Thailand currently has 147 national parks that contain natural resources of ecological importance or unique beauty, or flora and fauna of special importance. Scattered throughout the country the landscapes are diverse and include mountainous regions, thick jungles, spectacular waterfalls, lakes and limestone islands surrounded by emerald-blue waters. Wildlife that can be encountered range from wild tigers, elephants, leopards, tapirs, gaurs, bears to many monkey species.
Discover some of Thailand’s famous national parks:
Khao Yai is no doubt the best national park in Thailand for regular visitors where it is relatively easy to see some impressive animals. Established in 1962 as Thailand’s first national park, it is the third largest national park in Thailand. The main checkpoint of the park is only 180 km from Bangkok. The park covers an area of 2,168 km², including rain and evergreen forests and grasslands. The park is well known for its elephant population for which visitors have a good chance to encounter.
Established as a marine national park in 1980, Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is an archipelago of 42 islands covering 102 km² and located within easy reach of the popular tourist island of Koh Samui. Some of mammal species on the islands are dusky leaf monkey, long-tailed macaque, leopard cat, fishing cat, wild boar and smooth-coated otter. Inspired by the novel “The Beach” by Alex Garland, Ang Thong was one of the prime destinations for backpackers in Thailand for many years. It is now a popular destination for day trips from Koh Samui.
Khao Sok is perfectly situated on the mainland between Phuket and Koh Samui, the most popular destinations in Southern Thailand. Many of Thailand’s exciting mammal species can be found in the park; elephant, gaur, sambar deer, sun bear, Malayan tapir, Crab-eating macaque, gibbon, mouse-deer, marbled cat, wild boar, Asiatic wild dog. The main attractions of the park are Cheow Lan Lake, iconic limestone hills, waterfalls, floating raft house accommodation, trails, caves and rivers.
Located in West Thailand in the Tenasserim Hills range of Kanchanaburi Province, it is home to one of the most popular falls in the country. Founded in 1975 as Thailand’s 12th National Park, it is covering an area of 550 km². The major attraction of the park is the 7-tiered Erawan Falls with emerald green ponds. The park and the falls are named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. The top tier of the falls is said to resemble an elephant head.