Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park is a great place for hiking near Pattaya
November 7, 2023
Table of contents
- What is Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- Things to do at Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park Map
- How to get to Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park and where to park your car or motorcycle near Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- What are the hiking routes in Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park?
- Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park Viewpoints
- The developed area of Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- Lake at Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- Wat Tham Prathun (temple)
- Farm fields next to Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- Plants and animals of Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- When to visit Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
- Signposts and route markers
- How good are the trails in Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park?
- Hiking equipment
- Impressions from Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park is a wooded area with several small mountains and a network of branching trails. The area of the territory is approximately 5×4 km. Near the forest there is a small park and lake, as well as a Buddhist temple. The entrance is free. The distance from Pattaya to the park is about 24 km by motorbike.
Despite its seemingly relatively small size, thanks to a very extensive network of trails, you can keep yourself busy hiking in this place for the whole day. Considering that quite often the roads have a slope, the difficulty of the routes increases.
If you think you need a real challenge, then several mountain peaks are at your disposal. I would equate the amount of effort spent on climbing one mountain peak in this place to 5 kilometers traveled over hilly terrain.
Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park will not let you get bored – as you progress, you will notice how much the surrounding landscape and vegetation changes. You want to explore this place and keep moving to find out what awaits next.
The effort spent climbing the mountain peaks will be rewarded with beautiful views.
Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park is most suitable for hiking, that is, long walks through mountainous terrain. Many of the park's trails are also suitable for mountain biking.
Some areas of this park are favored by motocross fans, but information signs in the park say that motocross is prohibited here.
I also met runners at Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park, but IMHO it is not an ideal place for running.
For running and cycling, I would recommend the circular route and park in the Map Phrachan lake area.
For physical exercises such as aerobics, as well as for a relaxing holiday in nature, the well-equipped area of Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park, which is located next to the lake, is suitable.
There are no Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park trails on Google Maps. Therefore, for orientation during the route, use OpenStreetMap or AllTrails.
OpenStreetMap contains a detailed and fairly accurate trail map of the area. Although you shouldn't trust the map 100%, there are still inaccuracies.
Enthusiasts have prepared this paper map of Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park:
I came across this map in two places in the forest itself.
In addition to the map, these enthusiasts placed on the trees the designations of those places that are shown on the map. For example, as you can understand from this inscription, we are in a place called “Buddha Hill”.
Overall, this map is a very good help – huge thanks to the people who compiled it and who placed signs in the forest. The result of their work greatly facilitates navigation and increases the amount of fun.
And another map from the organizers of “UTKZ – Ultra Trail Kaze”. I seriously believe that if you walk the indicated 50 km, then at the end of the route you will really see a flying saucer and aliens.
How to get to Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park and where to park your car or motorcycle near Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park
Route map to Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park from Pattaya:
There are two main most convenient parking places near Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park. On the map these places are indicated as follows:
- Wat Tham Prathun
Parking is located next to the lake and next to a developed park. There are several entrances to the forest here. From here you have the shortest routes to the most beautiful viewpoints. Overall, I recommend starting here.
Wat Tham Prathun has a large area where you can park your vehicles. Although the temple is adjacent to the forest, it is fenced off from the forest, and the roads leading towards the forest are closed to passage. Yes, there is a hole in the fence, but, firstly, you need to know this place well, and, secondly, just outside the temple territory you will find the “legal” entrance to the forest. On the map this place is marked as “Entrance to the forest (next to Wat Tham Prathun)” and I recommend that you use it if you parked on the temple grounds.
Kaze Camp & Coffee is a camping area and cafeteria. This place is located at the opposite end of the forest, has an entrance from the main road and an entrance to the forest. Overall, in theory, this place is good for exploring the forest from the opposite side. But please note that this place has opening hours and the territory is closed outside of these hours. When preparing the route, I came here in the evening to make sure that I could start my next route from here. But I was faced with a closed gate. I even got the feeling that this place is not working, although new photos appear on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Kaze.CampandCoffee. I was here in September 2023, at six o’clock in the evening – the entrance to the territory of Kaze Camp & Coffee was closed – if you know something about this place, then share it in the comments. On their Facebook page there is an announcement of an event for December 17, 2023 – a 50-kilometer route through the jungle for 14 hours. In general, you can park vehicles here during business hours
Entering the forest near Lake Huai Khun Chit. This option is only for real professionals. Several roads actually lead into the forest from here, but they pass through an area with some huts – it looks like some kind of squatter building. I drove between the same illegal fields and to get into the forest I had to follow a path in the grass that was taller than me. The experience was interesting, but I don’t want to repeat it a second time.
You can create your own routes in Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park. There are many paths here and you can choose a path of the length that will be comfortable for you.
Visiting viewpoints will add variety to your route, but will also make it more challenging.
I built my routes based on my intentions to explore the entire forest in as much detail as possible.
Some trails are easier, some are more difficult due to the fact that they pass at the foot of the mountains and there are descents and ascents on them, even if you do not get to the top of the mountain. Climbing a mountain always requires effort, especially with a backpack.
1. Buddha Hill
The most scenic viewpoint. From here you have the best view.
Video from Buddha Hill:
2. F… Me mountain
Viewpoint in the area “6. F… Me mountain” and “24. VT” is the second most beautiful. There is also a good view from here.
Video from F… Me mountain:
3. Nightjars Rock (View Point)
In this place, the most that I was able to see is what you see in the photograph.
I saw higher rocks, but didn’t dare climb them.
4. Mountain in the “Wrong turn” area
It's not really a viewpoint, it's the peak of a mountain.
Behind the bushes there should really be a beautiful view and, most likely, a stunning sunset. But the trees are too tall to see anything.
To be honest, I only remembered that there was a park next to the forest when I was looking through my photographs. I visited this park on the first day, and then I went there one more time to relax. But I spent almost no time in the park itself and used it as an entrance and exit to the forest.
As you can see from the photographs, the territory is well-groomed, it is beautiful, there are places where you can relax.
There is a small amount of equipment for physical exercises.
At the entrance to the park there is a large parrot with which you can take a photo.
In general, you can relax here and spend some time, including with children.
But the park has been erased from my memory, since I spent most of my time in the forest.
There is a lake adjacent to the park. The lake is small but quite beautiful.
This lake can be walked around the perimeter.
I didn’t see anyone swimming in it, but I saw people fishing on its shore.
Overall, Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park and the lake are quite suitable for a relaxing holiday if you do not plan to walk the trail.
Tham Prathun Temple looks big but not crowded.
It is open and you can park your vehicles here. Not far from the temple there is an entrance to the forest.
There are also tables and chairs where you can relax and have a snack (if you bring food with you).
Toilets are available.
On the temple grounds you will see water taps where you can wash your face.
Close to Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park there are people who, in my opinion, live on these lands not entirely legally.
In some places you will see gates and a request to close them – so that the cows do not wander too far. You can also stumble upon the cows themselves and the shepherds with their dogs.
In some places, paths emerge from the forest and lead to farmers' fields.
Some roads are open for public use, while others have signs in front of them that the passage is closed.
There you can see beautiful scenery, but these roads are not part of the routes. If you find yourself in a field, then most likely you have lost your way.
To my surprise (and great joy), during all my walks in the forest, I never met snakes or other animals. In Thailand you have to be prepared to encounter a snake in the grass or on a tree, so I was always careful when walking.
Bird sounds are constantly heard. Butterflies of different sizes and colors fly here and there. Towards evening, huge snails appear on the trails.
After the rain there are quite a lot of mosquitoes here. I did not feel any other troubles from animals and insects.
At the entrance to the park there is a warning in Thai, it says that it is forbidden to catch animals. As I already said, I didn’t see any animals in the forest, but at Wat Tham Prathun a monitor lizard crossed my path, its length exceeded my height – I was even a little scared. I thought that it was I who needed to be afraid, not the monitor lizard. Such a monitor lizard, if it wants, will drag me away and then they won’t even find the bones, probably…
The landscape and vegetation in the forest changes as the route progresses. Sometimes the path passes under the canopies of tall trees, sometimes through clearings with tall grass.
What surprised me about this forest was the small number (or even complete absence) of palm trees. Sometimes you forget that you are walking through a tropical forest and it seems that this is some kind of European forest. The main difference from European forests is that coniferous trees do not grow in Thailand.
After the rain I saw mushrooms and mushroom pickers. But in the forest I did not find a single mushroom that I knew.
Another characteristic feature of Thailand is that berries do not grow here. Yes, in the north of Thailand they grow sour and tasteless strawberries, and that’s where the local berry world ends. Accordingly, there are also no berries in the forest: no raspberries, no blackberries, no blueberries, no lingonberries – in general, no berries familiar to us or their analogues. Apparently, coniferous plants and berries require a colder climate.
I would not recommend going here during the rainy season. But you may notice that all my photographs were taken just during the rainy season; I walked here immediately after the rain and even during the rain. Still, it's good advice. At the very least, don't try to climb on slippery rocks.
Tree crowns protect from the scorching sun, so sunny days are quite suitable for walking in the forest.
I always tried to complete my routes before dark. And this is probably correct. But sometimes I still come here in the evening and admire the mountains without going into the forest. At this time, you can see the lights of fireflies.
The trails are clearly visible almost everywhere. There are also numerous ribbons or other markings to confirm that you are moving in the right direction.
The symbols from Monkey Extreme Runners really help you find out where you are in the forest – these are the same ones who made the wonderful map. Huge respect to these people.
Sometimes there are arrows indicating the correct path and a cross indicating that this path leads away from the route (this could be the exit from the park, for example).
GPS navigation and OpenStreetMap with a trail map are very helpful.
In general, it is quite difficult to get lost in Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park. Besides, the forest is not very big. Nevertheless, there is no need to be frivolous. This is not a park, this is a real forest and you can really get lost here.
The paths here are different. There are both fairly wide paths and inconvenient paths that most closely resemble a stream bed.
After heavy rains, puddles may appear on the roads in some places.
The climbs up the mountain are quite steep and exhausting.
Regular running and gym clothes will do. If you plan to climb to the peaks, then the shoes must be suitable.
2. Waterproof phone cases.
I have a waterproof phone case that I bought for kayaking, but I also take it on hikes in case of sudden rain.
3. Water and food.
A 10 km path through a city or park and 10 km through a mountainous forest are not the same thing! Be sure to take 2-3 liters of water per person with you.
At first, for food, we took what we could find in the refrigerator – from fruit to pasta with meat – it turned out to be a small picnic. But ultimately we settled on protein. This is a good and inexpensive protein – I really like it. We put the protein in a shaker, but mix it in the forest before use. We also add instant coffee: firstly, this significantly improves the taste of the already boring taste of protein; secondly, coffee gives you a burst of energy in the middle of the route. Protein does not put pressure on the stomach and does not cause drowsiness, but at the same time the feeling of hunger disappears – in general, it has a good effect on the body and is easier to eat than with other foods, since you don’t need to think about spoons and so on.
If you don't have a shaker, you can buy this inexpensive one.
If you think that putting water in a regular bag with which you go to the store is a good idea, then you are very mistaken! You will get tired of carrying this bag very quickly. Be sure to get a backpack.
If you don’t have a backpack, then you should like this backpack for less than 200 baht ($6) – I bought myself one to replace the previous one, which had become unusable.
Extremely positive impressions. I really like Khao Mai Keao Reservation Park.
Here you can very finely adjust the route to suit your capabilities. It's easy to choose both distance and difficulty here – although it does require some experience to know which trails are easier and which are more difficult.
If you want a shake-up, you can climb mountains.
This place is not very close to Pattaya, but this has some advantages – for example, there are very few people here.
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