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All you need to know to visit Khao Yai

Northeastern Thailand
127 km from Bangkok
Province of Nakhon Ratchasima
Thai prononciation : Kao yaï


Recomm. stay
2 days


Practical guide to go and visit Khao Yai

Khao Yai is a national park located about 200 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, making it a perfect getaway for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in nature. It is one of the best places in Thailand to go on a trek and observe wild animals including elephants if you are lucky. I would even say the best place in Thailand to see wildlife if you go with a good guide.

The park is spread over 4 provinces but in general, people visit it from its northern entrance near Pak Chong in Nakhon Ratchasima province. It is the most convenient option to access the most interesting places inside the park and Pak Chong is easy to go by transport, bus or train, from Bangkok. Khao Yai National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, in particular for the enormous richness and diversity of its fauna and flora. It is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Thailand. It is home to an incredible diversity of plants and animals including elephants, tigers, monkeys, gibbons, snakes, and many kinds of birds. You can go on day or night safaris to experience the natural beauty of the park.

Khao Yai is also famous for its superb waterfalls. Haew Narok Waterfall is the most famous and offers an impressive spectacle when the water rushes from a height of more than 150 meters but you can also visit the Haew Suwat (the one from the movie The Beach) and Haew Sai waterfalls, which offer equally stunning scenery.

Outside the park, there are also interesting places, often little known to foreign tourists, such as a small stretch of river with incredibly clear and blue water, a fantastic temple, some nice cave temples and also vineyards. The region has an ideal climate for growing grapes, and several vineyards offer wine tastings. But I must say that is not the best wine I have drank in my life but it's always interesting to discover and taste.

In summary, Khao Yai is a must-see destination for nature and wildlife-watching lovers. Whether you want to explore the national park, admire the waterfalls, taste local wine or visit amazing temples and relax in clear river waters, you will love this part of Thailand! But do not go only with basic tours that just take you to the park by car or van and show you viewpoints and accessible waterfalls. Choose treks with a guide to go deep into the jungle. This is the only way you will experience the true beauty of this park and its exceptional nature!

khao yai

Accommodations in Khao Yai

Here, I will mainly focus on accommodations near Pak Chong, the closest town to the Northern entrance to Khao Yai National Park, which is the most used one. There is a wide choice of hotels near Khao Yai. Some very luxurious, others more affordable. You will find many resort with architecture imitating Italy or European styles. It can be confusing but Thais love it! And the overwhelming majority of visitors to Khao Yai are Thai. When choosing a hotel, try to make sure beforehand that it offers the tours in the park that you want to do or that the tour company that you have chosen (or the one that I recommend, if that is the one you choose), can pick you up there.

Note that it is also possible to camp in the Khao Yai national park (they provide the equipment) or to rent bungalows from the Visitor's Center.

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My recommandations

People often ask me what accommodations I recommend in Thailand, here are my recommandations in Khao Yai.

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Practical information about Khao Yai

There are day tour packages to Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok. But often, they just take you touring the park in a van and stopping at some attractions (mainly waterfalls and viewpoints), the most notable and easily accessible. You will miss the essential: going deep into the jungle and seeing wild animals. Especially gibbons, which are probably the animals we see the most. Instead, try to go to Khao Yai, spend a night there, and take a full-day trek with a guide. I recommend a company that I have personally tested and whose tour has a very good quality/price ratio in the ''Tours'' section.

It is also possible to camp in Khao Yai Park or rent bungalows from the Visitor's Center.

How to get around in Khao Yai ?

If you don't have your own transportation when visiting Khao Yai, you will quickly be limited in your movements. That's the whole point of taking excursions with tour agencies that will take transport you wherever you need to. GRAB application also works in Pak Chong to order VTC. This is another possibility for getting around in Khao Yai but I'm not sure the offer is very prolific as we are quite far from Bangkok and nakhon Ratchasima.

Other places to see in Khao Yai

Wat Tham Khao Wong Khao Yai
Wat Tham Khao Wong
More than a tourist attraction, this temple not far from Khao Yai National Park is a place for meditation. It has a system of caves galleries in the mountain arranged to accommodate monks and faithful for 2 meditation sessions per day.
Khao Yai Bat Cave Khao Yai
Khao Yai Bat Cave
We come to this cave for the amazing spectacle of the millions of bats that live there flying out at nightfall, then returning in the early morning, always in a long, endless black cloud. An impressive nature spectacle that lasts more than 2 hours.

Weather & climate in Khao Yai

You can visit Khao Yai all year round. Khao Yai enjoys a tropical climate with a dry season and a rainy season. The rainiest months are from May to October, with more abundant rainfall. During this period, showers can be frequent, sometimes intense, and the lush vegetation brings the national park to life. The months with the best weather in Khao Yai are usually November to February. During this period, temperatures are cooler and more pleasant, with sunny days and less precipitation. This is the perfect time to explore the national park, hike or enjoy the waterfalls without being too affected by the heat or heavy rains. It is important to note that even during the rainy season there can be sunny and pleasant days in Khao Yai. Rain showers are often short-lived and can cool the atmosphere after a hot day.

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How to ask in Thai to go to Khao Yai ?

I want to go to Khao Yai / Yak paï ti Kao yaï.
Where is Khao Yai ? / Kao yaï you ti naï ?
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