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Khao Yai National Park: mountain range and wild animals

Table of contents

1. What are the features of Khao Yai National Park

2. What's interesting in Khao Yai National Park

3. How to get to Khao Yai National Park

4. Is it possible to visit Khao Yai National Park without a vehicle?

5. How to prepare for visiting Khao Yai National Park

6. Khao Yai National Park Map

7. How much are tickets to Khao Yai National Park?

8. Viewpoints Khao Yai National Park

8.1 Pha Trom Jai Cliff

8.2 Pha Diao Dai Cliff

8.3 Scenic area (no parking)

8.4 Khao Yai 30 KM. View Point

8.5 Nong Phak Chi Wildlife Watching Tower

9. Waterfalls Khao Yai National Park

9.1 Haew Narok (Heo Narok) Waterfall

9.2 Haew Su Wat Waterfall

9.3 Kong Kaew Waterfall

10. Hiking routes in Khao Yai National Park

10.1 Nong Pak Chi

10.2 Trail no 3 Km. 33 – Nong Phak Chi

10.3 Route 5 Dong Tio – Nong Phak Chi

10.4 Route 1 Kong Kaew – Heo Suwat

10.5 Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall View Point

10.6 Kong Kaew Nature Trail

11. Ponds of Khao Yai National Park

11.1 Sai Sorn Reservoir

12. Where to eat in Khao Yai National Park

Conclusion


What are the features of Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park is located on a mountain range, that is, several nearby mountains. Apart from the stunning views from the mountain tops and waterfalls that are present in many of Thailand's national parks, this place is also notable for its wild animals, including elephants.

The territory of Khao Yai National Park is very vast. The park itself, as already mentioned, is located on several mountains, that is, generally elevated in relation to sea level and the surrounding area. But at the same time, in the park there are many rather flat areas, on which lie mountain meadows and several reservoirs with the purest water.

Of the wild animals, elephants and deer are especially noteworthy. By the way, be careful when driving – wild animals can cross the roadway.

What's interesting in Khao Yai National Park

I saw deer next to the road, but in general wild animals are not the most interesting thing for me. More precisely, to see them you need more time and a deeper acquaintance with the park, which differs from “riding a motorcycle through the most interesting places”.

There are at least three very beautiful viewpoints here. There are also several waterfalls, one of which I really liked – in my subjective opinion, it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.

You can also enjoy views of mountain grasslands – something you don't often see in Thailand.

Mountain lakes with crystal clear water are also very beautiful and not so common in Thailand.

How to get to Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park is located approximately 150 km from Bangkok and approximately 200 km from Pattaya.

The park is located on the territory of four Thai provinces:

  • Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Saraburi
  • Prachinburi
  • Nakhon Nayok

There is a through road through the park and you can enter the park from the southern entrance and from the northern entrance.

If you are coming from Bangkok or Pattaya, the southern entrance from Prachinburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces is closer.

It is unlikely that you will be able to visit the park using public transport – the park is located quite far from large populated areas. There is no public transport inside the park, and its territory is quite vast (it is the third largest national park in Thailand).

So, there are two options to visit Khao Yai National Park:

1. By personal transport

2. As part of a package excursion – from Bangkok there are one-day excursions to Khao Yai National Park.

There are campsites and even several hotels on the territory of Khao Yai National Park.

Also near Khao Yai National Park there are hotels for different tastes and budgets. Some of the hotels are very close to the entrance – this is convenient. For example, we did the following: during the day we reached Nakhon Nayok province and checked into a hotel at the southern entrance to Khao Yai National Park. On this day we would get acquainted with the neighboring city and see the largest dam in Thailand.

See also: Khun Dan Prakarn Chon Dam – the longest dam in Thailand (2.5 km)

The next day in the morning we went to the park. Visiting the park requires quite a lot of effort, so we were once again convinced that renting a hotel near the entrance to the park was a good idea.

Is it possible to visit Khao Yai National Park without a vehicle?

From the entrance to the park to the nearest interesting place there is about 30 km of mountain road. All other attractions are even further away. I think this answers the question.

That is, Khao Yai National Park is highly not recommended for visiting without transport.

How to prepare for visiting Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park was the first on our trip, so we made two serious mistakes at once:

1. Dress easily

2. We drove with an incomplete tank of gas.

These are mountains – it is noticeably cooler there than in the rest of Thailand, so be sure to take at least a hoodie or sweater or even a jacket with you. Especially if you are on a motorcycle and not a car.

There are no gas stations on the territory of Khao Yai National Park, and this territory is very vast.

I knew that I had to travel at least 60 km and, in my opinion, more than half the motorcycle’s gas tank was enough for this. But I didn’t take into account that this is a MOUNTAIN road. When going up, the gasoline level indicator began to melt before our eyes. I didn’t see a single gas station in the entire park. To get out of this problematic situation, I bought a few bottles of gasoline from a military man near Pha Trom Jai Cliff. That is, fill up to a full tank before your trip!

And typical advice for mountain roads – make sure your brakes are working properly. Also, when braking, avoid locking the wheels (if you do not have ABS) so as not to lose control of the vehicle.

In general, I would characterize the road through Khao Yai National Park as not very difficult. Of course, there are several rather difficult places there, but, in fact, you need to be more wary of speed bumps, which are located in the most unexpected places on the road and some of which are difficult to see from a distance due to the play of light and shadow from the trees.

There is a food court and restaurant on the territory of Khao Yai National Park, so it is not necessary to take food with you.

Khao Yai National Park Map

Interactive map with the main attractions of Khao Yai National Park marked:

Groups of marks and their colors:

  • Utility buildings and black markers – ticket checkpoints, visitor center, important road junctions.
  • View Points and red marks – viewpoints from the height of the mountain
  • Waterfalls and blue marks – waterfalls and parking areas near waterfalls
  • Hiking trails and purple markers – hiking routes
  • Reservoirs and etc – reservoirs and other places

Another good map that I came across at a stand in the park – the only caveat is that in order for it to be correctly oriented relative to the cardinal points, it needs to be rotated counterclockwise by 90°. That is, as it is, north points to the right. Yes, yes, I also see the cardinal directions icon in the upper right corner – it indicates the direction WRONG!

And one more card from the stand – to be honest, I don’t understand much on it.

And this is a paper map that the hotel owner gave us.

How much are tickets to Khao Yai National Park?

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult foreigner – 400 baht
  • Child of a foreigner – 200 baht
  • Thais – 40 baht
  • Thai child – 20 baht
  • Motorcycle – 20 baht
  • Car – 30 baht
  • Bicycle – free

Viewpoints Khao Yai National Park

Pha Trom Jai Cliff

When coming from “Khao Yai National Park Checkpoint (South entrance)”, at the fork indicated on the interactive map as “Turn to Khao Khiao Report and Control Center”, turn right.

Drive straight until you hit a military checkpoint. They stand here so as not to let you through to the Khao Khiao Report and Control Center. There is parking near the checkpoint and a stunning viewpoint of Pha Trom Jai Cliff.

There are two height marks here. The first one says “4240 ft”, that is, 1292 meters. And the second one says “4233 ft”, that is, 1290 meters.

Of the mountain peaks that can be reached by transport in this park, these are the highest.

The landscape resembles the view from an airplane window.

Particularly fascinating are the clouds, at the level of which we are and which either close the view of the foot of the mountain, then open it again.

Video from Pha Trom Jai Cliff:

Pha Diao Dai Cliff

Since we will not be allowed into the military facility, turn around and almost immediately you will see a parking lot. You need to park your vehicle and cross the road to the start of the Pha Diao Dai Cliff hiking trail.

This is a small circular route, 446 meters long, and will take approximately 35 minutes to complete. The entire route is via stairs.

Here you will see evergreen plants, which are characteristic of temperate climates, and are found in the mountainous parts of Thailand. Your path will cross part of a unique alpine swamp.

But you will most likely forget about all this as soon as you see the view from Pha Diao Dai Cliff.

It is usually cloudy here in the morning, but in the middle of the day the sun warms the air enough for the clouds to dissolve.

Video from Pha Diao Dai Cliff:

Scenic area (no parking)

Nearby there is another view from the mountain; on the map this place is marked as “Scenic area (no parking)”.

You can't park here, but you can enjoy the view while driving. Or if you are on a bicycle or walked here.

Khao Yai 30 KM. View Point

And another viewpoint of incredible beauty is located near the northern entrance to the park. On the map this place is indicated as “Khao Yai 30 KM. View Point".

Very beautiful. You can see the neighboring hills covered with mountain vegetation.

Photo of “Khao Yai 30 KM. View Point” in high resolution (108 Megapixels) – to get it, click on the photo:

Video from Khao Yai 30 KM. View Point:

Nong Phak Chi Wildlife Watching Tower

“Nong Phak Chi Wildlife Watching Tower” is something like a three-story house with a 360° view.

This place is intended for animal watching. That is, if you hide there for a while, you can see animals: barking deer, wild boars, elephants.

To get here, you need to get to the place marked on the map as “Nong Pak Chi” and then walk through the mountain grassland for about 900 meters.

Waterfalls Khao Yai National Park

Haew Narok (Heo Narok) Waterfall

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful waterfall in this park.

In general, when visiting waterfalls in Thailand, I am usually dissatisfied. I can explain the reason for this: as a rational person, I travel during the dry season because it is more comfortable and safer. But during the dry season, the waterfalls have a problem – there is no or very little water. Therefore, entertainment is lost. That is, my opinion about waterfalls is not entirely correct. More precisely, it is correct for the dry season.

So, Haew Narok Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have seen in Thailand (especially if we talk about the mainland and not taking into account the islands).

The path to the waterfall and back is 1 km long and takes about 1 hour.

Overall it's an easy walk except for the last part – a steep descent down some stairs.

The water from this waterfall eventually flows into Khun Dan Prakarn Chon Dam.

See also: Khun Dan Prakarn Chon Dam – the longest dam in Thailand (2.5 km)

Video of Haew Narok Waterfall:

Haew Su Wat Waterfall

This is another waterfall that disappointed me (again). But, again, I was there during the dry season.

To get to the waterfall, driving along road 3077, you need to turn right onto road 3182. On the map, the turning point is indicated as “Turn to Haew Su Wat Waterfall”. After this, you need to follow road 3182 to its very end.

The path to the waterfall is quite simple, especially if you do not want to go down to the water itself, but want to look at the waterfall from the observation deck.

To go down to the waterfall you need to go down some rather steep stairs – but the path is not long at all.

With more water, the waterfall should be quite impressive.

Video of Haew Su Wat Waterfall:

Kong Kaew Waterfall

Quite a small waterfall. There are two routes leading to it – one longer with a length of 1.3 km. And another 5 minute walk – look for the second suspension bridge on the right side of the visitor center

Hiking routes in Khao Yai National Park

Nong Pak Chi

The path from “Nong Pak Chi” to “Nong Phak Chi Wildlife Watching Tower” is 900 meters long and takes about 30 minutes. The road is very simple, but in sunny weather it is quite hot there, since there is no shade.

The surrounding area is very picturesque.

These are mountain grasslands and vegetation typical of the high regions of Thailand, meaning such landscapes are not usually found in the rest of Thailand.

A pleasant walk, at the end of which you can relax in the Watching Tower.

Trail no 3 Km. 33 – Nong Phak Chi

This path passes through the “Wildlife Watching Tower”.

At the point designated as “Trail no 3 Km. 33 – Nong Phak Chi” there is a small parking lot.

Along the way you will see an evergreen forest, many large trees and ficus trees.

This route is good for wildlife watching.

At the end it will pass through a meadow and lead you to the Wildlife Watching Tower. You can continue along the dirt road to Nong Pak Chi.

Route 5 Dong Tio – Nong Phak Chi

The trailhead is across the road and south (uphill!) of the Visitor Center.

Walk about 2.5 km. you reach an area of grassland and secondary forest. There is an intersection of paths here. Turn left through the forest to the Nong Pak Chi observation tower. It's about 1 km from here. along the dirt road to the parking lot (Nong Pak Chi).

It is about 2 km along the asphalt road to the Visitor Center.

This trail goes through the rainforest and the end of the trail is grassland.

A tough steep climb but good for wildlife viewing.

Route 1 Kong Kaew – Heo Suwat

Nature trail from the Visitor Center (Kong Kaew Falls) to Heo Suwat Falls.

Distance: 8 km. Walking time: 5 hours.

The trailhead is located at the drawbridge behind the Visitor Center.

The terrain is steep in places. Falling trees and streams create obstacles for crossing. Arrange to pick up from the Heo Suwat Falls car park or hitchhike back to the Visitor Centre. This route must be taken with a guide or park ranger. Walking the route without a guide is prohibited.

Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall View Point

Distance: 3 km. Walking time: 2 hours.

From the campground, the trailhead is at the end of the parking lot. Walk along the stream from the main trail to Pha Kluai Mai waterfall.

Near the waterfall you can see the volcanic rock. This trail passes through the greenery of the forest and the wild red orchid (Renanthera cocconea Lour.), which blooms from March to May.

Pha Kluai Mai literally means “orchid”.

Sometimes you can see a crocodile on the trail, so be careful. The end of the trail is Heo Suwat Falls, a beautiful and famous waterfall in the park.

Kong Kaew Nature Trail

Distance: 1.2 km. walking time: 45 minutes.

The trailhead is near the drawbridge behind the Visitor Center. Asphalt path with intersection sign.

There are steep climbs.

This trail passes through tropical forest and dry evergreen forest. The highlight of this route is the volcanic rock around the Kong Kaew waterfall. This area is habitat for white-handed gibbons and crowned gibbons, as well as pileated gibbons and hybrid gibbons.

Ponds of Khao Yai National Park

Sai Sorn Reservoir

Look at the transparency of the water – it feels like the fish are not swimming, but simply hanging in the air:

Looking at this pond, it is very difficult to believe that you are in Thailand and not in some Northern European country.

Very picturesque and unusual for Thailand.

Where to eat in Khao Yai National Park

The Visitor Center has a food court and restaurant.

There are also toilets there.

At the Visitor Center you can contact the staff to hire a guide or for other questions.

Conclusion

Overall, I really enjoyed it.

I recommend coming here for at least 1 full day. And if you are a big lover of wildlife, then you can spend much more time here.

There are several hotels near the park, as well as within the park – if you wish, you can stay in the park for several days.

I only completed one of the listed hiking routes and, in fact, I don’t regret it. The description of the route states that you can meet a crocodile, and along the road I saw a sign that said that vipers can crawl here. In addition, there are many different monkeys in the park, which are very aggressive by nature. In general, I love nature, but not enough to take risks.

By the way, if you leave your vehicle in a parking lot the path to which is blocked by a barrier (such as, for example, in front of Haew Narok Waterfall), then at 17:00 the barrier is closed! I thus found myself locked in the parking lot and we had to ask the military to let us out of there. In general, complete your visit to all places before 17:00 – otherwise it’s simply not safe for you.

As for leaving the park, you can leave later – the park is open for departure in the evening.

P.S.

Finally, a high-resolution photo of Pha Trom Jai Cliff – click on the photo to open a 108 Megapixel image.


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