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KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK TRAVEL GUIDE

Thailand's finest nature reserve

Khao Yai National Park is Thailand's third largest nature reserve. And with it's amazing nature and close proximity to Bangkok, it is a great and popular place for city breaks... Read our Khao Yai National Park Travel Guide to get essential tips before you arrive.

Hiking

The park offers many trail options from 500 m up to 8 km in length. Some shorter trails can be done alone, but other ones strictly require you to be accompanied by a park guide. The price for the guide is per group, and varies depending on the length of the trail. You can ask at the Visitor's Center if you can join other groups.

Waterfalls

There is a number of stunning waterfalls in the park. Haew Suwat Waterfall is probably the most famous one in Khao Yai. It was made famous in the film 'The Beach’, when Leonardo DiCaprio jumped right off it. Swimming is not allowed.

During the hot season some waterfalls might be almost dry.

Wildlife Safaris

Many companies offer daytime and night safaris (500 baht/ person) for wildlife watching. While many of them advertise that you’ll see elephants, leopards, gibbons and more, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see much of anything at all. You’ll be on a truck with 15 other people and with about 50 other trucks in front and behind you. Every truck is shining a huge bright light into the darkness in the attempt to see the wildlife. So you can easily guess that animals are likely to stay away from the visited areas.

During my stay at the park, I unfortunately only saw some barking deers and macaques. But if you’re lucky enough, you might be able to see more wildlife. It was definitely great to be out in the nature, camping and engaging with local Thai tourists.

Click here to read more on how to camp at Khao Yai National Park.

How to get to Khao Yai National Park

To get to Khao Yai National Park, you’ll first need to go to Pak Chong, which is the nearest small town to the park.

From Bangkok to Pak Chong

By bus: Khorat-bound buses go from Bangkok’s Morchit bus (Northern) terminal, departures from around 6am-7pm. Travel time is 2:30-3hrs, cost 130-150 baht.

By train: There are 11 daily connections from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station. Travel time is 3:20-4:10hrs, cost is 36/ 82/ 161 baht for 3rd/ 2nd/ 1st class respectively.

Departure time: every 1-3 hours between 5:45-22:25 Click here for the train schedule.
 

From Ayutthaya to Pak Chong

By train: The best way to get from Ayutthaya to Pak Chong is by train. There are 11 daily connections from Ayutthaya train station, it is the same train which is going from Bangkok.

Travel time is about 2:20hrs, cost is 23/ 53/ 102 baht for 3rd/ 2nd/ 1st class respectively.

Departure time: every 1-3 hours between 5:45-22:25 Click here for the train schedule.
 

From Pak Chong to Khao Yai National Park

By songthaew: The public songthaew stand is a little bit tricky to find, but following these directions will get you there. Getting out of the train station in Pak Chong walk straight ahead for about 200 meters until you get to the main road. Turn left and walk for another 400 meters. Pay attention to the shops on your left hand side, when you see stairs leading up to Tops daily supermarket, the songthaew stop in just in front of the store. There will be pick-up trucks waiting.

They run between 6am-5pm directly to the national park’s northern gate, cost is 30-40 baht, travel time 40 minutes

Renting a scooter: You can rent a scooter for 300 baht/ day in Pak Chong. There are a few rental shops on the main road near the footbridge, for example KhaoYai Motorcycle (see directions on map). Scooters can also be rented at the northern gate of the national park for 600 baht/ day (number of scooters is limited.

Getting around

If you’re not traveling by car or motorbike, the easiest way to get around the park is to hitchhike. It is common and safe. You won’t wait more than a few minutes till you’re picked up by a park ranger, or a friendly Thai family who is likely going on a camping trip themselves.

When to go

The park is good to visit all throughout the year. December and January are the peak months for local tourist, when temperatures are cooler. Generally during the weekends the campgrounds are very busy, so if your flexible with the time, choose to go during the week.

You might also get a different experience from visiting the park during the rainy season (June-October). This is when waterfalls are most impressive and nature is at its best.

Nights can get pretty cold at the park, so if you're planning to camp, make sure to bring some warm clothes such as a sweater and long trousers. Do not leave food out in the open, as barking deers are frequent visitors to campsites.

Opening hours

Both southern and northern gates are open daily from 6:00-18:00.

Overnight stays in the park are allowed in cabins or at campsites.

Admission

Foreigners - 400 baht
Thais - 40 baht
Car - 50 baht
Motorbike - 20 baht

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