What makes Wat Pho in Bang Khla extra special is something that you will probably hear before you see. Within the grounds that surround the temple compound, hundreds of fruit bats (flying foxes) roost in the trees and their high pitched squawking is sure to be the first thing to grab your attention. Fruit bats are the world's largest species of bats. They have fox-like features with large eyes, reddish brown fur and black wings. They have a wingspan of about 3ft and can fly as far and as fast as a bird.
During the day, the bats hang upside down roosting in the trees. They clean and jostle each other and sometimes reposition themselves, which will involve swooping over your head. But at dusk things really start to happen, as the bats fly off to feed. The bats favorite food are the fruits and leaves from mango, tamarind and even the temple's sacred Bodhi trees.
Thailand is rich with a huge variety of fauna and flora mostly due to the diverse climatic conditions that range from tropical in the southern half of the country to temperate in the northern half. Natural areas are found throughout Thailand, most are easily accessible in the more than 100 national parks and protected areas in Thailand, city parks and botanical gardens that offer great access to much of the wildlife, mostly in a safe and restricted manner. Each natural area offers access to unique attractions, great facilities, and lots of wildlife. Visitors to these areas may be interested in exploring nature using developed trails for trekking, mountain biking, photography, birding, camping, scuba diving, visiting waterfalls, or observing at Thailand wildlife. Here are notable examples:
The thousands of kilometers of beaches in Thailand include many lush mangrove forests and many are protected by the Thai Government. Bang Pu Education Center is one of many coastal nature reserves along the coasts of the Thai Gulf and is located just south of Bangkok in Samut Prakan Province. This area is well-known for a seasonal flock of seagulls that use this area as their migratory route, which cycles around between January and April. The reserve is chock full of coastal wildlife, including many varieties of waterfowl and mudflat creatures.
Thailand is a great place for snorkeling and Scuba diving , which offer a great opportunity to view Thailand Undersea gardens. The many Islands in Thailand have established diving shops, most offering diving trips around the islands and the various certifications for underwater diving.
Rama IX Botanical Gardens is a great way to spend the day in Bangkok in an out-of-the-way scenic area, little frequented by foreigners. The gardens are located to the east of Bangkok center city, costing about 100 baht for the taxi ride. The gardens are full of exotic flowering plants, aquatic animals and an amazing assortment of birds. But there are many parks to enjoy in the Great Metropolitan Bangkok Area.
The nature trails of the Doi Inthanon National Park take you up into an evergreen cloud forest and along the ridge top ridge that is dotted with red rhododendron. The views from on top of the ridge are absolutely spectacular and I recommend taking the hike to anyone who makes it into the park. There will be many opportunities to see the lush wildlife of the park on the trails.
Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park is a jungle park just outside Bangkok. In fact, the park is just opposite Bangkok's major industrial area along the Chao Phraya River but when you are in the park you feel like you are deep into heavy tropical jungle. When in the park you can experience a large variety of jungle life. The area outside the park is also mostly lush jungle but the municipality as graciously provided biking trails throughout the area.
Through the years of living in Thailand I have found wildlife everywhere. Strange and interesting wildlife can be on the side of the roads, within the city parks and they may even visit you in your beach bungalow. So keep your eyes open as you travel in and out of the city and enjoy the wildlife throughout the country.
Bang Tabun Mangrove Forest Conservation Area is located in Phetchaburi, Thailand north of Puk Tien Beach and just over the Phetchaburi River Bridge. The conservation area is chuck full of interesting wildlife living in the mangrove forest adjacent to the Thai Gulf at the mouth of the Phetchaburi River. Everything from mischievous monkeys to iridescent kingfishers. Notably the mudflats are full of large mudskippers as well as many different waterfowl. The conservation center has constructed an awesome concrete walkway along the edge of the forest area and along the Thai Gulf to allow easy access to view the life in the mangrove forest. I hope you enjoy the photos and video.
Thailand's big geckos or Tokay are rare compared to the small house geckos but still can be seen inside and outside buildings. During day they hide in cool places such as under the roof line of the Thai Houses. Tokays have bumpy thick skin that is bluish gray in color with orange spots or they can have white stripes on the body. A fully-grown Tokay can be as big as 40 cm long. They are often heard more than seen, having a loud guttural mating call.
In their Sattahip facility, south of Pattaya and within Chon Buri Province (about 160 km southeast of Bangkok), the Royal Thai Navy operates a Sea Turtle Conservation Center. The center is on the shores of Ao Dong Tan (beach area on the Thai Gulf). The facility employs a number of full-time staff to operate the facility fulltime which serves the purpose of public education as well as captive-rearing and release of turtle hatchlings and the care of sick or injured turtles until they can be released back into the open waters of the Gulf.
The center primary goals are to provide education on conservation and the value of natural resources in the Thai Gulf. The center also conducts research into turtle behaviour and serves as a breeding center for green turtles and hawksbill turtles.
Hatchings are raised and kept for public display in a series of shaded tanks. Each tank holds turtles of different ages. The Center has holds periodic ceremonial releases of sea turtles old enough to survive on their own in the wild. The releases have attracted a lot of media attendtion in the past. While I was at the center I learned the turtles are released two important time of the year, around the Queen’s birthday (August 12th) and the Kings birthday (December 5th). For Exact release dates I advice you contact the center directly (contact information found in their Facebook Page) and plan ahead to participate in this important event. Here is a Web link with more information.
Thailand's love of the monkey is probably best illustrated by the epic tale of the Ramakien. The Ramakien is a myth of genuinely historic proportions, but the main story concerns Prince Rama and his search for his beloved wife, Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by an evil ten-headed demon called Ravana. Throughout the story our hero is aided by monkeys and most notably the magical white-faced monkey-general Hanuman and his army. With Hanuman's help Prince Rama successfully defeats Ravana and rescues Princess Sita. The Ramakien portrays the monkey as being helpful, clever and brave and this may explain why their image adorns temples, paintings, carvings, ceremonial barges and even helps to support traffic signals.
Monkeys live freely in the jungles and on beaches, but they can also be found in towns, temples and parks. So if you visit Thailand, even for a brief holiday, it is likely that you encounter a troop or two on your travels. The monkeys in Thailand can be quite fascinating to observe but caution is warranted. They can be quite mischievous, especially if you are hold food or something sweet. The wilder monkeys found in the forests aren't used to people and so can be aggressive if approached, but those found in temples and parks will not be scared and will cheekily grab food from you (if you let them!).
I have personally had a monkey jump on my head while taking their photos as well as had a soda taken out of my hand. I just remained calm and acted like I was unafraid. The majority of visitors that come to Thailand and encounter monkeys do not have problems. Don’t be afraid if you do see them and if you don’t bother them, they are likely not to bother you. Here is some advice on what to do when you do encounter monkeys:
Rayong, Thailand is full of great wildlife to photo, including cool dragonflies and butterflies, monkeys, and ocean birds. Thailand Rayong's Province has a great mix of sandy and craggy coast line making it a perfect area for a large array of coastal creatures.
I added the photo of the pig i saw at a Rayong Temple because i thought it was funny...
Thailand is home to a wide variety of wildlife due to its diversity in climate from north to Southern Thailand. This tries to present a glimpse of this wildlife.
Bangkok's 9 Royal Temples
Bangkok Must Sees
Exploring Thailand's Nature
Islands of the Thai Gulf
Thailand's Royal Palaces
Thailand and World War 2
Explore Chiang Rai
Explore Chiang Mai