My friends and I took a trip to the Mangrove Forest Conservation and Study Centre for Eco-Tourism. It is located just outside of Chonburi city near to the weekend dark market on Moo3 , Tambon Samet.
It is an interesting place with an elevated walkway which weaves 2.3 km around the reserve. In some places the walkway is damaged and some of the planks of wood are missing so you have to be careful where you tread.
All around are mangrove trees all different sizes-some of which have been newly planted so this area’s contribution to eco-tourism is ongoing.
There are resident mudskippers- prehistoric-like creatures that are perfectly happy in and out of water. They are amphibious fish but they use their pectoral fins to walk on water. I thought these animals were small but the ones that live in the reserve can grow to 9.5 cm. They skim across the water coming into land on a tree trunk that has fallen into the water. If disturbed they go splashing back into the water making such a noise that you may well think that there is a bigger critter lurking. There is other marine life there as well such as fiddler crabs and blood cockles and there are signs to tell you what lives in the different little pools as you walk around.
There are plenty of birds and also a colony of fruit bats. They were hanging from the trees like vampires getting ready to go off and hunt. They have a huge wing span and if you are lucky enough to see them leave the trees all at once it is a sight to see.
The water there is a mix of fresh and salt water and a murky brown colour, just the right habitat for the mangroves and the animals that live here to flourish.
There were not many people there when my friends and I went so it was quite an eerie atmosphere. It was so quiet with only nature’s sounds surrounding you.
There is supposed to be 10 baht entrance fee but we didn’t pay anything. I think it may depend on the day you visit. It is open daily from 8.30am to 6.30pm.
If you want to escape the city just for a little while then this centre is a lovely place to visit.