Wandering through Thailand, we have the opportunity to see breathtaking landscapes – water azure as anywhere else, sand so white and powdery, but also delicious temples and modern buildings. Nature enthusiasts will be amazed the lush greenery of local forests, magic of the lagoons and romantic coves. Besides, they’ll fall in love from the first sight in the oldest National Park in the country – Khao Yai. The aforementioned park is one of the most magnificent protected areas in the world. It’s located in the distance of 250 km northeast from the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok, and covers mountains and wide jungle areas. There’re almost 2 thousands species of plants growing in the forest, including lush ferns, towering palm trees and fluffy mosses.
Tourists, who want to get from the capital to the park, should head toward the city of Pak Chong. Along the way, they should be aware of monkeys strolling through the street. You can get to the gates of the park by a small lorry with benches on both sides, which is called songthaew (“two rows”). Many people may associate it with movies about Vietnamese jungles.
Khao Yai National Park
Right at the beginning you should know that there’s no need to be worry about accommodation. Both within the park, as well as in the vicinity you will easily find many places, where you can spend the night for a very small price. What’s more, in the local hotels you can rent a guide, who will take you to the jungle. When planning a trip, you cannot forget about comfortable shoes and trousers. The higher parts of the forest are relatively cold, but in the summer, especially in the noon, the burning heat can be felt. Even though the sweat will pour down your back, better take a long sleeve t-shirt – you never know what may join you on the trip, and make comfortable on your back. It’s worth to take something against insects too.
The area of Khao Yai is intersected by numerous hiking trails of different levels of difficulty, some of which require hiring the aforementioned guide. There’re 12 main hiking trails with a length of 2,5 to 10 km. Depending on the trail we choose, we’ll spend from one hour up to three days in the jungle. The most attractive trails lead to the real wonders of nature, including Haew Narok Waterfall. It consists of three smaller streams and falls down with a great force, from 20 meters.
Apart from the lush rainforests, the park is full of vast grassy space, where not only the greenery grows. It’s a home for wild boars, black Asian bears, jackals, gibbons and many species of birds. Part of the exotic fauna may be observed also at night, during safari. Tourists sit comfortably in an uncovered lorry equipped with headlights and traverse the jungle full of mysterious sounds and shadows. They can watch nocturnal animals, eg. wild elephants, porcupines, or even hunting wild cats. The trip begins usually at 7 PM and 8 PM, but volunteers have to buy tickets before 6 PM.
For such an adventurous trip you can go even at dawn. Then nocturnal hunters go to sleep, and, among others, white-handed gibbons wake up. Besides, from 6 AM to 6 PM you can use one of the two observation towers. One is located near Mo Sing To, a pond which is a source of water for many species of animals, while the other one stands near the reservoir Nong Phung Shee.
A place from which you can admire the virginal landscape of the park is Khao Kaew View Point (Pha Trom Jai), a famous observation point. It has an excellent view of Khao Rom Mountains, which are softly changing into the lush rainforest. Many travelers climb here, to witness an amazing sunrise and peaks covered with gold and red icing. The views are memorable.It’s worth to remember, that if we want to hike one of the six mountain trails, we have to firstly ask the official for the permission. The trails have from 2 to 8 km, and take approximately 1 - 5h of walk.
A visit in paradise
Khao Yai National Park is located almost 3 hours drive from Bangkok. Being in the capital city of Thailand, it’s worth to head northeast and spend at least few hours in a lively Thai jungle. Otherwise we will regret that we missed the opportunity of seeing dozens of waterfalls, ripe trees wrapped with lianas and the myriads of colors of the local flora.