Spotlight on Thailand: Khao Yai National Park

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December and January are perfect months to visit Thailand. They sit in the middle of the “cool season” (cool being a relative term here!) You’ll avoid the sweltering heat of spring and the heavy rains of early fall. Our guide Swai joins our blog today to suggest you include a visit to one of Thailand’s national parks as part of your itinerary.

In Thailand, there are a lot of national parks of both historical and natural significance. Khao Yai National Park was one of the first to be recognized for its natural beauty and importance; it's also a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. The 2000km park area spans several provinces: Nakhon Ratchasima; Saraburi; Nakhon Nayok and Prachinburi, but the largest part is in Nakhon Ratchasima Province.

The national park sets a few simply rules for all visitors to follow: no loud noise; be aware of the surrounding environment, and never disturb any of the wildlife. There are a lot of types of native wildlife: many mammals (such as tigers, elephants, antelopes, bears, gibbons and more) but also many kinds of native birds as well as reptiles. The park also protects the headwaters of several major rivers, which converge in Khao Yai, making it a place of special beauty.

There are two main gateways entering into the national park, from the north at Pak Chong District and from the south at Prachinburi Province. Inside the park, there are some scenic stops to view waterfalls and also to walk the beautiful forest trails. There are five main trails for hiking and trekking: the 5.5km trail of the Natural Forest; the 3km trail of the Water of Life; the 3.5 km trail of the Love of Hornbills; the 3km trail of Gibbons at Khao Yai, and the last one being a longer 8km trail of Forest & River from the park office to Haeo Suwat Falls.

Before the sun sets in the park, thousands of cave bats fly out in groups to search for food. When dusk arrives, it’s a good time to spot the many types of wildlife that make their home here.

If you are staying in one of the nearby districts such as Pat Chong, Kaeng Khoi or Muak Lek, it’s easy to make a day trip to the park. Even if you are staying in Bangkok – a distance of about 180 km – it’s possible to leave the city early in the morning to spend a day in Khao Yai, although I’d recommend staying for one night in the park accommodation before returning to the city.

So, I welcome you to visit this famous national park of Thailand, Khao Yai National Park.

Thank you Swai! Swai has introduced us to many fantastic attractions in Thailand, including floating markets, Hellfire Pass, and the district of Amphawa. If you’re interested in exploring Bangkok, or beyond, you can learn more about Swai’s tours here: Swai’s guide profile.
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