Khao Yai National Park
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 Thailands 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.
Popular activities 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
Places of Interest in the Park:
Kong Kaeol Waterfall (Namtok Kong Kaeol)
This is a low waterfall, which is especially lovely in the rainy
season originated 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.
Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall (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.
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 being 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.
Narok Waterfall (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 Parks 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.
Notice : Due to over capacity and protect the environment
of Khao Yai National Park, Royal Forest Department has announced
to limit the number of visitors since July 1,2008 , therefore visitors
should inquire Khao Yai National Park directly before travelling
at tel. 08 1877 3127 , 08 6092 6531 which operate 24 hrs. or visit
Admission fee : Adult 400 baht and Child 200 baht (If only
visiting the area from Nern Hom checkpoint to San Chao Pho Check
point, the admission fee is adult 200 baht and child 100 baht) and
the fee of one car is 50 baht.
There is a campsite at Pha Kluai Mai that can accommodate up to
1,000 visitors. The fee is 10 baht for children and 20 baht 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 baht 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.
(66) 2579-7223 and (66) 2579-5734, or contact the Park Office at
P.O. Box 9, Amphoe Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130.