The Forest

Don Chao Poo Forest, Phana, Amnat Charoen Province,Thailand

Where it is

On the edge of Phana, a small district town in the lower north-east of Thailand, 45 kms from Amnat Charoen, the provincial capital, and 60 kms from Ubon Ratchathani.

What it is

Don Chao Poo is a protected forest / monkey sanctuary.

The forest is also the ‘home’ of the village’s guardian spirit, Chao Poo,
founder of the village 300 years ago. The forest is regarded as a sacred place
– religious and municipal ceremonies are held there – and the monkeys
(long-tailed macaques) are seen as the ‘children of Chao Poo’ and so are
revered, fed and protected.

However monkeys are not the only wildlife you will find in Don Chao Poo. Monitor Lizards are much shier than the monkeys, but can be seen if you know where and when to look. Even more wary are the Indochinese ground squirrels. As  their name suggests, they live mostly on the ground and in the dense undergrowth but can sometimes be seen feeding in the open.

Thanks to that, The Don Chao Poo forest is an interesting area for research. Especially in animal behaviour.

Why it is an attractive place

Local people visit Don Chao Poo Forest for many different reasons: to pay their respects to Chao Poo, to reflect on the life of the Buddha, to feed the monkeys.

Don Chao Poo Forest is also the focus for communal celebrations and events such as the Songkran Water Festivak, and an annual meditation retreat by monks and lay people.

But for many people, visitors and locals, the main attraction is the monkeys. These long-tailed macaques are wild but they live in close proximity to the local people.

Learn more about Don Chao Poo Forest at