If you are a nature lover and a true explorer at heart, Thailand is one of the most interesting places to visit on Planet Earth. The Kingdom’s earth-shattering beauty is one of its main selling points in terms of tourism. If you want to explore one of the most untapped areas and national parks in Thailand, visiting Khao Yai National park is an absolute must!
Khao Yai National park is easily one of the most famous and popular national parks in Thailand and is home to lots of interesting wildlife and flora and fauna. The park was first established back in 1962 and is widely known as Thailand’s first-ever national park. Most of the park is located in the Nakhon Ratchasima Province but also seeps over to Saraburi, Prachinburi, Khao Yai and Nakhon Nayok.
Khao Yai National Park Info
Stretching over a vast area of 2,168 kilometers squared, Khao Yai National Park is also home to the Khao Rom mountain, which is the largest in the park at 1,351 meters high. You will find average altitudes in the park ranging from 40 to 1,000 meters in height.
One of the most interesting places in the park is the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, which enjoys the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stretches over 5 protected areas into Cambodia. Some of the most famous and protected areas in the park include Thap Lan National park, Pang Sida National Park, Dong Yai National Wildlife Sanctuary and Ta Phraya National park.
Wildlife at Khao Yai National Park
If you are an animal lover, visiting the park is an absolute must. You can see a vast array of animals, insects and birds living in the park’s natural habitat. When visiting the park, it is usual to see a variety of deer such as barking and sambar deer varieties. Other plentiful animal species in the park include elephants, gibbons, macaques, civets and porcupines.
Although those aforementioned animals are standard in the park, there are also some other rare species that you might get to see such as otters, dholes, bears and jackals. At one time, you might have gotten to see a tiger, but they haven’t been spotted in the park for a long time. There used to be some Siamese Crocodiles in the park, but they do not inhabit these areas any longer.
If you are an avid bird watcher, Khao Yai National Park is home to about 300 different bird species, both resident and migratory. Did you know that the park is home to the largest population of Hornbills?
Come along to check out a wide variety of bird species that include drongos, magpies, broadbills, barbets, scarlet minivets, Asian fairy bluebirds, trogons, pittas, mountain scops owls, woodpeckers and many many more. It really is a bird-watching paradise. If you are coming to the park to see the birds, we would recommend that you visit during the dryer times of the year from November to March. March and April are great because it’s a major bird migration time of the year.
Are you a fan of reptiles and snakes? If so, Khao Yai National Park is the ideal place to visit. The park is home quite a variety of snakes such as pythons, the Chinese rat-snake, the Ahaetulla prasina and the Chinese water dragon. There other lizard species in the park as well.
Visiting Khao Yai Park Details
Khao Yai National Park is also the kind of place you can visit for a full day to explore its stunning beauty. The park is open from 6am to 6pm every day of the week, although if your vehicle is already parked in the grounds of Khao Yai, you can leave later than 6pm. We would recommend you visit on weekdays if possible to avoid the masses that visit the park on the weekends. If you want a peaceful experience, we would suggest you give the park a miss on bank and public holidays.
You can find the main entrance to the northwest of the park near to the city of Pak Chong, which is in the Nakhon Ratchasima part of the park. There is another entrance to the south of the park at Nakhon Nayok.
Entrance fees to the park cost 400 THB per adult and 200 THB per child, although if you have a Thai driving license or a Thai student card, you can gain entrance for Thai prices. If you camp in the park or are staying at one of the bungalows, the entrance fee covers 3 days and nights in total.
Getting to Khao Yai National Park
Although most people visit Khao Yai National park via a car or taxi, or with a tour excursion company, there are numerous ways to find the park. As the park is one of the most popular and visited natural habitats in Thailand, it’s setup to deal with visitors. You can find the park Visitor Center just 13km from the northern checkpoint area.
If you are looking for a cheap way to get to the park, using public transport is definitely an option. It is possible to reach Khao Yai from Bangkok via public transport, but please note that the main attractions are 14km into the park and if you have no means of transport, it can make things more difficult as there is no public transport in the park itself.
A good recommendation is to take a minivan taxi from Bangkok to Pak Chong city and from there you can get a Songtaew to the northerly checkpoint inside the park. It can take around 4 to 5 hours to get from Bangkok to Khao Yai. Taking private taxis from Bangkok to Khao Yai can cost in the region of 2,500 THB.
Staying at the Park
Although there are numerous guesthouses that can be found in the vicinity to the national park area, and a load of hotels nearby, you can also camp inside the park’s grounds. If you book a fully inclusive tour of the park, they usually include one of these aforementioned hotels or guesthouses and that will simplify the experience.
There are some bungalows you can rent in the park that cost in the range of 800 THB for 2 people, or you can take the 8-berth options for 2,400 THB. If you want to visit the park in a large group, bungalow prices will cost 9,000 THB for 20 people. There are also two campsites in the park where you can either bring your own tents or rent them for a nominal fee.
Khao Yai National Park Attractions
There are so many things to see and do in Khao Yai National Park. There are several waterfalls that can be accessed via walkways. Two of the most visited and impressive waterfalls at the park include Haew Nerok Waterfall, which is one of the most stunning, and Haew Suwat Waterfall that is located approximately 8km from the visitor center.
Inside the park itself, there are lots of amenities close to the visitor center such as a restaurant, and toilet facilities. There is also another restaurant near to the Lam Takong Camp area, but please be warned that it is not always open and there are only snacks available when it is.
When it comes to stunning natural beauty, impressive waterfalls and a vast plethora of wildlife, insects, flora and fauna, Khao Yai National park is simply stunning. If you are backpacking through Thailand and want to camp to cut down on costs, we would highly recommend two or three nights here.
Khao Yai National Park is one of the most interesting and popular national parks in Thailand, so make sure you have it in your itinerary.
Khao Yai National Park
Address: Hin Tung, Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok 26000, Thailand
GPS: 14.439279, 101.372914