Thailand is a nation with several incredible national parks. If you visit this diverse and beautiful country, Thailand’s national parks contrast with the more urbanized areas near most hotels and resorts. These parks give you the opportunity to see some of Thailand’s untouched nature and wildlife. Here are some of the most incredible national parks in the country.
1. Ao Phang Nga National Park
Ao Phang Nga National Park is a marine park in southern Thailand, in the province of Phang Nga. There is quite a lot to see in this park so it is good that you spend at least a few days here. The park includes a bay of 42 karst islands, with a series of beautiful beaches, impressive limestone cliffs, caves and lagoons to explore. The most popular location is James Bond Island, named after a part of The Man with the Golden Gun that was filmed here. If you enjoy exploring caves, you’ll want to take a day trip to Koh Panak cave, which can only be done by boat.
Thailand national parks map
2. Khao Sok National Park
This national park, located in Surat Thani province, consists mainly of tropical rainforest and jungle. In fact, it is considered the rainiest place in Thailand, which helps maintain a great diversity of plants and animals. In addition to hundreds of bird species, the park is home to wild cats, deer, tapirs, elephants and wild boars. There is also one of the largest flowers in the world, the increasingly rare Rafflesia kerrii, which in Thailand only lives in Khao Sok. The dry season, between June and October, is the optimal time to visit. Between April and June, it is the monsoon season, when flooding is frequent and many trails are slippery.
3. Mu Ko Similan National Park
Mu Ko Similan National Park is another of Thailand’s marine parks, an archipelago of 11 islands 70 km (43 miles) off the Andaman Sea. These granite islands are as beautiful above the water as they are below, crowned by rainforest, surrounded by white sandy beaches and fringed by coral reefs. Between December and April, the waters are very clear, making it a good time for snorkeling and diving. Some islands, such as Ko Miang and Ko Simlan, have hotels and restaurants. There are several companies that offer diving trips to the islands. In some of them you can stay on the ship for several nights and go on diving trips during the day.
4. Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan is Thailand’s largest national park and is located on the border of Tanintharyi Nature Reserve in Myanmar. The park is mostly made up of rainforest and is famous for the dense morning mist that covers the park with hills that cling to the haze clouds between December and March, creating a spectacular view. The park is also well known for its diverse wildlife, especially birds and butterflies. More than 400 species of birds have been identified there, including rare species such as the giant pitta, the great argú and the full-necked storks. There are also many mammals, such as leopards, wild dogs, bears, and elephants. You can take boat rides in one of the parks, two rivers or a large lake. Kaeng Krachan National Park is an exciting destination for a variety of activities, including hiking through forests, bird watching, boating, or climbing one of the park’s high peaks.
5. Mu Ko Surin National Park
Mu Ko Surin is a group of protected islands in the Andaman Sea, 60 km (37 miles) from the mainland. These islands offer many places for snorkelling, with clear waters, impressive coral reefs, and many types of fish, sea turtles and other types of marine life. There are also some great places to dive, like Richelieu Rock, a world famous dive site. You can take organized tours to this marine park or visit it on your own. Some islands offer campsites or bungalows for rent. Mu Ko Surin National Park is the perfect destination if you want to spend some time relaxing on the beach or snorkeling.
6. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
Located in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, this national park is distinguished by its limestone hills. The name of the park means “mountain with 300 peaks”. Many visitors come here to see Phaya Nakhon Cave, a large cave that houses a Buddhist temple. The park is also a popular destination for bird watchers, and some 300 species of birds can be seen here. January and February are particularly suitable for the observation of migratory birds. If you are staying in Hua Hin, it is easy to organize a day trip to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
7. Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park, located in central Thailand, was established in 1962 as Thailand’s first national park. This park is located in the Sankamphaeng mountain range, making it a popular destination for hikers and climbers. You will also find other landscapes such as grasslands and rainforests. The park is also attractive to wildlife lovers. Some of the species you will likely see here include gibbons, leopards, monkeys, and elephants. Although now rare, it is even possible to spot a tiger. There are also many waterfalls in the park, the largest being Haew Narok.
8. Kuiburi National Park
Located near the Myanmar border, Kui Buri National Park is recognized as one of Thailand’s top wildlife viewing destinations, especially elephants. Herds of elephants can often be found bathing in the ponds near the Pa Yang substation, which is equipped with wildlife viewing platforms. While visitors are allowed to drive their own vehicles in the park, you should take a guided tour to explore the protected areas of the park. Tours are carried out in vans or 4 × 4 vehicles. You can rent tents or bungalows if you want to stay overnight. If you come here between May and November you must expect a lot of rain. The driest months are generally June and July.
9. Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park
Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, in the Gulf of Thailand, is a marine national park made up of 42 islands. The best way to see this park is to take a boat trip or rent your own. Speedboats and kayaks are popular here. There are many great places for snorkeling and diving. You can rent tents or bungalows if you want to stay for one or more nights. Several islands have beautiful white sand beaches, while others have mountains where you can hike and enjoy splendid views at the top. In addition to a wide variety of marine life, monkeys, otters, wild boars, dust-leaved monkeys and macaques can be seen on the islands.
10. Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is located in western Thailand, in Kanchanaburi province. One of the biggest attractions in the park is Erawan Falls, a seven-level waterfall named after an elephant in Hindu mythology. You can climb this waterfall and swim in the pools. This park also has several caves that can be explored. The easiest way to get to the park is to take a bus from Kanchanaburi, which takes around an hour and a half. There are several buses each day so this is an easy day trip. If you want to spend more than a day in Erawan National Park, you can camp or rent a bungalow.