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Tourist Destination: The butterfly effect
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    Tourist Destination: The butterfly effect

    The butterfly effect
    By PHOOWADON DUANGMEE
    THE NATION
    Published on June 8, 2011


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    Pangseeda National Park on the Cambodian border vibrates with the batting of butterfly wings

    The arrival of the rainy season in Sa Kaew's Pangseeda National Park brings with it swarms of butterflies of many different species, and to celebrate, the Seventh Butterfly Festival is being held this month and next.

    Visitors to the vast national park in the east of Thailand will have the opportunity to experience and photograph vibrant displays of species like the magpie crow, spotted sawtooth, the yellow-banded awl, banded blue pierrot and the chain swordtail.

    Among nature lovers, the popularity of butterfly watching is gaining ground on its cousin, birdwatching, and in Thailand it's becoming the "next big thing" in getting close to wildlife.

    Each weekend until the end of July, the park is hosting a variety of activities aimed at introducing visitors to the world of butterflies. Classes in butterfly photography and butterfly batik painting are on offer, as well as field trips and guidance on conservation. Leading lepidopterists will be on hand.

    A lush national park close to the Cambodian border, Pangseeda encompasses some 844 square kilometres of mountains and forested lowlands, and between summer and the rainy season is home to an estimated 350 species of butterflies.

    You don't need to be an entomologist to cherish the beauty of bugs. Gentle and angelic - the small butterflies hover above wildflowers and land to drink from rain puddles as their small and flimsy wings make them shimmy up and down like ballerinas with wings.

    The first butterfly you're likely to see in any great numbers is the swallow-tailed Papilionidae. At Larn Hin Dard, starting at Kilometre 6 on the Thung Krathing trail, you can expect to have anything from an orange-tail awl to a lemon emigrant cross your path.

    Those who've done their homework might recognise a gaudy baron, a kalib daeng, a prasao yai, Kaiser blue or koinu flutter by.

    Other species can be encountered right at the park's visitor centre and its surrounding campsite. They arrive each morning during the fruit harvest in April, drawn by the sugary ripened fruit.

    Further into the park at Pangseeda Waterfall, the parking area and trails up to the falls are usually garlanded with fluttering displays.

    Take a cool, refreshing walk along the banks of the Huay Nam Yen, which flows past Park Office 5, and there's a good chance you'll see rare species of the hesperiidae (skipper) family, including zigzag flats, spotted angels and scarce cateyes of the Nymphalidae (brush-footed) family.

    Lang Nam Sub at Kilometre 26 is an ideal spot to see butterflies thicken the air as they gather to feed.

    Here you can see blue gems, straight pierrots and common brownies of the Lycaenidae family.

    IF YOU GO

    Pangseeda National Park is tucked away in Sa Kaew province in Thailand's East. Two ordinary trains, with hard seats, depart Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Station to Sa Kaew daily at 5.55am and 1.05pm. Once in Sa Kaew, you could take a local bus (Sa Kaew - Baan Klong Namkhiaw) to Pangseeda National Park. The bus stands-by, waiting for passengers, at Sa Kaew market.

    Happy campers can pitch their tents at the national park - where they can spend a week-long vacation watching the butterflies, mountain biking or hiking along the evergreen forest trails.

    The "butterfly virgin" might need a guidbook to identify the butterflies around Pangseeda National Park. Look for aThai-language guidebook written by Sindhuyos Chandharalekha - the butterfly expert - at a bookshop in the national park.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Khun Don For This Useful Post:

    billyboy (09-06-11), visionchaser45 (08-06-11)

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