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Khao Yai National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Khaoyai National Park, which has been designated as an ASEAN Heritage Park, spreads across four provinces in eastern Thailand. Namely, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, and Nakhon Ratchasima. The Khaoyai National Park covers an area of 2,168 sq. km. of wild forested areas in the Phanom Dong Rak Mountain, which was erstwhile known as “Dong Payafai” or “Dong Payayen” mountain range.
Apart from being a home for a great biodiversity of flora and fauna, this heritage park also plays an important role as a headwater for several creeks and rivers, and is a place that harbors spectacular scenic beauty which has all along captivated its visitors.
Situated on the southwestern boundaries of the Khorat Plateau , the wild area of Khao Yai National Park occupies the western side of the Sankamphaeng Mountain, which has some the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.
What to DoOnce one visits the famous heritage park, one must not forget to visit these awesome places of tourist interest that lies within Khao Yai National Park, some of which are listed below.
Kong Kaeo WaterfallKong Kaeo is a low waterfall that originated from Huai Lam Takhong, which divides Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Nayok. The falls looks lovely during the rainy seasons. The area surrounding Kong Kaeo Waterfall is suitable for swimming and can be easily reached by foot from the tourist service center in Khao Yai National Park. There is a rope bridge around the waterfall, which gives this area a natural feel. There are also short, natural trails that the visitors can explore upon reaching Kong Kaeo Waterfall.
Pha Kluai Mai WaterfallLocated at an approximate distance of 7 km from the park’s office, Pha Kluai Mai, a medium waterfall, is situated in Huai Lam Takhong. The waterfall can be reached both by car and even by foot. Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall is famous for Red Dendrobium Orchid, which has become the symbol of this picturesque waterfall. The waterfall has two separate bodies of water which gushes down the rock and merges at the bottom. A trail from the waterfall also leads to the Haew Suwat Waterfall.
Haew Narok WaterfallHaew Narok is one of the most beautiful, largest, and the highest waterfall in Khao Yai National Park. Haew Narok waterfall lies to the south of the park’s office on the route that leads to Prachin Buri. To see the waterfall, travelers can walk 1 km down from the park’s office and find a viewpoint from where they can see this picturesque waterfall.
Haew Narok is a beautiful waterfall with three levels. The first is of around 60 meters, after which the water drops through the second and third levels with a total drop of 150 meters, as it reaches the ground.
The areas around the Haew Narok Waterfall are the feeding grounds of the elephants that roams freely in this place.
There are also several lesser known waterfalls in Khaoyai National Park, such as Heo Sai Waterfall, Mai Plong Waterfall, and Heo Prathun Waterfall which are also worthy of a visit.
Haew Suwat WaterfallThis famous waterfall lies at the end of the Thanarat Road and can be accessed by car. Haew Suwat Waterfall lies 3 km walking distance from Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall.
A distance viewpoint offers an excellent, high, angle view of Haew Suwat waterfall that runs down from a cliff which is 20 meters high.
It indeed feels wonderful to see Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall through the trees, or even if one walks down to the waterfall itself.
Non Pak Chi WatchtowerThis watchtower, which is a 5 minutes’ drive from the tourist center inside Khao Yai National Park, followed by a 10 minutes’ walk over the grasslands, is an exquisite place for watching the saltlick and also the surrounding grasslands within the area.
One can see Sambars, Muntjacs, Boars, and if lucky, also Gaurs and Elephants from this location.
Pha Diew Die ViewpointPha Diew Die Viewpoint, which lies on the main north-south road on this national park, is another spectacular place which commands a stunning view of this ASEAN Heritage Park.
The viewpoint is 14 km from the park's headquarters and a short walk off the road to Khao Kiew Summit.
One can also visit the Khaoyai Shrine and the Visitor Center, which is a place for buying souvenirs in the heritage park.
Flora and FaunaApart from several tropical plants and orchids that grows within the forest, Khao Yai is more famous for the variety of animals that are found in this park.
Animals like Elephants, Gibbons, Muntjacs, Sambar deer, and Pig-Tailed Macaques are some of the wild animals that has made Khao Yai National Park a famous tourist attraction.
Khao Yai is also home to carnivores such as Tigers and Asian Wild Dogs.
There are also more than 209 species of reptile and amphibian, including King Cobra, Python, Monitor Lizard and various species of Turtles which are found in within the region.
More than 392 species of birds has been recorded in Khao Yai National Park, along with a wide variety of butterflies and insects.
How to ReachThis heritage park is situated around 205 km from Bangkok.
One can travel along the Thanarat Road for about 23 kilometers from Km. 56 of Mittraphap Road, or if not, after reaching the Hin Kongintersection, go onto Highway No. 33 (Nakhon Nayok-Prachin Buri) to Noen Hom intersection and take Highway No. 3077 to reach Khao Yai park.
However, it is often suggested that as the second road to Khao Yai National Park is much steeper, it is more suitable for the return trip after visiting the park.
Where to StayThe Ban Duang Pon Resort, Rabiang Lure Resort, Ban Suan Nok, Ban Ruea Khao Yai Resort and Greenery are some of the recommended place where one can stay while visiting Khao Yai National Park.
EateriesThere are several food stalls throughout the park where visitors can order a variety of Thai dishes.
Opposite to the visitor center of Khao Yai, there are also a number of food stands overlooking the river that serves English menus.
When to VisitThe best time to visit is during the cool seasons, which is in-between October to February.
Nevertheless, one can also visit the park during the rainy seasons in Thailand, when all the waterfalls are full, which creates a lively atmosphere for all the visitors who travels during these times to this park.
Nearby PlacesIf one wishes, one may also enjoy white water river rafting on the southeastern side of the Khao Yai National Park during the months of July until the end of October, in Kaeng Hin Phoeng.
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Author: SubhasishMitra. Last updated: Feb 14, 2015