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Khao Yai National Park – Thailand’s most Popular Protected Natural Sanctuary

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So, you’re in Bangkok. And looking for something different. War history buffs can head west and see the Death Railway. A couple hours south takes you to the calm beaches of Hua Hin. Oceans and islands are also abundant east of the capital. But what’s up northeast of Bangkok? Acres of protected jungle. That’s right, just a couple hour drive away from the big city is Khao Yai National Park, Thailand’s first and most popular nature sanctuary.

You’re guaranteed tropical wildlife here. And lots of it! Over 3000 species of plants, 300 species of birds and about 70 mammal species call the area home. Speaking of area, where exactly is it? And how big? The national park lies mostly in Nakhon Ratchasima Province (also known as Khorat) in the lower Isaan region, but also stretches in parts of Saraburi, Prachinburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces in Central Thailand. Khao Yai National Park is 2168 square kilometers in area.

Khao Yai means big mountain in Thai. And yes, the elevation here is pretty high, with low altitudes leveling at about 400 meters above sea level and peaks reaching about 1300 meters high. This means cooler weather, of course. Your average day here is about 23 degrees Celsius, give or take. And the rainy season follows the same pattern as with most of the country (late May – October) so brings an umbrella or rain coat if you’re coming in during those months. And the cool season can get pretty chilly, so a sweater or jacket is advisable from November to February.

Once you are here, set yourself free amongst Thailand’s nature wonderland. If you like to see animals in their natural habitat, then by all means. You are in Big Mountain, so peaks, valleys, hills and yes mountains are abundant here. The highest peak is at Khao Rom, which overlooks the park at 1352 meters above sea level. Other peaks include Khao Kaew (1292 meters), Khao Sam Yod (1142 meters) and Kha Far Pha (1078 meters). And rivers? Tons. Great for kayakers. And with rivers comes waterfalls. Some of the most scenic you’ll ever see, including Haew Narok Falls, the biggest in the park and Haew Suwat Falls, seen in the movie The Beach.

So, how to get there? Glad you asked! Head over to the national park from Bangkok with this six day tour. On the way, you’ll experience unique markets and tranquil countryside scenery before finally reaching the park. Khao Yai and some memorable excursions await.

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