Spent a morning a few weeks ago at Bang Pae Waterfall and the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre inside Khao Pra Thaew National Park. The Park is 25 km north of downtown Phuket and 20 km southeast of the Phuket Airport. There are toilets and a few restaurants at the entrance to the park. The waterfall is a short three hundred metres inside the park. An easy walk over stairs, roots and mud in the wet season. The path follows the river and there are several nice, small pools for taking a quick dip. At 15 metres, Bang Pae Waterfall is the highest waterfall on the island of Phuket. Worth the short walk to get there.
Just past the toilets inside the park is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre – the haunting, exuberant calls of these there are some fun facts, souvenirs for purchase, and of course the enclosures with the gibbons. The Centre has 24 gibbons in rehab or sanctuary at the moment and has released about forty to date. Some are permanent residents due to various reasons. A few are unable to survive in the wild on their own due to too much humanization or physical/mental disabilities. And one gibbon even has chosen to come back after being released five or six times.
The short hike is nice, but very short. And, seeing the gibbons and hearing them is magical. I definitely recommend a visit – take a lunch, sunscreen, and lots of water for the sweaty, humid Phuket weather (and a rain jacket if you’re going in the rainy season) and be prepared to send a few hours. Hike the hike, see the gibbons, read their story and even shop in the little gift shop. Your 200THB park entrance fee doesn’t go to the centre, but to the Thailand National Parks. A donation or purchase will help out these primates with the haunting singing.