Acres of forested land where gibbons scamper in between tangles of tree branches. Miles of alabaster beaches and limestone cliffs towering over quiet blue seas. Tiers of waterfalls tumbling into pools of inviting waters. Within a few short hours of Bangkok’s frenetic streets, Thailand’s diverse national parks are perfect places to catch your breath and let nature lead the way.
The city will feel like a world away when you drive into the mountainous region of Khao Yai National Park. Thailand’s first designated national park sits on the western edge of a larger forest deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. Evergreens and grasslands are the protected habitats of hundreds of bird species and mammals — and if you’re fortunate, your guide may quietly point out families of elephants in the woods. Celebrate local agriculture while strolling through fields of yellow at a sunflower farm and visiting the vineyards and orchards of PB Valley, the birthplace of the Khao Yai wine region.
Named Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, or “the mountain with 300 peaks” for the limestone cliffs jutting from the Gulf of Thailand, the country’s first marine national park is just a few hours south of Bangkok. Mangrove forests and a freshwater marsh are natural sanctuaries for wildlife and water birds. Hike or boat to a quiet stretch of sand at Laem Sala Beach, where you can ascend a trail to Phraya Nakhon Cave. The challenging climb is rewarded tenfold when you view this natural landmark where sunlight spills through a hole in the ceiling, illuminating a royal pavilion tucked inside the cave.
Travel deeper inland from Bangkok, toward the Myanmar border, and you’ll be greeted by the jungled landscape of Erawan National Park. The crowning jewel of this lush reserve is a seven-tiered waterfall tumbling over cliffs through leafy foliage, each tier culminating in a pool of cerulean waters. (The top tier is believed to resemble Erawan, the Hindu three-headed white elephant.) As you climb and jump into these cool waters, keep an eye on your belongings, as a curious lar gibbon might be so inclined to snatch them! Spend more time exploring caves and hiking trails where you may be lucky enough to spot roaming elephants, deer and wild boars.
From the jungles to the mountains and the sea, Thailand’s natural worlds are within easy reach from its capital city. Let us get you there, arrange your guided treks and book your stays in Bangkok and beyond. Give us a call or visit our website and enter OFFER M17334 to learn more.
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Cover Photo: Cave in Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand / © Can Stock Photo / anekoho