If you’re looking for an escape from the bustling cities of Thailand, Khao Yai National Park is a perfect destination for nature lovers. With over 2,000 square kilometers of unspoiled wilderness, this protected area is home to an impressive variety of flora and fauna, stunning waterfalls, and breathtaking views. In this article, we will explore Khao Yai National Park in detail, including its history, attractions, and practical tips for visiting.
Introduction: Why Visit Khao Yai National Park?
Khao Yai National Park is one of the largest and most popular national parks in Thailand, located in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, just a few hours’ drive from Bangkok. With its lush jungles, winding rivers, and scenic mountains, Khao Yai is a true paradise for nature enthusiasts.
Whether you’re interested in hiking, wildlife watching, or just enjoying the serenity of nature, Khao Yai National Park has something for everyone. From stunning waterfalls to exotic animals like elephants, tigers, and gibbons, you’ll be amazed by the natural wonders of this park.
History and Geology of Khao Yai National Park
Established in 1962, Khao Yai National Park was the first national park in Thailand. The park is located in the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range, which is part of the larger Dong Phaya Yen Mountains. The terrain in the park is hilly, with elevations ranging from 400 to 1,400 meters above sea level.
The park’s geology is dominated by a series of ridges and valleys, with granite and sandstone formations throughout. These formations have eroded over time, creating an intricate system of caves, waterfalls, and natural springs.
Wildlife in Khao Yai National Park
One of the main attractions of Khao Yai National Park is its incredible diversity of wildlife. The park is home to over 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds, and 67 species of mammals, including several endangered species such as tigers, Asian elephants, and gaurs.
Visitors to the park may also have the chance to spot exotic animals such as gibbons, macaques, and civets. For bird enthusiasts, Khao Yai is a great place to see hornbills, eagles, and a variety of migratory species.
Top Attractions in Khao Yai National Park
There are many attractions to see and explore in Khao Yai National Park, from majestic waterfalls to historical landmarks. Here are some of the must-see sights in the park:
Haew Suwat Waterfall
Haew Suwat Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Thailand, thanks in part to its appearance in the movie “The Beach.” This 20-meter-high waterfall is located in the western part of the park and is surrounded by lush forest
Khao Yai Art Museum
The Khao Yai Art Museum is a unique attraction in the park, showcasing contemporary art inspired by nature and the surrounding area. The museum is located in a stunning setting, surrounded by gardens and a lake, and features works by both Thai and international artists.
Nong Pak Chi Wildlife Sanctuary
Nong Pak Chi Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to observe the park’s diverse wildlife, including elephants, gaurs, and sambar deer. The sanctuary is also home to a variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching.
The Greenery Viewpoint
For panoramic views of the park’s lush greenery, head to The Greenery Viewpoint. This viewpoint is located on top of a hill and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The Prachinburi River
The Prachinburi River is a great spot for kayaking or rafting, with several tour companies offering trips down the river. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to see wildlife such as water monitors and river otters, as well as stunning scenery.
Hiking and Trekking in Khao Yai National Park
With its vast network of trails, Khao Yai National Park is a paradise for hikers and trekkers. There are trails for all skill levels, from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks. Some popular hiking trails in the park include:
- Khao Khieo Viewpoint Trail: A 2.5-kilometer trail that leads to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the park.
- Khao Laem Trail: A 7.5-kilometer trail that takes you through lush jungle to a viewpoint overlooking the Khao Yai valley.
- Khao Rom Trail: A 3-kilometer trail that leads to a picturesque waterfall and a natural swimming pool.
Practical Tips for Visiting Khao Yai National Park
Before you visit Khao Yai National Park, there are a few practical tips to keep in mind:
Khao Yai National Park is located about 175 kilometers northeast of Bangkok. The easiest way to get there is by car or taxi, although there are also bus and train options available. Once you’re at the park, you can rent a bicycle or motorbike to get around.
There is an entrance fee to enter Khao Yai National Park, which varies depending on your nationality and the time of year. As of 2023, the fee for foreigners is 400 baht for adults and 200 baht for children.
There are several accommodation options within Khao Yai National Park, including campsites, guesthouses, and resorts. If you’re planning to stay overnight, be sure to book in advance, especially during peak season.
When visiting Khao Yai National Park, it’s important to stay safe and be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid hiking alone, and stick to marked trails. Be aware of wildlife and keep a safe distance from any animals you encounter. And be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as well as insect repellent.
Khao Yai National Park is a true natural treasure, offering visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in the beauty of Thailand’s wilderness. From stunning waterfalls to exotic wildlife to breathtaking views, there’s something for everyone in this park. So why not plan a trip to Khao Yai National Park and experience it for yourself?
Book your Thailand transport Online
- Can I visit Khao Yai National Park year-round? Yes, the park is open year-round. However, the best time to visit is from November to February when
- Are there any restrictions on hiking in Khao Yai National Park? Yes, some trails may be closed during certain times of the year, and visitors must stick to marked trails for safety reasons. It’s also important to be aware of wildlife and keep a safe distance.
- What kind of accommodation options are available in Khao Yai National Park? There are a variety of accommodation options available, including campsites, guesthouses, and resorts. It’s best to book in advance, especially during peak season.
- Is it possible to see tigers in Khao Yai National Park? While tigers are rare and elusive, there have been sightings of these majestic animals in Khao Yai National Park. However, visitors should always keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid disturbing their natural habitat.
- Can I swim in the waterfalls in Khao Yai National Park? Swimming is allowed in some of the waterfalls in Khao Yai National Park, but visitors should always be cautious and follow any safety signs or guidelines. It’s also important to be mindful of the environment and avoid leaving any trash or litter behind.