The national parks in Thailand are filled with different species of tigers, elephants, leopards, tapirs, gaurs, bears, and several monkey species. The tropical rainforests across Thailand are the most attractive national parks in the world. Most of the marine species in the world can be found in Thailand. You can see the best and varieties of birds in Thailand and is considered as the best bird-watching destination in Asia.
National parks are protected safe lands with a diverse number of native plants and animals. There are 127 national parks in Thailand apart from which 22 are marine national parks. You can see the diverse flora and fauna across these parks.
The amazing national parks in Thailand make a good contrast to attract more tourists. If you visit this diverse and beautiful country, you’ll be able to see the unspoiled wilderness and wildlife in the national parks.
Let’s have a look at some of the most incredible national parks in Thailand.
1. Khao Sok National Park:
Being the most popular mainland national park destination in South Thailand, Khao Sok national park is a rainforest with a great diversity of plants and wildlife. It is one of the biggest national parks in Thailand. The national park is easily accessible from Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, Ao Nang, etc.
The limestone hills, waterfalls, lush jungle, raft houses spread over the lake, caves, and water stream. The Sok River is the most popular in this national park. The park covers 739 sq.kms land area that includes dams and reservoirs.
The relatively convenient distance to tourist destinations like Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, and Khao Lak makes it the most popular national park in Thailand. The whole complex is surrounded by 12 areas including some offshore islands of the Andaman Sea.
It is claimed to be one of the oldest evergreen rainforests in the world. You’ll witness many exotic wild mammals such as Asian elephant, Malayan tapir, and gibbons.
It is more famous for the symbolic large flower of Surat Thani Province, Bua Phut (Rafflesia kerrii). This flower can be up to 70-80 cm in diameter, blooming only during the period of October to December. This flower is the world’s largest flower which lives only in Khao Sok.
There are two main areas of the park; Cheow Lan Lake and the area around the headquarters. The wet season is between April and December, and heavy rain is between June-November. The dry season is January to April, average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 36°C all around the year.
You can reach the place with a private taxi/minivan which is much cheaper than the alternatives.
2. Kui Buri National Park:
Kui Buri national park is known to be the best elephant and gaur sighting place in Thailand. It is the best destination for wildlife lovers and you’ll see elephants in this park on any day of the year.
Kui Buri National Park is located in the Tenasserim Hills in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. It is covered by dry and moist evergreen forests with trees like Dipterocarpus tuberculatus, Hopea odorata, Terminalia chebula, and other species of palms.
This national park is the home to the biggest population of gaurs in Thailand. Although the national park doesn’t have that many mammals, it is the best spot for seeing some rare species as it is an easily accessible open area.
The other common mammals you can see in this park includes golden jackal, deer, langur, Burmese hare, Malayan porcupine, and wild boar. The common birds like Kui Buri, cattle egret, red jungle fowl, crested fireback, Indian roller, and Asian openbill can also be seen in this national park..
3. Doi Inthanon National Park:
Doi Inthanon national park is one of the popular national parks in Thailand. It is famous for its waterfalls, remote villages, picturesque montane farms, several viewpoints of sunrise and sunset, and birdwatching.
The year-round cool weather makes it the favorite destination among the tourists. It is also known as the roof of Thailand. It covers an area of 482 km² in Chiang Mai province north of Thailand. The park is also part of the Himalayan mountain elevation ranges between 800 and 2,565 meters.
The highest peak is located at Doi Inthanon which is the highest mountain in Thailand. You’ll feel high humidity and cold weather all year round at this park. The average daily temperatures are normally around 10-12 °C at the higher elevations.
The park is named after the last king of Chiang Mai (King Inthawichayanon) who was always concerned to preserve the forests in the north of Thailand. After his death, this place was renamed as Doi Inthanon.
You can witness the flora and fauna across the forest that consists of moist evergreen forests, sphagnum bog on elevations, pine, and mixed deciduous teak and dipterocarp forests on the lower elevations.
4. Erawan National Park :
Erawan National Park is Thailand’s 12th National Park, located in West Thailand in the Tenasserim Hills of Kanchanaburi Province.
It is one of the most famous national parks in Thailand and one of the best tourist destinations. Erawan falls with emerald green ponds is the major attraction in this national park. This waterfall is named after the three-headed white elephant according to Hindu mythology.
Maximum of the park is mixed with deciduous forest, the dipterocarp and dry evergreen forest.
This park consists of limestone hills with elevation from 165 to 996 meters above the sea level. The hills protect the park from eastern monsoon resulting in less rainfall on average.
The best time to go to this national park is November to January, during the winter season with cool weather and the average temperature of 30°C. The summer season is from Feb to April.
If you’ll explore the forest a bit deeper, you can see some more exciting animals like Indian muntjac, wild elephants, Lar gibbon, Indochinese serow, wild boar, and sambar deer.
The common birds in the park are crested serpent eagle, black-naped monarch, blue whistling thrush, black-crested bulbul, blue-winged leafbird, dark-necked tailorbird, green-billed malkoha, grey peacock-pheasant, and kalij pheasant.
The major tourist attraction in this park is the Erawan falls which a seven-tiered waterfall is named after a mythical elephant. You can also climb up and bathe in the pools. You can explore the caves too.
Take a bus from Kanchanaburi that takes about half an hour and is the most considerable option for you. There are multiple buses every day. You can also go by booking taxis or cabs. If you want to spend more than a day at Erawan National Park, you can camp out or rent a bungalow.
5. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park:
Khao Sam Roi Yot national park is located in the coastal part of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. It is the 1st marine national park in Thailand.
The meaning of Khao Sam Roi Yot is, the mountain with 300 peaks. It refers to the series of limestone hills along the Gulf of Thailand which are 605m above sea level.
The northwest corner of the mountain range is called Thung Sam Roi Yot and is mainly the freshwater marsh covering most parts of the park which makes the largest wetlands area in Thailand.
The main attractions of the national park are Phraya Nakhon Cave which has an iconic royal pavilion and huge chambers. The attractive destination of the park are its rich wildlife mangrove forest, pristine beaches, limestone cliffs, trails, and the viewpoints.
You can reach the national park easily from Hua Hin and Bangkok.
It is home to a great diversity of bird species making it a great destination for birders where they can find varieties of species of birds. Around 300 species of migratory birds are in this national park and is one of the best places in Thailand to see the waterbirds between Asia and Australia around January and February.
Some of the common birds in this national park are Purple swamphen, Malayan plover, Kentish plover, white-bellied sea eagle, greater spotted eagle, oriental hobby, eastern marsh harrier, spoon-billed sandpiper, etc.
The forest areas are on mountains and are home for many mammals such as dusky leaf monkey, crab-eating macaque, Malayan porcupine, mainland serow, fishing cat, and Malayan pangolin. You can easily see the dolphins around the coast when you are on a boat trip from hotels.
6. Tarutao National Marine Park:
Tarutao National Marine Park is one of the national parks in Thailand covering 1490 sq km area in southern Thailand at Satun province in the Andaman Sea.
The park consists of an archipelago of 51 islands within two groups such as the east and west. There are 3 archipelagos in the park namely Tarutao, Klang, and Adang. This park has been declared as the ASEAN heritage parks and reserves. The crocodile population is believed to be extinct in the national park across Thailand.
Boar, civet, mouse deer, hornbill, langur, various raptors, reticulated python, and king cobra are some of the common species seen in the park. There are also domestic cattle that have adapted wildlife for many decades and the number is increasing.
7. Kaeng Krachan National Park:
Kaeng Krachan is a national park in Thailand covering an area of 2914 sq km and is the largest national park in Thailand.
The park is located in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces bounded by the Taintharyi nature reserve near the Myanmar border. The park is not only part of the rainforest area but also covers 19 protected sites between Myanmar and Thailand border.
This national park is famous for its diverse wildlife and the dense morning mist covered with hilltops sticking above the misty cloud around December to March.
Phetchaburi and Pran Buri are the two rivers at this national park and both originated from Tanaosri ranges. The water stream drains to the Phetchaburi River and it flows to the north side of the park to the Gulf of Thailand.
Kaeng Krachan National Park covers a reservoir and mainly rain forests with rich flora and fauna. The highest elevation is a peek at the Myanmar border at around 1500 meters.
8. Khao Yai National Park:
Khao Yai national park is no doubt the best national park in Thailand for frequent visitors to see the number of interesting animals. This is Thailand’s 1st national park and the 3rd largest national park. It is situated mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima province. It is only 2.5 hours away from the country capital. This park covers an area of 2168 sq-km including the evergreen forests and grasslands. Khao Rom is the highest mountain within the park with a height of 1351 meters.
Khao Yai is a part of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest which is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO. It covers 5 protected areas from Khao Yai to the Cambodia border. There are several other protected areas that include the Pang Sida National Park, Thap Lan national park, Ta Phraya National Park, and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary.
You’ll see many animals including elephant, macaque, barking deer, sambar deer, gibbon, porcupine, and civet. The bear, gaur, otters, dhole, jackal are also seen in this national park. The national park is home to around 300 resident and migratory birds and has one of Thailand’s largest populations of hornbills.
The birds include barbets, scarlets, minivets, broadbills, pittas, mountain scops-owls, blue-winged leaf birds, Asian fairy bluebirds, and many more. You can also witness several ground-dwelling birds such as silver pheasants, junglefowl, green-legged partridges, and Siamese fireback are common on the roads and trails.
The best time to visit the national park is during the dry months (March to May) when the migration happens.
9. Ao Phang Nga National Park:
Ao Phang Nga National Park is a marine park in Thailand. It is one of the best tourist destinations which attracts many tourists throughout the year. There are many things to explore in this park, so if you can spend a few days here, it’s good for you to see more things.
The park comprises a bay of 42 karst islands with many beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, caves, and lagoons to explore. The most popular spot is James Bond Island, given the name after the man with the golden gun movie was filmed here. If you want to explore the caves, take a day trip to Koh Panak Caves which can be only entered by boats.
10. Mu Ko Similan National Park:
Mu Ko Similan National Park is Thailand’s marine park which is an archipelago of 11 islands off the coast of the Andaman Sea.
It is the most beautiful above the water as below and topped with rainforest. It is also surrounded by the white sand beaches and coral reefs which makes the place more exemplary.
The water is crystal clear between December to April, making it a good time for water sports activities like snorkeling and scuba diving. The island Ko Miang and Ko Similan have hotels and restaurants for tourists. There are several companies that offer diving tours of the islands. You can also stay aboard the boat for several nights and go on diving excursions during your trip.
Many countries have their national parks, but the ones in Thailand will surprise you with a stunningly beautiful and diverse nature. You can experience the unspoiled wilderness, waterfalls, towering cliffs, and also fascinating sites. These places will definitely gain an appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you. The above incredible national parks in Thailand should belong on your travel bucket list if you want to explore the wildlife and forests.