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Khao Yai is no doubt the best national park in Thailand for regular visitors where it is relatively easy to see some impressive animals.
Established in 1962 as Thailand's first national park, it is the third largest national park in Thailand. Situated mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Khao Yai extends into Prachinburi, Saraburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces. The main checkpoint of the park is 180 km from Bangkok.

The park covers an area of 2,168 km², including rain/evergreen forests and grasslands. 1,351 meters high Khao Rom is the highest mountain within the park. The average altitude of the national park ranges from 400 to 1,000 meters asl.

Khao Yai is part of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex; a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO, covering 5 protected areas from Khao Yai to Cambodian border. The other protected areas are; Pang Sida National Park, Thap Lan National Park, Ta Phraya National Park and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary.

Best time to visit

The weather in Khao Yai national park is generally quite pleasant. Khao Yai has three seasons, each with its own advantages. It's worth to visit the park, year-round. Due to the higher elevation and forested hills the climate tends to be more pleasant than on the surrounding plateaus, even in the hot season. Evening temperatures are low year-round, so even in the hot season we recommend you to bring a sweater, especially if driving around in an open safari truck. Many tourists don't expect this cooler weather when visiting a tropical country like Thailand.

November to February is generally the cool and dry season. Temperatures are pleasant during the day, but it gets cold at night. Don't expect to see spectacular waterfalls. But generally the skies are clear.

Usually, the hot season lasts from March to April. Some years are wetter than others. Weather is hard to predict so come prepared.

In May it tends to rain more than in the previous months. And the wet season really takes off in July and lasts till October. Be prepared for rain, but don't stay away because of it. The forests are lush, the waterfalls look great, and the animals don't disappear.

Check the below table for the general idea of Khao Yai National Park weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 32.9 26.6 21.2
Feb 34.8 28.5 23.4
Mar 36.2 29.8 24.9
Apr 36.8 30.2 25.6
May 35.9 30.1 26
Jun 34.7 29.3 25.7
Jul 33.6 28.6 25.2
Aug 33.4 28.4 25.1
Sep 33.2 28.3 25.1
Oct 33.2 28.4 25
Nov 33.4 28.2 24.1
Dec 32.8 27.1 21.9

Khao Yai National Park’s current weather and 7-day forecast


What to see

Here are some of the best things to see during your visit to the park:

Haew Suwat Waterfall 

This waterfall was made famous in The Beach and is definitely worth seeing (though unfortunately, you won’t be able to mimic Leo’s classic jump!).

Pha Diew Die viewpoint 

At 1,100m above sea level, this is probably the most breathtaking viewpoint in the park. You’ll get a sweeping view of the whole area and there are usually very few people around.

Haew Narok Waterfall 

This waterfall translates to “Sunken Hole of Hell” which is a very foreboding name for a gorgeous waterfall! It got its names from poachers who apparently heard the noise of its water crashing long before they saw the water and assumed it the crashing rumble was the gates of hell opening.

Non Pak Chi Watchtower 

This is a good place to stop to try and see some of the park’s wildlife, such as wild boars and elephants. Aim to be here for dawn or dusk for the best chances.

See elephants (and other wild animals) 

Best found at sunrise or sunset, there are actually hundreds of elephants located in the park. You can find them near some of the salt licks around the park, though you have to be patient (and lucky!). The best way to see them (and other animals) is to go on a night safari, as many animals prefer to be active during the cool night hours. Tours are organized by the park and cost 500 THB per vehicle (which usually has room for up to 8 people).

The prime reason for coming to Khao Yai is to see the amazing wildlife and scenery. The best way to see this is by walking one of the many trails in the park - the easiest can be walked alone but many require hiring a guide as they are not clearly marked and it is easy to get lost.

What to do

Go trekking

The park has some great hiking trails that suit a range of times and abilities - get a map from the visitor centre to see which ones are best for you. The easier trails can be walked alone, a great one to start with is the paved trail running from behind the visitor centre (across the suspension bridge) - the loop takes about 45 minutes. Another easy walk is along the river from Pha Kluamai Campsite to Haew Suwat falls (roughly 90 minutes) - as well as pilated gibbons this stretch of river is home to the 'Khao Yai Crocodile' the parks only known Siamese crocodile. It can be seen basking on the edge of the riverbank near the 'Beware of the crocodile' signs but do not worry Siamese crocs rarely attack people unless provoked! The 5 km trail from Mo Singto (start near the Sai Sorn Reservoir) to Nong Pak Chi watchtower is sign posted and so possible to walk alone but the route is not always clear. For the longer trails its best to hire a guide. These include a 4 hour walk from the visitor centre to Haew Suwat falls and a trek from Haew Suwat to the beautiful Khao Laem grasslands, amongst others. 

Watch gibbons

One of the main draws to the park are its two species of gibbon - the White-handed or Lar gibbon and the Pileated gibbon. These are best seen in the morning when they can be heard singing loud whale-like songs from dawn. A number of trails are open for tourists- some of which require a guide. Without a guide, the best chance of seeing Lar gibbons is to cross the suspension bridge at the visitor centre and follow the paved pathway around Kong Kaeo falls. The loop takes about 40 minutes to walk. With luck Lar gibbons can also be seen along the road between the visitor centre to the Ton Sai saltlick. A group can also be relatively easily seen on the paths around Wang Jumpee (scenic rapids). For Pileated gibbons, the easiest route is the well-marked trail from Pha Kluaymai campsite to Haew Suwat falls. This will take about 90 minutes. However, you may need to hitch hike or organise a pick-up to go back along the road to reach your starting point. There are many more chances to spot them on the longer hiking trails, but for these you should hire a guide from the visitor centre.  

Encounter elephants

It is thought that up to 400 elephants reside in the park! They are most easily seen in the grasslands around the many salt licks found within the park, with the best chances of seeing them at dawn or dusk. These salt licks can be seen at many points along the roadside or from Nong Pak Chi watch tower. You just have to be lucky. One of the best chances of seeing them is to take a night safari (organised through the visitor centre).  

Go birding

The park is a bird watchers paradise with many chances to see rare and colourful species. There are many great locations! 

Bat caves

Drive about 3 km to the north of the Pak Chong entrance gate and take a small track on the left-hand side just past a temple. A few hundred metres up here take a right-hand turn and follow the track to the end. Another cave can be found 6 km north of the park. There are two caves near the northern entrance of Khao Yai from which thousands of wrinkle-lipped bats exit at dusk (Khao Luk Chang Bat Cave and another cave). Please do not enter the caves. You will disturb the bats. Best not to use flash photography as this can disturb them. Both caves can be hard to find alone and are best reached via one of the many organised tours.  

Go on a night safari

Take a night time jeep safari spotting wildlife - expect to see sambar deer, barking deer, porcupines and civets. Elephants are also seen quite frequently. Bookings can be made directly at the visitor centre in the park or via most nearby hotels.  

Gaur Watching at Khao Phaengma

Around 20 km from Wang Nam Khiao, on Road 2072, one arrives at Klong Prakang in Khao Phaengma district. A turn to the left leads to a Khao Yai National Park Conservation Unit. On the northeastern side of the park it is possible to climb the watch tower at Khao Phaengma, a great place for spotting gaur. However, note that this is a separate part of the park in Wang Nam Khiao District.  

Dinosaur footprints at Wang Haew falls

Around 20 km from Wang Nam Khiao, on Road 2072, one arrives at Klong Prakang in Khao Phaengma district. A turn to the left leads to a Khao Yai National Park Conservation Unit. Sample some of the parks rich geological history at Wang Haew falls. A longer hike of 3 days – 2 nights include the views of evergreen forests, the Wang Haew Waterfall and the highlight, a dinosaur footprint of Siamopodus khaoyaiensis.

While it's possible to visit Khao Yai as a day trip from Bangkok, you might want to consider overnighting at one of two campsites here for a chance to see more of the park. Conveniently, visitors can rent tents, blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows right at the site, so there's no need to lug a lot of equipment around. The park does warn that the macaque monkeys will pry their way into the tents one way or another, so it's best to leave food items out in the open, so they don't go tearing apart your bags.

If you'd rather have a comfy bed and pillow to rest your head on, there are hotels in the surrounding towns that provide easy access to the park.

Luxury Hotels

For luxury options, you should head to Pak Chong, where a number of resorts offer the ultimate amenities in idyllic settings. One good example of that is the Thames Valley Khao Yai resort, with elegant rooms decorated in an old-English style that come with private balconies and garden views, an outdoor pool, and a spa and wellness center.

Mid-Range Hotels

The Anyamanee-Khaoyai Nature Life Resort makes up for the simple (but comfortable) rooms by providing a number of nice amenities, including a large swimming pool, beautiful lush gardens, and an on-site restaurant. For a touch of luxury at affordable prices, the TonSilp Art Home offers accommodation in either deluxe rooms or bungalows, featuring colorful, artsy bedrooms with large wall murals. There's also an outdoor pool, with views over the misty mountains, landscaped gardens, and a children's playground. For a great location on a main road leading to the park, you can't beat The Vintage Hotel Khao Yai. It offers a swimming pool, free coffee, and air-conditioned rooms with private balconies and mountain views; some rooms have their own private pool.

Budget Hotels

For an excellent location near the train station, restaurants, and a night market, the Rim Tarn Inn in Pak Chong is a good choice. This hotel offers simple but clean rooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, as well as a pool.

Within the park

There are number of cafe-type food stands throughout the park although their opening hours are in-consistent; so you need just as much luck as you need for spotting wildlife.

The park centre is the primary place to eat with something usually open even out of season. Opposite the visitor centre there are a number of food stands overlooking the river offering meals for about 50 baht and a restaurant where visitors can order a variety of Thai dishes. The restaurant has an english menu and makes food fresh. The 'Khao Yai Welfare' store has drinks, snacks and noodles available. On quiet days your options may be more limited, you should get there before 18:00 or risk going hungry.

There's an eating area at the Lam Tha Kong camping ground open from ~8:00-~16:00. The adjoining snack and sundries shop is open ~7:00-~17:00. They will stay open somewhat later if there are customers. There is a restaurant building at the far western end of the Pha Kluay Mai camp, only open during busy periods.

Restaurants with small shops can also be found at Haew Suwat and Haew Narok falls, but again they may shut early during quiet periods.

Outside the park

The area surrounding the park's northern entrance is the midst of a development boom and if you have your own transport there are many restaurants and shops to suit all budgets and tastes. A small Tesco Lotus and 711 are found 3 km from the entrance on the way to Pak Chong; between these two stores a market operates in the afternoons.

Outside the park on Thanarat road there are a smattering of food options. For local cuisine with a number of english speaking staff, the place to go is Krua Khao Yai located up Thanarat Rd 13.5km (Opposite the Chocolate Factory). They are famous for their smoked ribs. Service is extremely busy during holidays.

Another is near Greenleaf Guesthouse called Nina's, (on Thanarat Road, up the road about 1 km from Greenleef Guesthouse, right by the dairy). Nina's is an air-conditioned restaurant with coffee and western desserts as well as great traditional Thai dishes. The lady speaks good English, as she spent two years in the U.S. getting her MBA. Not cheap at all, but a nice meal. 200 baht.

Get in

Khao Yai is along the way from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat). The nearest town to the north entrance is Pak Chong, which can be reached either via train or buses running between Bangkok and Korat. From here taxis, songthaews or motorbike hire can take you onto Khao Yai. The south entrance is about 13 km north of Prachinburi- Head north on the roundabout on Rt 3077. A road runs through the length of the park from the Pak Chong side to the Prachin Buri side. The park is an easy drive from Bangkok.

Buses regularly leave from Bangkok's Mo Chit bus station to Pak Chong (terminating in Korat)- the journey takes about 3-4 hours and costs 150 baht each way (March 2014). Minibuses to Pak Chong can be caught from Bangkok's Victory Monument.

Nearly all trains from Bangkok to Korat/Ubon go via Pak Chong, however this is much slower than the bus. This route also goes via Ayutthaya, which is halfway between Pak Chong and Bangkok and about a 3 hour journey (53 Baht, 3rd class no aircon, March 2014). When disembarking at Pak Chong follow the road to the high street and turn left to get to the centre of town.

Pak Chong to Khao Yai:

A giant novelty giraffe sculpture marks the centre of Pak Chong. The bus 'station' and Songthaeows on to Khao Yai can be found on opposite sides of the road, while the train station is about 300 metres south of here (look for the sign for the Hotel Phubade). There is also a taxi rank.

A regular Songthaew services runs to the northern entrance of the park, you can ask to be dropped off at any point along the route. The journey take about 40 minutes (price 40 baht, April 2014) but they only drop you at the park entrance. The park does not have an internal public transport system so you will need to hitchhike 10 km to reach the park centre and accommodation. Traffic is frequent and anyone with space will give you a lift; pick-up trucks are the best bet as you can just jump in the back with minimum hassle. If using this method you will have to further rely on hitch hiking once within the park as many of the sites are spread out from one another (but this is less stressful that it sounds and an easy way to get around.)

If travelling independently, a motorcycle hired from Pak Chong or on the road to Khao Yai will grant you with more freedom than relying on hitchhiking and is probably preferable if your budget allows for it. One line of the road is a motorcycle line so even if you're not experienced with motorcycles it is a rather easy ride.

Automatic motorcycles are available at Honda (Google Maps coordinates 14.706668, 101.417039). The cost is 300 baht per day and two helmets are included. The staff speak good English. They rent out cars too at 1800 baht per day. 
Remember if staying outside the park you will have to pay each time you enter.

Get around

One of the best ways to see the park is renting a car or motorbike in Pak Chong and staying one night in the park. Petrol is available at the guard house (“Patrol Guard” on the visitor centre's map) 500m south of the visitor centre. 40 baht per bottle.

If you don't have your own transport it is quite difficult to get to the park information centre as the bus from Pak Chong usually takes you to the ticket office and the natural park centre is about 10 km away. If you do not have your own transport it is easy to hitchhike around the park, just wave down any approaching car or truck, most people are more than happy to take you if they have room.

There is a single road through the park from the Pak Chong side to the Nakhon Nayok (Prachin Buri) side. The road is sealed and in good condition throughout the 60 kilometre journey, though there are some winding stretches of road. There is a 60km/hour speed limit in the park, and there are numerous speed bumps to remind drivers to slow down. Animals (especially macaques) are likely to be encountered on the road, so caution is advisable at all times. There is limited fuel services in the park.

There are a number of lookout positions from where photographs of the scenery can be taken.

Contact us for more information


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International travelers to Thailand will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or ATK test results from October 1st, 2022 onward.

In a new move to attract travelers during peak season, Thailand is doing away with the requirement of needing vaccination certificates or Covid-19 negative results in the case of unvaccinated passengers. Additionally, those infected with Covid-19, but have mild symptoms don’t need to isolate from next month. The same applies to those who test positive but display no symptoms.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced these changes on Thursday after the National Communicable Diseases Committee (NCDC) had a meeting on Wednesday.

Instead of isolating those who have contracted the disease would be required to wear a mask, socially distance themselves from others and wash their hands frequently for the first five days. They also need to stay away from those who are immunocompromised and vulnerable.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, informed that since the present Covid-19 mutation doesn’t cause serious symptoms in most people, disease control measures can be relaxed.

National Security Council secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom added that the new measures are being put in place to help improve the economic conditions of the country.

“The primary aim will be to ensure the economy is back on track so people could earn their livelihoods once more,” he said.


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