A visitor’s guide to Khao Yai National Park

Stock photo via Itinari

Khao Yai National Park was established in 1962 as the country’s first national park. It was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and its wildlife is understandably impressive. From rare elephant sightings to bats and birds, visiting this beautiful park is a great place to see wildlife. Below, we have the best things to do and see in the park, which promises to be an awesome adventure for nature-lovers.

5 Best Things To Do In Khao Yai National Park

1. Wildlife Watching

Khao Yai’s wildlife is why so many people choose to visit as over 70 mammal species can be found within the park. Thus, such things as pig-tailed macaques, Asian black bears and sun bears, water monitors, clouded leopards, king cobras, pythons, and many colourful birds can all be seen. Wild elephants are, perhaps, the most popular thing to try to see, as the park is known for being one of the best places to find them. About 300 elephants call the park their home. Additionally, visitors can hire a guide that will take them to the areas in which the elephants congregate the most.

Moreover, wild animals can be seen from the Nong Pak Chi tower during the morning and evening. However, hiking through the jungle remains the best option for bird-watching as the park is home to 4 species of hornbills, pelicans, banded kingfisher, and others.

Related news
Encounter wild elephants in Thailand's Khao Yai National Park
PHOTO: Wildlife in Khao Yai National Park

2. Haew Narok and Haew Suwat Waterfalls

A Khao Yai visit certainly won’t be complete unless you witness its waterfalls’ ultimate beauty. Thus, Haew Narok is the most popular choice as it is the highest waterfall in the park. Here, elephants can often be seen as they love the area. Additionally, Haew Suwat is another waterfall that film buffs love as it was featured in the movie The Beach.

Nam Tok Pa Kluai is also a beautiful waterfall as it is known for its colourful orchids that surround the rocks. Moreover, Nam Tok Haeo Prathun and Nam Tok Haeo Sai are also gorgeous waterfalls although on a smaller scale.

Weekend in Thailand: Hiking in Khao Yai to Haew Narok waterfall
PHOTO: Haew Narok

3. Trekking

Khao Yai is a hiking lover’s dream as more than 50 km of hiking trails go through the park. Hikers can cross over grasslands, jungles, and up to waterfalls. The park actively promotes 6 of those trails as being the safest to go on, although more experienced hikers can try them all.

Moreover, the trails’ variety is something that benefits hikers as they can choose from a 1.2 km bird-watching trek or a 3.3 km trek that leads to the Nong Pak Chi observation. At Nong Pak, visitors will find that it is the best place to spot elephants in the wild in the early morning or late afternoon. Furthermore, the 8 km, 5-hour long trek to the Haew Suwat waterfall is the ultimate experience that requires a park ranger guide.

Jungle Trekking in Khao Yai National Park - The Lost Passport
PHOTO: Jungle Trekking

4. Whitewater Rafting

During the rainy season, the Sai Yai River offers amazing class 4 and 5 rapids. Therefore, to go whitewater rafting, you need to visit the park between June and October. The multi-level course has 6 rapids ranging from a Class 2 row through islets and falls to a Class 5 that requires detailed navigation through rocky crevices and wild waves. These rapids can only be attempted with a guide and a safety briefing is mandatory before going.

Pak Chong is the best town to arrive at for attempting rapids, as it is about 200 km away from Bangkok. When you arrive, you can find a local bus to take you closer to the park, which takes about 40 mins. However, you can also hire a local taxi to bring you directly to the park’s entrance.

A visitor's guide to Khao Yai National Park | News by Thaiger
Photo via tourismthailand.org

5. Khao Laem and Khao Khiau Viewpoints

Visitors can hike to several peaks for a great view and a wonderful photo opportunity. Thus, climbing Khao Laem is the most popular choice as it features the highest mountains. Thus, its 1,328-metre-high peak features amazing sights. And, for a bit higher peak, travellers can climb to the Khao Khiau or Green Mountain for a beautiful view at 1,350 metres.

Both peaks can also be climbed during a day tour. However, visitors need not worry about not being able to make the climb as they are marked according to their difficulty levels. Moreover, certain mountains can only be climbed with a guide, as safety is kept in mind.

PHOTO: Animal in Khao Yai National Park by Hongbin from Unsplash
PHOTO: Animal in Khao Yai National Park by Hongbin from Unsplash

Visitors to Khao Yai can take part in trekking, wildlife watching, waterfalls, whitewater rafting and other things that are sure to make your holiday quite memorable. However, don’t forget to take mosquito repellant and a first aid kit as the jungle is in charge. Additionally, if you are planning to stay the night, the park has several options. Here, you can see the night stars or join a night safari!

Check out for a local edition and also check out our partner’s website ‘Agoda‘ to find the best hotel for your trip.

Things To Do

Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Related Articles