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Khao Yai National Park is Thailand's oldest park in one of Asia's richest treasure houses of flora and fauna.

Founded in 1962, its 2,168 square kilometres embrace one of the continent's largest remaining ram forests. Its slopes are covered by three types of evergreen forest including the mountain or hill evergreen forest which contains cool climate species like oaks, chestnuts, and birches.

Areas cut by homesteading farmers in the 1930s are now covered in elephant and lalang grasses which provide unrivalled opportunities to observe sambar and barking deer. Most wild animal species living in Thailand are found in Khao Yai. The mammals most commonly seen are barking deer, sambar, civets, pig-tailed macaque and white-handed gibbon...

Map of the region of Korat

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One of Thailand's largest herds of wild elephants roams the jungle and crosses its roads. At night, the mammoth beasts often forage in the woods and bamboo groves along the road. Tigers civets, and leopard cats are also often seen along the roads at night. Heard more often than seen are white-handed gibbons and, in the east, pileated gibbons. Tiger tracks can be spotted, often only a short distance from the headquarters. Other park inhabitants are shrews, bats, Asiatic black bears, Malayan sun bears, pig-tailed macaques, slow loris, wild dogs, fishing cats, hog badgers, several kinds of civets, binturong, leopard cats, mouse deer, gaur, serow, giant black squirrels, clouded leopards, leopards, marbled cats, giant porcupines, and hares. Reticulated pythons, Siamese cobras, green tree vipers, monitor lizards, skinks, flying Draco lizards and other reptiles are often seen as are frogs and other amphibians.

Khao Yai holds about 320 bird species, and is the best place to spot undisturbed forest species of the middle elevations including four species of hornbill (including the giant, great and wreathed hornbills), five species of barbets, two trogons, four broadbills, several pitas, mountain imperial pigeon, emerald dove, mountain scope owl, forest eagle owl, the tiny collared owlet, blue-winged leaf bird, Asian fairy bluebird, racket-tailed drongos, the lovely green magpie, three species of laughing thrush and many types of bulbuls. Khao Yai also has many silver pheasants, scaly breasted partridges and some Siamese fire back pheasants. The diminutive green hanging parrot can be heard flying overhead more easily than it can be seen. Near the rivers and ponds one may find white-throated kingfisher and along roads and clearings the gorgeous wild red jungle fowl, the progenitor of the domestic chicken.

Both tropical and temperate trees grow on the fertile hills as do a wide variety of flowers including wild orchids.

Khao Yai National Park  

A monkey


The Kong Kaew Nature Trail, which begins behind the Visitor's Centre, introduces the hiker to the flora of Khao Yai. It can be walked comfortably in a half hour along a trail that crosses a swinging bridge, runs along the riverbank and passes Kong Kaew Waterfall. The Mo Singto trail is short but rich with tropical plants. It begins across the road from the park headquarters and runs through evergreen forest for about one kilometre. On the trail one may see deer, birds, gibbons and, possibly, bear. Begin the trail to Nong Pakchi at the same place but, at the intersection mentioned above, continue straight along the ridge before curving to the right. Just beyond Wang Jampee it crosses the Lam Takhong River, which may require a knee-deep wade. It then emerges from the jungle to climb a thickly-grassed hill to the Nong Pakchi watchtower, which provides a spectacular view of animals and the surrounding countryside. Return to the main park road via a one kilometer dirt road, turn right and two kilometers later arrive at the headquarters.Two salt licks near the viewpoint at KM 30 are frequented by elephants. It is also a good observation point for hornbills and other birds. Khao Yai is filled with forty-four waterfalls that flow copiously in the rainy season. Haew Narok (Heu Waterfall), the largest, drops 150 meters in three stages, the tallest being 60 meters.


Every climate offers its own attractions in the park of Khao Yai. The waterfalls are more abundant between June and October. The observation of the birds is better in April and May although there are some during all year round. The storks are very visible in August and September.




The trails around Haew Narok Waterfall are treacherous. Not only have tourists slipped and fallen to their deaths but in recent years three elephant calves have tumbled over precipices. In the first instance, the mother attempted to rescue them but after a heroic struggle, all three were swept over the falls and drowned.

The dry season brings ticks and the wet season spawns leeches. Keep a safe distance from elephants. They look like harmless circus jumbos but they spook easily and can be dangerous. Avoid taking flash photographs.

Hotels in Khao Yai:
 1st Hotel   Sak Phu Duan Resort  
 2nd Hotel Juldis Khao Yai Hotel
 More Hotels All Hotels in Khao Yai

  Story "Heaven and Hell at the Isaan gateway"

" Heaven and Hell at the Isaan gateway... "

The region of Korat, at the door of Isaan, offers different interesting places to visit, little or unknown by tourists. I present to you now "Heaven and Hell" with on one hand the vast national park of Khao Yai and on the other the strange temple named Wat Pa Lak Roy situated a few kilometres from Nakhon Ratchasima.

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