Khao Yai National Park is Thailand’s oldest national park, which lies mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima Province and also in parts of Saraburi, Pranchinburi and Nakhon Nayok.

First established in 1962, Khao Yai National Park is Thailand’s second largest, covering an area of over 830 square miles. The park has vast landscapes with lush forests, sprawling grasslands, rolling hills, limestone cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. The highest summit is at Khao Rom, peaking at over 4,430 feet.

An abundance of wildlife is found within the park’s boundaries including elephants, deer, gaur, bears, tigers, leopards and wild pigs. There are also over 300 species of birds, which are best seen during the breeding season from January to March.

The main entrance point is in the north of the park at Pak Chong, where there are sleeping and transport facilities as well as visitor centers with guided tours available. In the southern province of Pranchinburi there is a second entrance point, which is popular with local visitors from Bangkok.

There are several beautiful waterfalls in the park including Haeo Suwat, which was made famous in the Hollywood movie The Beach. To enjoy the waterfalls, it is best to travel during or just after the rainy season in the months of June, July and August. The added bonus of visiting during the wet season is the blooming flora, which is a sea of color.

Night-time jeep tours are available for those wishing to see some of the wildlife including different species of deer. Bookings can be organized at the park’s information center or through your hotel.

There are several hotels and resorts located close to the park providing a place to stay if planning on spending a few days checking out the scenery. Camping facilities are available within the park but bookings through the ranger’s office are essential.

Getting There & Away

Khao Yai National Park’s main entrance is situated only 12 miles from the village of Pak Chong, which has good road and rail connections with Bangkok and Khorat. From Bangkok buses leave from the Northern Bus Terminal every hour each day, taking around 2 hours, 30 minutes travel time. Train travel is slightly longer. From Pak Chong there are frequent bus services making the short journey or you can take a private taxi.