I have just been lucky to visit Khao Sok Nation Park in Surat Thani Province, S. Thailand, with my good friend Antonio Giudici.
The entrance to the park is at the end of a short road off the main highway between Phanom and Takuapa, about 5Km before the roadside Mai Yai waterfall, which, incedentally, I do not recommend during the dry season. The short road to the park entrance is lined with small resorts for Park visitors, and it is only a short walk to the entrance itself. Entry fees are 100Baht for foreigners.
Because Khao Sok is directly connected to 2 other Parks, this is a huge area of undisturbed rainforest, and has almost the full compliment of major mammals, including Elephants, Tigers, Tapirs and Sun Bears. In fact, the only large animal missing is the Sumatran Rhino, though with such a large area remaining unexplored, it is still possible that a few may be hiding deep inside the rainforest, I certainly hope so.
The weather was generally good during the day, the morning mist clearing by 10:00 each morning. Clouds started to appear at arround 13:30, with thunder sounding at 14:30. Ususally, it was raining by 15:00 which brought our butterfly hunting to an end. We concentrated on one main path which runs close to the Sok River. The first 3.5KM is an old road, but after that, the path becomes only wide enough for single file walking.
It appears that we were there at the start of the main butterfly season, there not being a huge amount, numbers wise. However, the species we did come across were interesting in the extreme, including some great rarities. On our first day in the park, we almost immediately came a cross a new species for me, the Yellow Tailed Owl (Neorina crishna archaica), which proved to be a very good model, and stayed on the path for a long time.
We felt this to be a good sign for future discoveries, and, indeed, I saw 19 species completely new to me on this trip, which, since I live in the Province, and have also visited the mainland on several occasions, was a good haul. On our last day there, we came across a Hesperid, which on review, appears that it could be an unknown species. I have been informed that this is The Palin Yellow Lancer (Xanthoneura corissa indrasana)
These were undoubtedly the highlights, but other species worthy of note are shown below:
I thoroughly recommend a visit to this wonderful Park. Most resorts have a number of excursions available to residents, including a trip on the dammed lake, which, I understand, is extremely beautiful, whough we never had time to undertake this one. I can assure you, I will be going back, hopefully, later on this year.Tags: butterflies, Insects, Khao Sok, Sutatthani, thailand