to the river and cut across the Sai Yok jungle to the Burmese border. We will be taking the actual Death Railway Train ride from River Kwai Bridge to the last station at Namtok (1 1/2 hrs journey).
Kui Lawa is located at the upper stream of Huay Mae Nam Noi River. There are a few outdoor field campsites around Kui Lawa next to Mae Nam Noi River. There are two ways to get there, one is by off-beaten track through bamboo and teak tree forest and the other is trekking along Mae Nam Noi river. The second way is much tougher because of the thick bamboo forest beside the river but it is definitely more challenging and interesting. Very often, trekkers have to walk in the river (about knee depth) to bypass the fallen bamboo tree. The river water in the upper part of Mae Nam Noi is crystal clear and refreshing.