Thailand's first National Park is also its second largest, and certainly one of its best! Khao Yai National Park spreads to four different provinces with the bulk of its 2,100 square kilometers in Nakhon Ratchasima. The park has a variety of terrains from deciduous forest to savannah and houses some 3,000 species of plant. Wildlife in the park is as varied as its terrain and it is home to around 200 wild elephants. The park also houses tigers, gibbons, bears, deer, bats, wild pigs, and a major bird population including a wide variety of hornbills.
The park is 400 meters above sea level and as a result reasonably cool all year round. During the winter season, the temperatures can drop to 4 degrees Celsius. Because of its cool conditions Khao Yai's 50 kilometers of hiking trails are a favorite and the park receives a lot of birdwatchers. The park also sports some breathtaking waterfalls and the best time to see them is the rainy season from May to October. The 80-metre-high Hew Suwat Waterfall is particularly a favorite of visitors.
Details: The admission fee for the park is 200 Baht for adults and 100 Baht for children. Rangers can act as guides for 200 Baht a day, which is a good idea as the trails can be a bit confusing. The park is open during the rainy season, and if you intend to do some hiking then you should take raingear and leech preparations. Booking accommodation in the park can get difficult. It might be best to stay at surrounding hotels and resorts and jaunt into Khao Yai on day trips.
Tel: +66 3731 9002
How to get there: Khao Yai National Park is located around 200 kilometers from Bangkok and is easily accessible by bus and car. However, with accommodation, etc. there might be a lot to organize. A number of tour companies provide both accommodation and tours of the park and this might be the best approach, especially if you have children.