Khao Yai National Park was Thailand’s first park as it was established in 1962. It was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and its wildlife is impressive. The park is the 3rd largest in Thailand and it mainly inhabits the eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima but extends into Prachinburi, Saraburi, and Nakhon Nayok provinces. Below, we have the best things to do and see in the park, which promises an awesome adventure for nature-lovers.
5 Best Things To Do In Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai is a hiking-lover’s dream as more than 50 kms 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 kms bird-watching trek or a 3.3 kms 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 kms, 5 hour long trek to the Haew Suwat waterfall is the ultimate experience that requires a park ranger guide.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Night Safaris
For those who truly want to experience wildlife at night, a night safari is the way to go as it offers the best chance of seeing nocturnal animals. Thus, jumping into the back of park rangers’ pickup trucks is an exciting adventure in the search for wildlife. Moreover, those who decide to do a night safari will enjoy the deer, spotted civets, snakes and more.
Thus, for travellers who may be afraid of the eerily quiet and dark jungle, this may be the excursion that will conquer your fears. Furthermore, seeing exotic nightlife will definitely make your trip more memorable. Night safaris start at 7 or 8 pm and last for about an hour.
5. Khao Laem and Khao Khiau Viewpoints
Visitors can hike to several peaks for a great view and wonderful photo opportunity. Thus, climbing Khao Laem is the most popular choice as it features the highest mountains. Thus, it’s 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 definitely kept in mind.
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.
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