Five Fantastic National Parks To Visit In Thrilling Thailand

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Photo of Five Fantastic National Parks To Visit In Thrilling Thailand by Priya Pareek

Often referred to as 'Land of Smiles', Thailand is the land of breathtaking beaches, captivating culture, fascinating flora and fauna and a tropical climate. No wonder, it is one of the most visited country in Southeast Asia. Thailand is where the spirit is set free to smile in the bright sunshine. Friendly, exotic and full of fun, Thailand surely offers complete relaxation and rejuvenation for brain, body and soul. While glittering temples and tropical beaches make it a famous tourist destination, its national parks are hidden gems that promise to get you closer to nature. Here are the best national parks to spot tigers, elephants, leopards, gaurs, bears roaming free in many national parks across the country.

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Kaeng Krachan National Park Phetchaburi Thailand by Priya Pareek

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Kaeng Krachan National Park Phetchaburi Thailand by Priya Pareek

The largest national park in Thailand, Kaeng Krachan National Park is a wildlife enthusiast's paradise. The park is known to be one of the most diverse wildlife areas in the country. It is located in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces, bound by the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve along Myanmar's border to the west. Declared as a national park on 12 June 1981, Kaeng Krachan National Park covers a reservoir and mainly rain forests with rich flora and fauna. When it comes to natural beauty, the place stands green, graceful and glorious with cascading water streams and rivers. To catch spectacular scenery, visit the national park around December-March when dense morning mist covers the park and hill tops stick above misty cloud. Birdwatchers hold your breathe as the park is home to over 420 species of birds including ratchet tailed treepie, white-fronted scops owl, giant pitta, woolly-necked stork, great argus and grey-headed fish eagle. Several species of snakes and mammals call for an adrenaline rush when sighted in the park premises.

Highlight: Bird-watching and butterfly-watching

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Entrance fee: ₹600 for foreigners, ₹400 for children, ₹200 for Thai adults and ₹80 Thai children.

Best time to visit: December to March

Where to stay: Kaengkrachan Riverside Resort, Kaengkrachan Boathouse Paradise Resort

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Khao Yai National Park Hin Tung Nakhon Nayok Thailand by Priya Pareek

Credits: Flickr

Photo of Khao Yai National Park Hin Tung Nakhon Nayok Thailand by Priya Pareek

Established in 1962 as Thailand's first national park, Khao Yai offers some of the most exotic species of birds and animals. Covering an area of 2,168 square kilometres, it is the third largest national park in Thailand. If you are an adventure junkie then get this park on your wishlist right away because where else can you enjoy hiking and mountain climbing amid spectacular views and fascinating wildlife? The Sankamphaeng Mountain Range makes it a popular destination for hikers and mountain climbers. When it comes to wildlife, Khao Yai never disappoints the visitors as one can spot diverse varieties of birds, reptiles and mammals roaming and relaxing in the park. Some common mammals include elephants, bears, gaurs, barking deer, otters, gibbons and macaques. The national park is home to around 300 resident and migratory birds and has one of Thailand's largest populations of hornbills.

Highlight: Migratory birds and hiking

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Entrance Fee: ₹800 for adults and ₹200 THB for children

Best time to visit: March-April

Where to stay: Monlada Khaoyai, Muthi Maya Forest Pool Villa Resort

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Khao Sok National Park Khlong Sok Surat Thani Thailand by Priya Pareek

Credits: Flickr

Photo of Khao Sok National Park Khlong Sok Surat Thani Thailand by Priya Pareek

Located in the Surat Thani Province, Khao Sok National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Thailand. It was established as Thailand's 22nd national park in 1980 by The Royal Forest Department. The park has wide diversity of flora and fauna owing to the frequent rains that bless this spot. It is, in fact, considered the rainiest spot in Thailand. In addition to hundreds of exotic bird species, the park has wildcats, deer, tapirs, elephants and boars. One can also spot one of the world’s largest flowers, the increasingly rare Rafflesia kerrii. While rains convert this place into a heaven of lush green forests, it is recommended to visit the Khao Sok National Park during dry season. Flooding is common between April and June and many trails are slippery. What makes this park a major preference among tourists is the relatively convenient distance to Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak.

Highlight: Rafflesia kerrii (one of world's largest flower)

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Entrance fee: ₹600 for foreigners and ₹80 for Thai citizens

Best time to visit: June and October

How to reach: Surat Thani International Airport is the nearest to Khao Sok National Park

Where to stay: Khao Sok River Lodge, Khao Sok Palmview Resort, Khao Sok Jungle Hut

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Doi Inthanon National Park Ban Luang Chiang Mai Thailand by Priya Pareek

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Doi Inthanon National Park Ban Luang Chiang Mai Thailand by Priya Pareek

This is the place where nature embraces mankind and beauty graces humanity as the park offers diverse wildlife, breathtaking views and high altitudes. Also known as "The Roof of Thailand", Doi Inthanon National Park has the highest mountain in Thailand. It covers an area of 482 km² in Chiang Mai province north of Thailand. The park is part of the Himalayan mountain range, and the elevation ranges between 800 and 2565 metre with the highest peak at Doi Inthanon. Besides several waterfalls, few trails and the two chedis (stupas) make this park a perfect tourist spot. Siamese sakura flowers covering trees in pink are a visual treat during late January and February. The flora consists of sphagnum bog, dry evergreen pine, moist and dense evergreen cloud forest, mixed deciduous teak and dipterocarp forests. The park is home to 362 bird species which is second highest in Thailand after Kaeng Krachan National Park. Birds like green-tailed sunbird, sikkim treecreeper, maroon oriole, ashy-throated warbler, green/purple cochoa, bar-throated minla, green-tailed sunbird and rufous-winged fulvetta fly around freely in the skies and surroundings of this park.

Highlight: Doi Inthanon summit and Siamese sakura flowers

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Entrance fee: ₹600 for foreign adults, ₹100 for Thai adults

Best Time to visit: December to March

Where to stay: Fuang Fah Camping

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Ao Phang-nga National Park Ko Panyi Phang-nga Thailand by Priya Pareek

Situated in the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand, this park has more than 40 islands with beautiful cliffs, caves and the largest remaining mangrove forests in Thailand. Ao Phang Nga National Park is known for its limestone rock formations. World renowned for white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. The park also flaunts rich natural beauties and thousand year old archaeological sites. Pre-historic paintings on the cliff, stone tools, pottery, etc make up the remaining material evidences for pre-historic human activity. Ao Phang-Nga's marine limestone environment conceals reptiles like two-banded monitors, flying lizards, Bengal monitor lizards, banded sea snakes, shore pit vipers and Malayan pit vipers. You can also spot some mammals like serows, white-handed gibbons, crab-eating macaques and dusky langurs. While you get busy beholding the breathtaking beauty of this location, do not forget to enjoy sea-canoeing which is a popular activity in the park.

Highlight: Limestone rock formations

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM

Entrance fee: ₹400

Best time to visit: November to April

Where to stay: Six Senses Yao Noi, Koyao Island Resort

This time when you visit Thailand, discover beyond bold beaches of the country and get naughty with nature in these spectacular national parks.

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