Khao Yai National
The park, which covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers in the
Phanom Dong Rak mountain range, stretches over 4 provinces including
Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, and Prachin Buri. Khao
Yai became Thailandís first national park on 18th September 1962
and is also originally recognized as the National Park Heritage
of Asian Group Countries.
The park is comprised of mixed forests and rainforests with some
wide plains and grasslands interspersed with verdant forests. There
are many valuable plants, including commercial plants, scented plants
and herbs. In addition, there are several mountains with peaks ranging
from 800 to 3,000 meters above sea level making Khao Yai a cool
climate area, even in summer.
The most popular time to visit Khao Yai is during the cool season
or from October to February. In the rainy season, the area is refreshingly
green with overflowing waterfalls, sending echoes all around.
in the park include butterfly and bird watching, animal watching
and trekking. The Park has numerous butterflies and birds as surveys
indicate that over 293 species of birds use Khao Yai as a feeding
ground while Khao Yai is the habitat of over 200 species. In addition,
the park is home to an abundance of wildlife. The most frequently
spotted animal is the deer that grazes on grass plains and sometimes
come to be fed around the park office. Other animals spotted include
elephants, sun bears, wild boars, monkeys, tigers, gaurs, and mountain
goats. To facilitate animal watching the park built 2 wildlife watchtowers
at Mo Singto and Nong Phak Chi. Visitors are allowed up there between
8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In addition, those who want to go on a night safari
by car must contact the park office before 6 p.m. Moreover, Khao
Yai has over 20 trekking trails for visitors to choose from, each
different in natural beauty and distance. While some trails like
the Kong Kaeo trail and the Kilometer 33 trail (Thanarat Road-Nong
Phak Chi) take 1-2 hours to complete, other trails like the Nang
Rong-Khao Yai trail, Samo Pun trail or Kho Yo 4 Unit-Wang Heo waterfall
trail require overnight stays. Information and guides can be obtained
from the tourist service centre.
Places of Interest in the Park:
Namtok Kong Kaeol
This is a low waterfall, which is especially lovely in the rainy
season originates from Huay Lam Takhong that divides Nakhon Nayok
and Nakhon Ratchasima Provinces. The waterfall can be reached by
a walking distance of 100 meters from the tourist service center.
Visitors can enjoy swimming at the waterfall or taking short nature
trips on nearby nature trails.
Namtok Pha Kluai Mai
This is a medium-sized waterfall in Huay Lam Takhong with two separate
bodies of water flowing down rock levels to merge at the bottom.
In the area visitors can find the Red Dendrobium orchid that is
the symbol of the waterfall. The waterfall is about 7 kilometers
from the park office and can be reached by car and on foot. In addition,
there is a trail from the waterfall that leads to Heo Suwat Waterfall.
Namtok Heo Suwat
This is a famous waterfall that cascades from a 20-meters high cliff.
. The waterfall, which is located at the end of Thanarat Road and
is accessible by car, is only 100 meters by foot from the parking
lot or a 3-kilometer walk from Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall. Visitors
can view the falls from a distant viewpoint that offers a high-angle
view of the waterfall through the trees or from the waterfall itself.
However, please note that in the rainy season the water flows rapidly
and caution should be taken.
Namtok Heo Narok
This is the largest and highest waterfall in the park with 3 levels.
The first level is about 60 meters high and water from this level
flows straight down to the second and third levels, with a total
drop of at least 150 meters. The water has considerable strength
in the rainy season and is quite dangerous, but refreshing, when
it comes splashing down on rocks at the bottom. The area around
the waterfall is the usual feeding grounds of wild elephants. There
have been occasional accidents when elephants drop from the cliff
and die. For a beautiful view of the waterfall, visitors can walk
1 kilometer from the main road to a viewpoint. The waterfall itself
is located to the south of the Park Office on the way to Prachin
There are also other lesser waterfalls in the park like Namtok Mai
Plon, Namtok Heo Sai and Namtok Heo Prathul. For more information,
contact the Parkís tourist service centre.
Traveling to the Park
Khao Yai National Park is only about 205 kilometers from Bangkok.
There are 2 ways of getting there; from the 56 kilometer marker
of Mitraparp Highway, turn onto Thanarat Road and proceed for approximately
23 kilometers or at Hin Kong intersection, turn onto Highway No.
33 (Nakhon Nayok-Prachin Buri) and proceed to the Noen Hom intersection
and take Highway No. 3077 to the park. The second route is rather
steep and is more suitable for the return trip.
If traveling by bus, get off at Amphoe Pak Chong and continue on
a mini-bus up to the gate of Khao Yai National Park. The fare is
15 baht and services are provided between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. From
there, visitors should flag a passing car to the park office or
rent a car directly from Pak Chong. The park fee for an adult foreigner
is 200 bahts and a foreign child is 100 bahts. The fee for each
car is 50 bahts.
There is a campsite at Pha Kluai Mai that can accommodate up to
1,000 visitors. The fee is 10 bahts for children and 20 bahts for
adults per night. There is a restaurant and tents and sleeping bags
for rent. Moreover, there are 2 more service areas at Kong Kaeo
and Yaowachon that can accommodate up to 250 tourists. The fee is
30 bahts each, though sleeping gear is not provided. Visitors can
obtain permission from the park before 6 p.m. For more information,
call the National Parks Division, Royal Forest Department, tel.
0-2579 -7223 and 0-2579-5734, or contact the Park Office at P.O.
Box 9, Amphoe Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130.