Remember how I mentioned in my blog on 7 Tourist Spots in Thailand to Visit on Your Holiday that Khao Yai National Park is a tourist attraction in Thailand that I always wished to explore more? I have compiled for myself some information on Khao Yai National Park and am sharing them here, hope you will find the information useful too! 🥰
- About Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
- How to get to Khao Yai from Bangkok
- Getting around Khao Yai National Park
- Best time to visit Khao Yai National Park
- Accommodation in Khao Yai National Park
- Things to do at Khao Yai National Park
About Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
Khao Yai National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาใหญ่) 🌳 is one of Thailand’s largest national parks located about 200 kilometers from the capital of Bangkok. Khao Yai covers an area of 402,083 acres, which is more than twice the size of Singapore. It was declared a National Park on December 21, 1962 before being recognized as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. Khao Yai is known for its abundant fauna, which includes over 330 species of bird, 100 mammalian species and a diverse flora of orchids. Khao Yai National Park is also the site to various important discoveries in Thai history including fossils estimated at 20 million years old.
How to get to Khao Yai from Bangkok
By Car, Driving from Bangkok to Khao Yai National Park
There are three entrances to Khao Yai National Park: Hua Mung, Nakhun yoo and Kud Kho Khao.
- Hua Mung Entrance to Khao Yai: 30 km.
From Pak Chong Town, take Highway No.21 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) about 85 km. Turn right at Km.57-58 onto Highway No.2196, then turn right again at Km.29 onto Highway No.2166 for Khao Yai National Park about 16 km on this road to the park entrance
- Nakhon Nayok Entrance to Khao Yai: 30 km.
From Pak Chong Town, take Highway No.21 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) about 85 km. Turn right at Km.59 onto Highway No.2152 for about 18km, and turn right again at Km.19 onto Highway No.2154 for Khao Yai National Park
- Kud Kho Khao Entrance to Khao Yai: 45 km.
From Pak Chong Town, take Highway No.21 (Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen) about 85 Km and turn right at Km.60 onto Highway No.2154 for Khao Yai National Park
It takes approximately three hours to get to Khao Yai National Park by car. 🚗🚗🚗
By Public Transport, from Bangkok to Khao Yai National Park
If using public transport, take a bus to Pak Chong from either Mo Chit or Southern Bus Terminal. From Pak Chong it will cost about 90 baht per person and then you can hire a driver to take you to Khao Yai which costs about 400 baht. There are also other locations from Khao Yai National Park’s three entrances as well as Khao Yai Grand Forest Park and Baan Krating.
Getting around Khao Yai National Park
There is a ranger station at the park where visitors must register and pay an entrance fee (400 baht for foreigners). For conservation purposes, the park limits the number of visitors so make sure you plan in advance or avoid visiting the park during the weekends/holiday seasons. The site has a restaurant, convenience store and petrol station for visitors to Khao Yai National Park. There are six trail maps available for hikers who wish to go off on their own within the National Park. Many tourists hire guides which can be arranged through the information center at Khao Yai National Park’s main entrance. Khao Yai is also a popular destination for cycling tours and there are guided bicycle tours of Khao Yai available as well.
Best time to visit Khao Yai National Park
The rainy season is from May to October where it rains on most days. During this season, Khao Yai can be very foggy at times especially in the morning. As such, it is best to visit Khao Yai National Park during the dry season from November to April when rainfall is erratic and there at times of no rain throughout the day. Note that Khao Yai can be very hot during November till February. 🌞
Accommodation in Khao Yai National Park
There are no hotels within Khao Yai National Park so do plan your accommodation in advance. There are homestays available near Khao Yai, and a variety of accommodations suitable for all types of visitors from budget to luxury travelers. Several guesthouses outside Khao Yai offer tours into Khao Yai National Park. Camping within Khao Yai National Park is allowed at certain sites but requires permission from the rangers and payment of fees.
Things to do at Khao Yai National Park
There are many activities to do Khao Yai National Park including guided tours, cycling, camping, bird watching and hiking. Khao Yai’s abundant flora and fauna make it a good choice for both leisurely walks and excursions lasting several days. Khao Yai has 7 trails that visitors can choose from. Most of them will bring you to the famous waterfalls in Khao Yai National Park.
Hiking Trails at Khao Yai National Park
|Trail||Distance + Trekking Time (one way)||Highlights of the Trail|
|Visitor Centre – Kong Kaeo Trail||1.2 Km, 45min||The easiest and shortest trail from the visitor center. At the end of the trail is Kong Kaeo Waterfall, which is Khao Yai’s largest body of water.|
|Pha Kluaimai Campground – Heo Suwat Waterfall Trail||3km, 2h||At the end of the trail is Heo Suwat Waterfall, which is the most famous waterfall in Khao Yai.|
|Nong Pak Chi Wildlife Observation Tower Trail||3.3km, 2h||The end of the trail passes through a grassland to a wildlife observation tower|
|Dong Tiew – Sai Sorn Reservoir Trail||2.7km, 1.3h||The end of the trail is the old American base camp during the Vietnam War. This trail passes through the gibbon habitat.|
|Dong Tiew – Nong Pak Chi Wildlife Observation Tower Trail||5km, 3h||The end of the trail is a grassland. It is not an easy hike but you will get to see a lot of wildlife through the grassland and secondary forest.|
|Visitor Centre – Heo Suwat Waterfall Trail||8km, 5h||This is a difficult route and the terrain can be steep at some parts of the hike. You must be accompanied by a guide/park ranger for this trail|
|Thai-American Friendship Trail||2km, 1.3h||This trail brings you around Sai Sorn Reservoir where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset view|
Other waterfalls in Khao Yai National Park
- Haew Narok Waterfall (highest waterfall in Khao Yai National Park)
- Nang Rong Waterfalls
- Pa Kluai / Orchid Waterfall
Viewpoints in Khao Yai National Park
- Khao Laem (1,328 meters)
- Khao Khiau (Green Mountain, 1,350 meters)
About the author – see the About page for more informationJoanne Tan is an aspiring polyglot and has so far mastered English, Chinese and Thai languages. She first started learning Thai in 2015 before staying in Bangkok for 5 months, and then continued studying Thai up to Advanced Levels at the National University of Singapore. In 2017, Joanne was awarded ‘Advanced Thai Proficiency’ by the Sirindhorn Thai Language Institute of Chulalongkorn University. Today, Joanne continues to teach her friends basic Thai speaking and helps her Thai friends actively promote Thai culture.