Tigers, monkeys, and bears, oh my! All these animals, and many others, can be found within the 127 national parks in Thailand. Each one of the national parks is unique and worth taking the time away from the beaches in order to see. Thailand’s national parks were actually one of the highlights of spending time there for me. Not only did I have a chance to lace up my hiking boots, but I also saw another side of the country–a different type of paradise that I would have missed if I hadn’t looked into taking some day trips from the main cities. Here are some spots I would recommend on your visit to Thailand.
Khao Sok National Park can be found in the Surat Thani province and is the rainiest destination in the country. As you explore this park, you’ll discover that it is mostly jungle and lush rainforest–perfect for your Indiana Jones moment. One of the world’s largest flowers (and rarest), the Rafflesia kerrii, is located in this national park, as well. Keep your eyes open the elephants, deer, boar, and other animals that also call this park home, though remember not to touch, feed, or approach them. The best time to visit Khao Sok National Park is between the months of June and October since it is the driest part of the year.
One of the most breathtaking parks in Thailand is the Erawan National Park. It can be found over in the Kanchanaburi province, which is in the western area of the country. While there are multiple caves inside Erawan National Park that are worth exploring, the main sight checking out are the Erawan Falls.This waterfall has seven tiers–I guarantee that you’ll have a difficult time finding another one like it! If you feel particularly adventurous, you can then take a dip in the surrounding pools.
Khao Yai National Park was the very first of the many national parks in Thailand and was established in 1962 in the Sankamphaeng Mountains. This is the park to head to if you love to hike or rock climb since there are plenty of options available for adventure lovers of all levels. You will for sure stumble across numerous waterfalls and might even get the chance to spot some animals like elephants, monkeys, and leopards. If you’re truly lucky, you might see a tiger lurking in the bushes.
A few of the national parks in Thailand are also marine parks. This includes the fabulous Ao Phang Nga National Park, where you can find great snorkeling and beaching. Located in the Phang Nga province in the southern part of the country, you’ll find plenty to do in Ao Phang Nga National Park. Make sure to stay at least two or three days in order to see everything. Of course, a trip to this area is not complete without an island hopping itinerary among the 42 different spots in the bay. James Bond Island is the most popular of them all, but there are plenty of others with beaches and massive cliffs worth seeing. Before you leave, take the time to wander through Koh Panak Cave via longtail boat hire.
Head to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park for some hiking and caving, especially if you plan on seeing the gorgeous stalagmites inside the Phraya Nakhon Cave. The cave can only be reached by climbing up a steep cliff, but the views up there make the challenge worthwhile. Make sure to have a guide with you just in case! After you are done visiting some of the sights underground, take to the water for snorkeling–the coral reefs here are stunning.
Kui Buri National Park can be found over by the Thailand/Myanmar border and it is considered the best spots in Asia for seeing elephants. There are a few wildlife viewing platforms over by the Pa Yang substation, which is a favorite area for elephants to bathe in the nearby ponds. You are regulated to certain areas of this park unless you take a guided, licensed tour in order to protect the local wildlife. It is only during a tour like this that you can see many of the protected sections of Kui Buri National Park–which is much of the reason to head here in the first place. You can also spend the night in this national park, whether you choose to pitch a tend or stay in one of the more luxurious bungalows available.
Kaeng Krachan National Park is the largest of all the national parks in Thailand. It can be found along the border of the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve, another region dedicated to protecting the flora and fauna of the area. Most of the the park is a rainforest, so make sure to plan your visit between the months of December and March so you can get a glimpse of the famous morning mist. When you are not hiking along the many trail options, you can take a boat ride on the lakes. Don’t forget to look for several species of birds, bears, leopards, and elephants.
Have you made it to any of Thailand’s national parks?
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