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Last 300 rai of protected forest fenced off on ‘Monkey Hill’

Last 300 rai of protected forest fenced off on ‘Monkey Hill’

PHUKET: Three hundred rai have been fenced off and marked ‘Protected Forest’ on Khao Toh Sae in Phuket Town to ensure the natural beauty of the popular natural attraction is preserved.

By Nattha Thepbamrung

Saturday 4 March 2023, 09:00AM

The move comes amid growing concern among local residents that much of the remaining green area on the tallest hill in Phuket Town is under threat.

The hill is often called ‘Monkey Hill’ by locals due to the large troupe of monkeys that live there and the stunning view of Phuket Bay that together attract many tourists and local residents alike.

Krich Thepbamrung, the head of Toh Sae Hill Walking Club, which has more than 200 members, explained to The Phuket News that ‘for decades’ a sign posted on the hill by the Phuket Forestry Office confirmed that about 600 rai on the hill was protected forest.

However, the sign was removed and only through a project to mark off the remaining forest did the group learn that the remaining protected forest measured some 300 rai.

The move to install a fence around the remaining protected forest is a joint initiative by Phuket office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE Phuket), Phuket Provincial Forestry Office, Charoen Samanakij Temple which is located on the hill, and the Toh Sae Hill Walking Club.

It was only while measuring the land in order to install the fence did local residents learn just how little protected forest area was left, Mr Krich explained.

One of the main supporters of the fence project, Thendon Thamrangsri, Associate Justice of Phuket Juvenile and Family Court, explained that impetus to install the fence came from 15 rai on the hill being encroached on last year.

An individual fenced off the 15 rai, which is located behind Charoen Samanakij Temple, and built two houses on it, Mr Thendon said.

“The case was closed and the encroacher was arrested and the houses were demolished,” he noted.


The Director of Forest Resource Management Office 12, Krabi Branch, Somchai Nuchananonthep, told The Phuket News with certainty that in the past the protected forest on Monkey Hill measured about 600 rai.

Internal - Phuket News TV

However, part of the area was given to the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO) as well as the Phuket Provincial office of the Treasury Department, he said.

The Treasury Department is the standard government department for legal possession of government properties that have not been assigned to specific departments to use.

Mr Somchai this week was in Bangkok attending a conference, and said that he would have to return to his office in Krabi to look into the history of the land.

“The PPAO asked the Forestry Office in the past to use some of the land for a public sports area, and another piece of the land was given to the Treasury Office ‒ but I have to check how many rai of land were given to each office and what were the conditions under which the land was provided,” he said.

Mr Somchai added that he will come to Phuket early this month to discuss the issue of the disappearing ‘protected forest’ with Phuket forestry officials.


“The fence is needed to protect the ‘urban forest’ of the hill,” said walking club chief Mr Krich.

The club became involved in the installing the fence through a project by Charoen Samanakij Temple, located on the hill, he said.

The temple aimed to plant saplings on the hill to help preserve the natural forest, Mr Krich explained.

“Local officials, the temple and all of the club’s members agreed that we should put up the fence to mark the boundaries because it would be useless if we planted trees and the land kept getting encroached on,” he said.

Work on installing the boundary fence began mid-last year, and is now completed, Mr Krich confirmed.

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Kurt | 05 March 2023 - 10:31:56

50% of Monkey Hill forest gone, under the eyes of every Phuket Official who has to protect Phuket forest. Where were they to prevent this? This is not a overnight thing. So, now we go to put fences all over Phuket remaining forests? As or that will stop encroachers. Who probably get the keys of the fence gates.

JohnC | 05 March 2023 - 09:00:06

What about the rest of Phuket's 'protected' forests that are being slowly raped by greedy developers and their corrupt partners in gov departments? The Thai workers who built my home used to joke that Phuket will sink one day if they keep up this current rate of development and construction. Not so far off the truth really. It already s(t)inks.

Fascinated | 04 March 2023 - 12:24:30

Follow the money and get ALL the land back.


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