The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Khao Yai National Park was Thailand’s first national park, located in the Panom Dongrak Mountains. It includes forests, grasslands, and a variety of animals and bird life. As it’s just a couple of hours from Bangkok, visiting the park is an easy way to experience Thailand’s natural side.
Khao Yai National Park is part of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its diverse wildlife—including elephants, tigers, deer, snakes, monkeys, hornbills, and more—and beautiful scenery, this large park is a favorite of nature and outdoor lovers. There are walking trails, waterfalls, and watchtowers, and it’s a particularly exciting place for keen bird watchers.
The park can be visited independently, but many visitors like to take a guided tour, to fit a lot into a single day while learning about the park. Both hiking and general sightseeing trips are available as single-day or multi-day tours that include other destinations throughout Thailand.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There’s an entry fee for international visitors.
- As the park is in the mountains, the altitude ranges from 1,300-3,300 feet (400-1,000 meters). Visitors should be prepared for different temperatures.
- Camping and bungalow accommodation is available in the park, and there are many hotels and bed-and-breakfasts just outside.
- Walking along many of the roads in the park is not permitted, so it’s preferable to take your own vehicle or join a guided tour.
- There are some food outlets within the park, but it’s advisable to bring a picnic and snacks.
How to Get There
The park is a 2.5-hour drive northeast of Bangkok. It can be reached by minivan or bus from Bangkok to Pak Chong, but this is still several miles from the information center in the park. Taking an organized tour is the quickest and easiest way to get there.
When to Get There
The park is very popular, so it can get busy during weekends and public holidays. Avoid visiting at these times for a more peaceful experience. The park is usually open from 6am until 6pm daily.
Visit Kaeng Krachan National Park
Travelers who want to experience more of Thailand’s nature should also visit the Kaeng Krachan National Park. This is the largest national park in the country, and is located in the Tanaosri Mountains. It’s full of birds and butterflies, and is famous for its beautiful misty vistas. Hiking in this park is best done with a guide.