8 must-visit national parks in Thailand

PHOTO: Khao Sok National Park via Unsplash

Thailand is definitely a land of magic, as its many national parks clearly don’t disappoint even the most experienced travellers. With caves, waterfalls, jungles, lakes, and wildlife, anyone can take part in a journey to see the country’s natural environment. Each national park in Thailand, which spans every region, has something unique to offer. Try the marine parks in southern Thailand if you’re looking for a little bit more water.

For tourists who want to experience the nightlife set amidst a vast array of wildlife, camping at these national parks offers an incredible experience. From elephants to leopards, travellers can try out their luck in seeing these beautiful creatures that grace the parks with their existence. Trekking up a hill, only to take a dip in emerald green pools, is surely to spice up your schedule, as hot jungle day trips are sure to be rewarded with some rest and relaxation.

1. Khao Sam Roi Yot

PHOTO: Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park Thailand via Unsplash
PHOTO: Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park Thailand via Unsplash

Address: Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is definitely one for adventure seekers, as climbing a cliff is the one way to see its stunningly beautiful views. So, put on your hiking boots and get ready for a challenge. Don’t worry, however, if you aren’t into steep trekking, as a boat will take you to the Phraya Nakhon Cave’s opening. The cave marks the beginning of the park and is covered in striking stalagmites. With trees grow from their core, making it a breathtaking experience.

As the national park’s name means a mountain with 300 peaks, it was the first coastal national park in Thailand. The marine park has splendid, panoramic sea views along with limestone hills. Located about 3 hours from Bangkok, the park doesn’t disappoint, even for avid hikers.

2. Namtok Phlio

Namtok Phlio National Park Thailand
PHOTO: Namtok Phlio National Park via Wikimedia Commons

Address: Namtok Phlio National Park, Tambon Phlio, Amphoe Lam Sing, Chanthaburi, Thailand

Just outside the eastern province of Chanthaburi, lies Namtok Phlio National Park. Here, you will most definitely find emerald green pools and jungles featuring plenty of wildlife. The park is popular among locals, without many foreigners. Don’t forget, however, to bring your swimsuit as you will find many Thais taking a dip in one of the many pools available to cool you off.

On your way to the park, you will see many food stalls in which you can stock up on some yummy treats for your journey. Bungalows are also available to rent if you want to really experience nature at nightfall. Other things to enjoy include the many stupas and chedis from King Rama V. The park’s main attraction is the waterfall, Phlio, where you can find many carp .

3. Tha Pom Khlong Song

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PHOTO: Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam National Park

Address: Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam, Moo 2 Ban Nong Chik, Khao Khram, Thailand

Located near Krabi Province in southern Thailand, is where Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam National Park can be found. The name, which means, “Two Water Canal” in English, features crystal-clear canals along a wooden path, complemented by mangrove trees, that takes visitors deeper into the park.

The meaning of the park’s name is due to the seawater mixing with freshwater flowing from the mountains nearby. You can see its emerald green water during high tide, while low tide brings clear water. The coolest activity in this park is to take the 700-metre walking trail in which you can see 4 different types of forests.

4. Khao Sok

PHOTO: Khao Sok National Park Thailand via Unsplash
PHOTO: Khao Sok National Park via Unsplash

Address: Khao Sok National Park, Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand

Located on the mainland between Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi and Koh Samui, this park is one of the most popular destinations due to its convenient location. Additionally, the park features limestone cliffs, a more famous feature of Thailand’s landscape. But, that’s not all the park has to offer. With thick rain forests, lakes, waterfalls and an abundance of sightseeing, there are many activities that can entertain visitors for days.

With jungle trekking, canoeing, camping, and up-close elephant encounters, the park offers some of the more exciting experiences when travelling. You can find floating raft houses in the park’s magical Cheow Larn Lake, located in the heart of the park. With plenty of things to do and see, make sure you plan at least a couple of days to take in Khao Sok National Park.

5. Khao Yai

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PHOTO: Khao Yai National Park via Pixabay

Address: Tambon Mu Si, Chang Wat Nakhon Ratchasima, 26000, Thailand

This national park was Thailand’s first, as it was established in 1962. It was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and its wildlife is, indeed, impressive. The park is the third-largest in Thailand and it mainly inhabits the eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima but extends into Prachinburi, Saraburi, and Nakhon Nayok provinces.

Visitors to Khao Yai can expect to see elephants, bears, birds, and other exotic mammals. Moreover, its reptile fauna consists of 85 species, including the Chinese Water Dragon. The main entrance is at the north of the park with the nearest town being Pak Chong in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Plan to rent a car or motorbike as the park’s size is not one for even the most avid of walkers.

6. Pha Taem National Park Thailand

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PHOTO: Pha Taem National Park

Address: Huai Phai, Ubon Ratchathani, 34220, Thailand

This national parks border the neighbouring country of Laos and are a great place to view the Mekong River. The view of the river is spectacular, along with the natural beauty adorning the park. If you are looking for a bit of history, this park has designs, handprints, and animals drawings that are thought to be around 3,000 years old. The designs tell a story, making the experience quite unique.

The park is in Ubon Ratchathani Province, in northeast Thailand and is situated across the river from the Phou Xieng Thong National Protected Area in Laos. Pha Taem is famous for its Dipterocarp forest cover, mushroom rocks, and the largest flower field in Thailand. Moreover, the park is a popular destination in which to see the New Year’s first sunshine to fall on the country.

7. Erawan National Park

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PHOTO: Erawan Falls via Pixabay

Address: Tha Kradan, Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi 71250, Thailand

Located about an hour outside of Kanchanaburi city, Erawan National Park is not one to be missed. As its name means a 3-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology, its 7-tiered falls are said to resemble the erawan. The park has 4 caves, along with emerald green pools. As it is one of the more popular parks to visit, it is best to visit the park during the week to avoid crowds.

However, if you are looking to stay more than 1 day at the park, bungalows are available to rent, making it possible to take in the sights at night. You can see many types of mammals at Erawan, and it is a good idea to bring hiking boots for more treacherous trails and caves. Another notable feature of the park is the breast-shaped hill, named Khao Nom Nang.

8.Kaeng Krachan National Park

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PHOTO: Kaeng Krachan National Park via Pixabay

Address: Kaeng Krachan, Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi 76170, Thailand

This national park sits along with the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve along the Myanmar border, in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces. Interestingly, both the Pran Buri and Phetchaburi rivers start from within the park. Kaeng Krachan offers, perhaps, the most diverse wildlife, including elephants, leopards and monkeys. However, the park is very popular for those wanting to experience its wildlife. It’s also a popular spot for camping and hiking. Furthermore, it boasts spectacular viewpoints for sea of mist.

The park offers a few medium size waterfalls and some smaller caves, with travel being possible by minivan. We recommend hiring a guide or minivan to take you deep into the park where the most beautiful scenery lies. There, you can go camping at the Baan Krang or Phanoen Thung campsites, where your experience is likely to be unforgettable.

Thailand definitely features some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. They all offer memorable experiences of wildlife, flora, and fauna. If you are lucky, viewing some of the world’s endangered species, like the elephants, and leopards, will grace your itinerary. As the parks consist mostly of jungles, caves, and waterfalls, pack lightly as your treks will be challenging, but also absolutely amazing!

Need a weekend gateway to immerse yourself in Thailand’s natural beauty? Check out these beautiful nature near Bangkok.

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