Discover Khao Yai

UNESCO World Heritage masterpiece

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    Thailand’s first registered national park – Khao Yai, was established in 1962 and covers an area of 2,168 km², making it the nation’s third-largest park. Khao Yai extends into Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachinburi, Saraburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sits within the  Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex covering five areas from Khao Yai to the Cambodian border.

    One of the main attractions in the world heritage site is the incredible waterfalls. Haew Narok is the highest waterfall in Khao Yai. It cascades over three levels with the final level hurtling 80 metres into a deep pool. At the height of the rainy season, Haew Narok is a truly breathtaking sight.

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    Additional things to do in Khao Yai National Park

    Wang Takrai National Park

    Dual streams converge at a scenic waterfall in a natural resort setting with recreation activities.Nature park with a waterfall & gardens This is one of the many streams that run out of Khao Yai National Park into Nakhon Nayok

    Khao Luk Chang Bat Cave

    At dusk, you will witness thousands of bats exiting the Khao Luk Chang bat cave, forming a dark ribbon ruffling in the sky in a mesmerising spectacle as they head out in search of food. The cave can be found about 6 kilometres from the entrance in the north of Khao Yai National Park.

    Kang Sam Chan

    The highlight of Kang Sam Chan;

    it is a three-level islet similar to stairs with the distance of 50 meters which is why it is called in Nakhon Nayok as Kang Sam Chan. Waterside locale for rafting & tubing

    PB Valley Khao Yai Winery

    Join a vineyard and wine tasting tour of the PB Valley Khao Yai Winery estate. The vineyard grows grape varieties such as Shiraz, Chenin Blanc and Colombard. Visitors may sample some of the wine and also tour the orchards which produce dragonfruit and passionfruit.

    Khun Dan Prakarn Chon Dam

    The purpose is to help relieve the frequent floods in the area of Nakhon Nayok River with an irrigation system. Visitors can go to the top of the dam by shuttle bus trip or hiring self-drive golf cart and enjoy the spectacular view

    Nang Rong falls

    Nang Rong contains three-tiers, with each tier featuring small pools for dipping and swimming. There is water all year round in these falls but visitors should operate caution when swimming during the rainy season when the falls is at its water peak and the rapids can be quite fierce.

    Summary continued

    Haew Suwat is another waterfall made famous the movie ‘The Beach’, wherein one scene Leonardo DiCaprio’s character dived into from a cliff. If you want to follow in DiCaprio’s footsteps you must be willing to dive a 20-metre drop. Haew Pratoon is another picturesque waterfall. It cascades down 30 meters over a wide, jagged cliff hitting some huge boulders at the base of the falls. 8km trek from the park headquarters.

    Wang Heaw is a large-scale spectacular waterfall, extending for  60-metres across with endless gushing water pouring over the edge. It takes two days trekking to reach these falls but the intensive journey is worth it. 

    The park offers bungalows for rent and hostels for larger groups. The accommodation is basic but comfortable with bedding, electricity and running water, along with two campsites in the central area of the park. Camping gear can be rented at the sight if you don’t have your own. There are toilet and shower facilities and a barbeque area within the camping grounds. There are plenty of hotels nearby the park entrance for those looking for less rustic lodgings.

    One of the most popular Khao Yai National Park tours is the night time spotlight safari. This is one of the best ways to spot native animals in their natural habitat. Starting after dusk, visitors can jump in a jeep with spotlights in hand and be driven throughout the central parklands in search of wildlife. Common sightings include deer and porcupines with rarer sightings of civet cats and wild boars or even some wild roaming elephants. These tours can be booked at the visitor centre.

    For trekking enthusiasts, there are seven official trails of which most must be accompanied by either a guide or a ranger ranging from a few hours to a few days. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Khao Yai national park worth visiting?

    Nature lovers can enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, visiting waterfalls- especially the masterpiece known as Haew Narok,  viewpoints and camping.

    How many days should I spend in Khao Yai?

    Khao Yai World Heritage National Park is so vast that for most, one day is not enough. It is recommended to spend at least 2 or 3 days in and around the region to be able to more fully explore its natural wonders.

    Where should I stay when visiting Khao Yai National Park?

    Plenty of hotels and guesthouses can be found right outside the park boundaries. There are two main campsites in the park where camping gear can be rented but can’t be booked in advance. There are bungalows in two different spots inside the national park which can only be booked from within Thailand.

    How far is Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok?

    From Bangkok, it takes approximately 3-4 hours by car, or you can take a bus or minivan to Pak Chong district where  Khao Yai National Park is located. There is also a train from Hua Lampong Train Station in Central Bangkok to Pak Chong, the closest station to the national park. The trip takes about 4-5 hours. 

    Is it safe to drive from Bangkok to Khao Yai Thailand?

    Yes, the road conditions are good and it is a straightforward drive from Bangkok to Khao Yai.

    What is the best time to visit Khao Yai?

    The best time to visit Khao Yai is either in the post-rainy season or winter from November to February when everything will be green and waterfalls will be fully flowing.

    Are there tigers in Khao Yai National Park?

    Evidence that Indochinese tigers are breeding in Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex was captured by camera footage deployed in the park a few years ago but they are a rare sight to ever see in person.

    How do you get around Khao Yai?

    It is not possible to enter the park on foot from the checkpoint. The visitor centre is around 14 km further in and other popular attractions are much further inside the park. The two most popular waterfalls, viewpoints and the visitor centre can be accessed by car or bike and reached without any need of a guide. Two trails that the visitors are allowed to walk alone is an about 800-metre long circular trail behind the visitor centre and the Thai-American Friendship Trail. To access any other treks, you will need a park guide to accompany you as too many tourists have gotten lost and gone missing in the past.

    What animals are in Khao Yai National Park?

    There are over 300 species of birds, 50+ species of reptiles including various types of snakes and more than 70 species of mammals such as elephants, deer, wild boars, macaque and gibbon monkeys to name a few. 

    How do you get to Khao Sam Lan National Park?

    The best way to get from Bangkok to Namtok Sam Lan National Park is by bus or train, with the journey taking just under 2 hours for both.

    Is Khao Yai National Park Thailand cold in December?

    In December, the weather is cool by Asian standards with clear blue skies,  sunny days and light breezes,   temperatures averaging 21 degrees during the day and dropping to 10 degrees at night.

    What should I wear to Khao Yai?

    Good enclosed footwear is essential with decent grip as the jungle trails can get slippery. There are leeches and mosquitos in the jungle so it is advised that you cover up with lightweight sleeves and trousers to avoid being bitten. During the hot season, temperatures can be stifling but during the cooler season, temperatures in the evenings can get very cold so be sure to bring warm clothing. 

    How big is Khao Yai?

    Khao Yai was Thailand’s first-ever national park established in 1962 and covers an area of 2,168 km², making it the nation’s third-largest park.

    Where are the elephants in Khao Yai?

    There are wild elephants throughout the national park and the best way to spot them is by a night safari tour or on a private guided walk through the jungle.

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