Gifted by nature with beautiful beaches, mysterious caves, strange limestone rocks and various other fascinating geographical wonders, these national parks of Thailand are unique in every aspect., While one has abundant coral reefs, the other is rich with creatures like black bears, porcupines, Malayan sun bears and malkoha. While the 9-tier Mon Hin Lai waterfall and Nong Fa cave with stalactites and stalagmites are the highlights of one park here, the fascinating hot springs and the “sea of frogs” are features of the other park. In total, Thailand has about 150 national parks, the best of which are listed here.
Best National Parks in Thailand
Which of these would you like to visit on your trip to Thailand?
1. Ao Phang Nga National Park
Encompassing 42 karst islands, limestone cliffs, caves, beautiful beaches and a bay surrounded by lagoons, it is one of Thailand’s most famous national parks. Take a boat to explore Koh Panak Cave or visit “James Bond Island” – Khao Phing Kan, where the Bond film was shot. The emerald Andaman Sea also favors the growth of native mangrove vegetation, which you can visit on a boat.
entrance fees: INR 634 (Adult) | INR 211 (Children)
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2. If Buri National Park
Cui Buri National Park is rich in moist and dry evergreen forests and is abundant with various palm species. Fauna include Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs, gibbons, serows, Asian black bears, macaques, tigers, leopards, sambar, banteng and Fei’s muntjac. Various wildlife-watching platforms in Pa Yang will give you the pleasure of watching elephants bathing in the mud and frolicking in the water. Bring your own car or go on tours in 4×4 trucks. You can also rent bungalows and tents and spend a night in the jungle or take a 1-kilometre hike to the 15-tier Dong Ma Fai waterfall.
Time: 2 pm to evening
entrance fees: INR 422 (Adult) | INR 211 (Children)
3. Khao Sam Roy Yot National Park
Visit during January-February to spot migratory birds like Kentish Plover, Malayan Plover, Purple Swampen, Oriental Hobby, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Eastern Marsh Harrier. Take a boat trip through the Khao Daeng Canal to see the Irrawaddy dolphins. Other fauna include kingfisher species, egrets, herons, mudskippers, crab-eating macaques, pangolins, fishing cats, serows, etc. Trek through rocky terrain to reach the viewpoint and Sai and Keo cave. The best attraction here is the Buddhist temple inside the Phraya Nakhon Cave where sunlight enters through a hole in the roof. Laem Sala Beach is suitable for camping in Thailand’s national parks, where you can rent a campsite.
Time: 8 am – 3:30 pm
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4. Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is famous for the 7-tier Erawan Falls, which falls from the rocks and forms an azure colored pool, where a dip feels refreshing. Located in the Tenasserim hills, this national park also has four caves namely Pharat, Wang Bahdan, Rua and Mi where hiking is enjoyable. You can also see Khao Nom Nang Hill which stands in the shape of a breast near the waterfall.
Time: 8 am – 4:30 pm
entrance fees: INR 633 (Adult) | INR 422 (Children)
5. Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park
This is one of the best national parks in Thailand for sailing, speed boat rides, diving and snorkeling. The islands are blessed with sandy white beaches, inland saltwater lakes, sinkholes, caves and towering limestone hills where hiking is enjoyable. Limestone forestry and mangroves are flourishing here and what is notable here is the endemic Ang Thong Lady’s Slipper Orchid. Fauna include macaques, otters, leopard cats, wild boars, dusty-leaf monkeys, Pacific reef herons, white-bellied sea eagles, black bazaa, yellow-spotted trevally, and sea turtles in the coral gardens. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking or hiking to Vua Ta Lap Viewpoint and Bua Bok Cave.
entrance fees: INR 633 (Adult) | INR 316 (Children)
tip: It remains closed from November to the first three weeks of December.
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6. Khao Yai National Park
National Parks of Thailand on the Map Covering parts of the Khorat Plateau and the San Kamphaeng Range, Khao Yai is Thailand’s first national park and a paradise for climbers and hikers. Within the tropical forestry and grasslands, you’ll find coral-billed ground cuckoo, red junglefowl, red-headed trogon, Malayan porcupine, Indian elephant, gibbon, Asiatic black bear, wild boar, Ussuri dhole, Indian muntjac and southern pig-tail . Macaque. Haeo Suwat and Haeo Narok are one of the most important waterfalls in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.
entrance fees: INR 844 (Adult) | INR 422 (Children)
7. Kaeng Krachan National Park
This national park in Thailand near Bangkok is renowned for having the highest density of butterfly species and more than 420 bird species, including the Ratchet-tailed Treepe, Giant Pitta, Woolly-necked Stork and all the endemic broadbill and hornbill species. Many snakes like Oriental Vine Snake, Siamese Cat Snake, Red-headed Krait, Mountain Pit Viper and Blue Coral Snake can be seen here. Enjoy boating on the lake and rivers or take a hiking tour around Pa La-U and Thorthip Waterfalls. Camping at the headquarters checkpoint can also be fun!
Time: From 5 am to 5 pm. Closed from August to October
entrance fees: INR 633 (Adult) | INR 425 (Children)
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8. Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is famous for the ancient and diverse virgin rainforest, Rafflesia keri and Cheo Lan Lake where sailing can be enjoyed after exploring caves such as Nam Tal, Khang Gai and Diamond Cave. Take a bamboo raft or canoe to explore the Sok River and the surrounding mountain ranges and limestone cliffs. Enjoy trekking through the rainforests and spot creatures like Malayan tapir, tigers, gaur, sambar, muntjac, Asian elephant, wild boar, mouse deer, gibbons, pig-tailed macaques and Scolopendra cataractas.
Time: 6 am – 6 pm
entrance fees: INR 700 (Adult) | INR 320 (Children)
9. Mu Ya Surin National Park
With five islands on the Andaman Sea, Mu Ko Surin is one of Thailand’s popular national parks for diving and snorkeling. Richelieu Rock, Ko Surin Nua, Ko Surin Tai, and Ko Khai are possible locations. You can find snapper, cardinalfish, breams, pufferfish, unicornfish, angelfish, barracuda, butterflyfish, sea turtles, anemonefish, moray eels, whale sharks, and manta rays. February to April is the best time for diving and snorkeling. Other creatures that you can see here include bats, skinks, reticulated pythons, Bengal monitors etc.
entrance fees: INR 846 (Adult) | INR 430 (Children)
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10. In Similan National Park
It is one of the top 10 national parks of Thailand with eleven islands on the Andaman Sea. The granite islands on the crystal clear sea are rich with rainforests, white beaches and coral reefs around them. Visit from December to April to spot Nicobar pigeons, flying foxes, mangrove monitor lizards, sea turtles and other island fauna. After the diving trip you can stay overnight on the boats.
entrance fees: INR 1056 (Adult) | INR 634 (Children)
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Make sure to include all these above mentioned national parks of Thailand in your itinerary for a complete Thailand vacation experience.
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