I’ll be writing about how to get to Khao Yai National Park, getting around in the park, accommodation, food and activities to do there
There are two types of accommodations in the park. You can either camp in tents or book rooms or whole lodges.
You don’t have to book in advance if you want to camp in the park. You can either bring your own camping gears or rent it.
On the other hand, if you want amenities like a bathroom and bed, it would be advisable to book in advance as it can sometimes get crowded on the weekends or peak periods. However booking a place to stay in the park can be quite difficult especially if you live outside of Thailand. Here is the step by step guide to booking a room or lodge.
1) Go to http://nps.dnp.go.th/reservation.php
You will need to register for an account first. The website can be displayed in either Thai or English
2) Search for Khao Yai National park and input the days you want to stay. Be aware that the booking should not be done more than 60 days in advance and you can’t book for more than 3 nights in a row.
There are a total of 4 zones to choose from. Please refer to the map below for the location of the zones in the park.
You can book a place for 2,4,6 and even up to 36 people.
3) Select the lodging you want and proceed. The website is sometimes very strange and you may get a timed out connection even though you have selected it quickly. When you have managed to get through, they will give you 2 days to make payment. The easiest way is to do a bank transfer.
I found it impossible to input the comp code, ref 1 and ref 2 as the amount of space given for the description didn’t allow me. I suggest just including as many numbers as you can and make sure to take a screenshot.
4) I was a little worried about whether they would receive the money. Do send them the screenshots of the completed transitions through email and they would verify it.
5) Lastly, once they have verified that you have paid, you are supposed to return to the portal to print out something. But unfortunately, when I tried, I couldn’t find the booking anymore and I had to resort to printing out the emails to show that the booking was confirmed. Luckily, they accepted it.
I booked a room for 2 in Zone 4 Thanarat Lodge. There was ample space for parking.
The room was simple with blankets and towels provided. The curtains were not working well and there was a dresser.
The toilet was spacious with a working water heater.
Unfortunately, when we came back to the room at night, there seemed to be a power trip and we lost all electricity to the room. The fan wasn’t working anymore and we couldn’t charge anything. Luckily, the temperature at night was about 24 degrees Celsius and it wasn’t too unbearable. All in all, the room would be able to provide all the basic necessities you would need if a power shortage does not happen.
There are two entrances into the park, Pakchong entrance gate and Nern Hom entrance gate.
The entrance fee is 400 Baht per person. If you go out of the park, you may need to pay the entrance fee again, thus staying in the park for at least one night is advisable.
The park is pretty big and it is advisable to drive your own car or a motorcycle. If you do not have your own transport, hitchhiking is possible.
Getting food in the park is easy. You can find canteens at the visitor centers and at other main attractions.
Behind the map, there is a list of nature trails you can do. Trails 1-5 are listed in front and unfortunately I did not take a picture of the back. You can go to the visitor center for more information. We decided to do the hardest trail which is trail 6 starting from the visitor center to Haew Suwat Waterfall. The trail is 8km, should last about 5 hours(we took about 6 hours) and it requires a guide.
At the visitor center, you can get all the information you need on the trails, night safari (more about this later on), accommodation and where to buy leech socks!
We were required to purchase leech socks. The leech socks were worn over our socks and they were quite comfortable.
Our guide was assigned to us almost immediately and here was us just starting on the trail.
5 mins in and we have spotted a leech. I always thought that leeches were black but our guide told us the leeches in the park were all brown.
Our guide was very friendly and informative. He could speak a little bit of English and we could speak a little bit of Thai. He told us his name was Kai and that in Thai it meant chicken
We saw various types of fungi, big and small.
Kai was very helpful in spotting vegetation and animals we would otherwise not have spotted. Starting from the left, a hanging branch that has water inside, a wasp nest and a woodlouse.
We stopped to hear monkeys and birds. We wanted to spot elephants but the closest we got was just hearing them in the distance.
Sometimes the trail would be relatively flat and easy, other times it was really difficult. Not to mention, we were there during the rainy season and the ground was extremely muddy and slippery.
Holding on to the plants and using my trusty stick to navigate.
Crossing over streams.
Climbing over obstacles.
Steep and muddy terrain.
Along the way, we would stop at markers along route 6 to tell us how far we have already gone.
Towards the end of the trail, we’ve reached Pha Kluai Mai Waterfall, a smaller waterfall compared to Haew Suwat Waterfall. Nonetheless, it was very impressive.
After another 1km of trekking, we reached our destination, Haew Suwat Waterfall. If you find that trekking 8 km is too tough, you can just take about 10 mins to climb down the stairs.
While high rainfall in August made it harder to get through the forest, the waterfalls were at their fullest and it was an impressive sight.
We were really excited to go on the night safari tour. Even though it started to rain heavily, it didn’t dampen our spirits. The guide came ready with ponchos for us to wear. As the tour progressed, the rain got heavier and heavier and soon it was really cold as the winds were really strong and we couldn’t open our eyes. We really wanted to see the elephants but we only saw deer.
Even though we didn’t see much on the trip, it was an enjoyable experience!
View of Sai Sorn Reservoir.
Viewpoint near the Pakchong Entrance Gate.
Deer are easily spotted everywhere in the park.
Monkeys on the road.
Again, we were hopeful to see wild elephants in the park after watching so many videos of elephants terrorizing cars.
We had a great time in Khao Yai National Park. Feel free to ask me anything regarding the park and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!
Address: Hin Tung, Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok 26000, Thailand
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