The Best National Parks in Thailand

 

If you love adventure, the outdoors, hiking and wildlife then consider heading to some of Thailand’s National Parks. This is, by no means, a full list of National Parks in Thailand but the most impressive ones I have been to so far and am still marvelling at the photos!

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Found about 3-4 hours South of Bangkok in Prachuap Kiri Khan province, this stunning national park is home to 300 birds and the amazing Khao Sam Roi Yot mountains, meaning 300 peaks. I strongly recommend renting a scooter here and exploring all the different caves and viewpoints. It’s an excellent place to practise on a scooter if (like me…you’re kinda nervous/shit scared). About 10 cars will pass you throughout the whole day and the area is flat which is really great for confidence building! Entrance fee is 200 baht for foreigners. I stayed at the small, cute and fairly cheap Namaste Resort*, the owner June was very helpful with renting motorbikes and booking onward travel!

Visit Thailand National Parks Nature
Unseen Thailand: The Hike to Praya Nakhon Cave

Praya Nakhon cave is one of the most famous and has a small but striking blue temple inside an enormous cavern. The hole in the roof of the cave allows the light to filter down where trees and plants are now growing. To get here you can hike about 30 minutes to the beach, and then another 30 minutes after that or take a boat around to the beach if you want to limit your hiking time! The views from the hike are magnificent though!

 

Thailand National Parks Nature Caves
Discover Thailand’s Praya Nakhon Cave

Sam Phraya beach is found just inside the national park. While not a beach for swimming, it’s worth a photo stop of the colourful fishing boats and to marvel at just how far the tide goes out – it seemed like it was on the horizon!

Thailand National Park Nature Beaches
Phraya Nakhon Beach inside Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Khao Daeng Viewpoint has been one of my favourite high up views in Thailand so far! It’s about a 30 minute hike up a fairly steep slope with rocks around, so I don’t recommend doing it in flipflops. The trail is only officially open from 8-3.30pm but some visitors risk it for a sunrise/sunset view but bring a flashlight! I went during the afternoon and had these impressive views of both the mountains and the ocean.

thailand national park nature
Khao Daeng Viewpoint of the 300 Peak Mountains ‘Khao Sam Roi Yot’

Khao Yai National Park

This is one of my favourite areas of jungle to visit. ! Visit the various waterfalls, do the visitor trail near the visitor office, keep your eyes peeled and ears open to see macaque monkeys, gibbons and there is a high chance of elephants, particularly in rainy season (June-Oct). Remember wild elephants are extremely territorial and dangerous so do not get too close! They are best to see from the road side or from the look-out point near the lake. It’s a great place to stop and chill for lunch too!

You can take a minivan about two hours from Bangkok to Pak Chong. If you are confident on scooters then rent a motorcycle in Pak Chong and head into Khao Yai itself. You must pay 400 baht entrance fee to enter to the park, I recommend taking a map from the visitor office while shows the waterfalls and camping grounds.

National Park Thailand
Khao Yai National Park – Amazing place for jungle trekking and wildlife

For the super adventurous, ask the visitor office about camping. For around 250 baht you can rent a tent at one of a couple of camp sites and stay the night. Bring your own food and drink as there are no shops available in the park! Entrance fee is 400 baht so I recommend staying inside the park to make the most of your money!

Alternatively take a guided tour with Greenleaf tours, they will collect you from Pak Chong and take you into the park in songtaew trucks. Tour includes trekking, guide, lunch and transport and lasts the whole day!

National Parks Thailand
I was lucky enough to spot three wild elephants in Khao Yai National Park. This was an alone adult male.

Khao Sok National Park

Another area of astounding beauty, this park is about two hours north of Krabi. From your  accommodation you can arrange trekking, wildlife spotting with a guide and an overnight stay on the beautiful floating bungalows on the lake, which is definitely worth it. You can rent kayaks and pootle around trying to spot monkeys, gibbons and even the odd elephant! (or so I’m told!). We saw fish eagles, dusky langur monkeys and gibbons on one of our boat trips around. If you want to visit I recommend arranging transport from Krabi and try booking into a treehouse! I usually use Agoda * for hotel bookings in Thailand.

Thailand beautiful destinations nature
Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park after staying in floating bungalows on the lake

Doi Ithanon National Park

These mountains contain the highest peak in Thailand and they are the start of the foothills of the Himalayas. You can join a day trip in a minivan from Chiang Mai to here which also includes waterfalls and a lunch stop. On a clear day you can see fairly far into the mountain ranges and the unusual temple pagodas are worth a look, like something out of Star Wars! The gardens are also stunning with so many different kinds of flowers!

Thailand National Parks Nature
Gardens at the top of Doi Ithanon National Park, Thailand

Khao Lak National Park

I only visited an extremely small area of this but it’s worth it if you find yourself in Khao Lak for a couple of days as I am not a big fan of the town itself. If you take a short hike into the national park then you can stumble across golden sand hidden beaches with hardly anyone on them which is definitely worth it, in my opinion! There was a small entrance fee (I think around 40 baht).

Thailand National Park
Hiking around Khao Lak National Park, Thailand and waiting for the sunset

Erawan National Park

I’ve written about this place before but it is definitely worth a visit to see the impressive Erawan waterfalls – one of the best waterfalls in Thailand. You can spend the day hiking in the jungle and swimming in gorgeous blue pools of fresh cool water. The colours of the water appear bluer the higher you climb so be prepared to head up to the top most step, the 9th one. Bring your own food and water as there is little on offer here You will also find it quieter the higher up you go as the lower and closest steps are often full of local children playing! It’s about 45 minutes drive from Kanchanaburi town and entrance fee is 200 baht.

Thailand beautiful waterfall destination
Swimming in magical blue pools in the Erawan National Park

What’s your favourite national park? Any other recommendations for me to explore next?

*This post contains an affiliate link. If you click on the link and rent a room I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

12 Reasons To Never Visit Thailand

Here are 12 reasons why you should never visit this awful country! The first time I visited Thailand was 4 years ago and after all these terrible activities I’m still unsure why I moved back to Thailand 3 years ago. Please avoid visiting Thailand because you may just get addicted…

reasons visit thailand
Snorkelling around coral reefs

2. You will be peer pressured drunkenly into eating scorpions on Khao San road (cue blurry photo)

reasons visit thailand
Yep, don’t remember this…but I have the photos to prove I did indeed eat a scorpion.

3. You’ll spend 7 days worth of Thai street food dinners on one cocktail at a swanky Bangkok skybar

reasons visit thailand
Cheers to Bangkok, my big bad adopted city

 

4. You will most likely vomit after drinking too many fuck-it buckets. If you don’t then I am extremely impressed with you. But your liver is doomed.

5. You’ll get a hangover from drinking cheap Chang every evening and decide maybe a Leo beer is worth the extra 10 baht. We nickname it a ‘changover’.

reasons visit thailand
Beaches and sunset beers. Avoid at all costs.

6. You’ll get so used to cockroaches in Thailand you won’t feel bothered by them any more… (just me?!). The big ones that run at your feet and the small ones hanging out by your toothbrush in the (slightly) dirty hostel, you are officially a real backpacker now.

7. In rainy season you’ll stroll through puddles the height of your knees trying not to think about what might be floating around in there

8.You’ll get stuck in Bangkok traffic and wonder how 8 million people can live like that!

reasons visit thailand
View from my window. It’s awful

9. You’ll risk rabies for a cuddle with a stray puppy.

10. You will think you can ride a motorbike and then get a rude awakening along with a trip to the doctors clinic…and a bill!

11. You will get seasick on a boat and possibly think you are about to die,  probably on the way to Maya Bay ” The Beach” beach where there never seem to be enough life jackets for everyone… #youcanswimthoughright

reasons visit Thailand
Cruising along the Gulf of Thailand on boats on my way to spot some whales!

12. You will fall in love with this country and move back here one day!

Thailand Itinerary: Two Weeks

So you’ve got two weeks to travel Thailand? Whether you’re a beach bum, party animal, culture vulture or adventurer I’ve suggested a possible itinerary to inspire you to explore Thailand!

BEACH BUM

Day 1 Fly + ferry, train/bus + ferry to visit Koh Tao

Day 2 & 3 Stay on Koh Tao to party or take a dive course for 4 days

Day 4 & 5 Ferry to Koh Phangan, spend time snorkelling, hanging out on beaches and partying

Day 6 & 7 Head across to the Andaman coast and stay in Ao Nang or Railay, go island hopping

Day 8,9,10 For partying and beautiful beaches head to Koh Phi Phi and visit the famous beach from ‘The Beach’ movie

Day 11, 12, 13 Take the ferry to Koh Lanta for a more relaxed island experience, chill with monkeys and explore the islands beaches

Day 14 Head back to Bangkok/Phuket

Check here for more island inspiration

 

PARTY ANIMAL

Day 1,2,3 Party on Khao San Road in Bangkok

Day 4 & 5 Stay on Koh Tao to party with all the backpackers

Day 6,7,8 Ferry to Koh Phangan, time with a Full Moon, Half Moon, Jungle Party, See here for more tips

Day 9,10,11, Get a transfer to Koh Phi Phi on the Andaman side and party until the sun comes up!

Day 12, 13, 14 Ferry to Phuket and party for a few days at the big night clubs there before flying out

 

CULTURE VULTURE

Day 1,2,3 Exploring temples and markets in Bangkok

Day 4&5 Take the train to Ayutthaya, rent bicycles and cycle around this old city

Day 6& 7 Visit Sukothai, one of the oldest cities in Thailand on the way to Chiang Mai

Day 8,9,10 Explore culture in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai amongst other activities

Day 11 fly back to Bangkok and head to Kanchanaburi

Day 12,13,14 Explore museums, history and waterfalls in Kanchanaburi

 

ADVENTURER

Day 1&2 Explore Bangkok

Day 3,4,5 6 Head to Chiang Mai and spend a few days exploring all the adventure activities there

Day 7, 8, 9 Fly to Krabi and spend time rock climbing in Railay, island hopping, go scuba diving, visit hot springs

Day 10, 11, 12 Go to Khao Sok National Park, sleep in a tree house, a floating bungalow on a lake, go kayaking, jungle trekking and on boat tours to spot gibbons, monkeys and a small chance of elephants! It’s on my list of Thailand’s most beautiful places!

Day 13, 14 Head to Phuket for surfing (rainy season only June-Oct), ziplining, exploring beaches

Thailand Itinerary: One Week

So you’ve got one week in Thailand? Whether you’re a beach bum, a party animal, a culture vulture or an adventurer I’ve suggested an itinerary for you to make the most of your trip around Thailand! If you only have one week I suggest flying most places unless you are on a tight budget and then use night buses and night trains to make the most of all your days.

BEACH BUM

Day 1

Head down to Krabi (fly or night bus) – spend 2 days in Railay, on the beach day 1, do a snorkelling tour day 2

Day 2 & 3 Boat to Koh Phi Phi, beach day and hike to viewpoint,

Day 4 trip to Maya Bay to see ‘The Beach’ beach, snorkelling, party at night

Day 5  – Do a try dive/ island hopping trip

Day 6 fly back/night bus back to Bangkok

 

PARTY ANIMAL

Day 1 – take night bus/train to Koh Tao

Day 2 and 3 on Koh Tao

Day 4 and 5 Head to Koh Phangan, time with a Full Moon/Half Moon/Jungle Party. Here are more Full Moon Tips

Day 6 back to Bangkok

Day 7 explore Bangkok – check out these ideas

 

CULTURE VULTURE

Day 1 & 2 stay in Bangkok and spend time exploring

Day 3 & 4 Take train/minivan for 3 days in Kanchanaburi – visit waterfall, visit war museum, see bridge over the river kwai, visit an elephant sanctuary

Day 5 –go to Ayutthaya the ancient capital in Thailand

Day 6 Take train/minivan from Ayutthaya back to Bangkok

 

ADVENTURER

Day 1 Spend time in Bangkok

Day 2 & 3 Take a minivan to Khao Yai National Park and go camping and jungle trekking

Day 4 & 5 Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or take the night train and spend 3 days in Chiang Mai, ziplining, seeing elephants and more

Day 6 Fly/night train back to Bangkok

My Travelling Regrets

Because sometimes we have travel regrets, some big and some small! Unfortunately it’s not all coconuts on white sand beaches (only most of the time!). While I love reading about the amazing experiences people have done while travelling the world, I also think it’s good to talk about what we missed out on so that a fellow traveller might not make the same mistake!

  • Not taking enough photos. I seem to always take a million photos of exactly the same angle of the popular sights like certain temples or famous monuments but I forget to take photos of the every day; the colourful tuktuks, the street food stalls, the flower markets and these are really the snaps that help sum up the real feelings and atmosphere of a place. When I recently visited India I tried to take more real photos that take me back to that moment!

travel regrets photo mistakes thailand india asia

 

  • Not visiting the sand dunes in Mui Ne Vietnam. The person I was travelling with didn’t want to go so I didn’t go. Silly decision. Likewise with Monkey Island near Cat Ba in Vietnam. That was the first time I ever went backpacking, now I know I would be confident enough to go it alone!

 

  • Not researching Dalat, Vietnam properly and missing out on canyoning down waterfalls because I didn’t know about it!

 

  • Overpacking. So the story of my life is that I have too many clothes, too many shoes and just too much ‘stuff’ in general. My backpack was too heavy, and as a result I spent a lot of time complaining and being too lazy to walk too far to find accommodation which probably meant I stayed in scummier places at not as convenient locations.

 

 

  • Getting in a big argument with a tuktuk driver in Siem Reap, Cambodia about money. I feel ashamed to have acted this way and it turned into a scene. It was after all, not very much money for me and a lot for him. In my defence I was a newbie and struggling with culture shock and poverty like child beggars. But really this where I should have been at my most generous and I’m embarrassed to say I was not. Hopefully now I am older, wiser and more understanding!

 

  • Missing Christmas at home. It was just once, when I first moved to Thailand and I have made a pact with myself to never skip Christmas again. For some people Christmas travelling might be fun, a chance to celebrate on the beach or with new friends or old ones across the world. However, for me Christmas should be and always will be about family, and mine did not celebrate together because of me (I stole my sister who joined me in Thailand). Christmas is not the same without everyone who matters arguing about Dobble under the same roof. Also as a British person, Christmas should be cold! Wearing santa hats in the heat is just a step into the surreal for me!

 

  • Worrying too much about planning things that I forget to enjoy the moment of where I actually am! (Still working on this one!)

 

  • That said…BADLY PLANNING things. On two occasions I hadn’t factored in enough time to see a place and with transport being particularly SLOW in some areas of South East Asia I successfully managed to arrive in BOTH Penang and Singapore late at night… in order to fly out the next morning. Luckily I’ve since been back to Singapore for the weekend but I’m still waiting on that Penang trip…

travelling regrets asia singapore thailand mistakes

 

  • Not being more adventurous with food. Ok, I admit, I am so boring with food! I eat cornflakes EVERY morning for breakfast. Luckily for me, travelling forces me to be more adventurous with food and I need to do this way more. The first time I backpacked I refused to eat noodles, didn’t like Vietnamese food and generally did not enjoy eating food in South East Asia! Four years later, while I still eat my boring cornflakes I also point at random stuff displayed at street food stalls around Asia and I will try it.

 

  • Having the worst hangover of my entire life in Siem Reap Cambodia in a boiling hot hostel with no A/C or fridge for water. Lesson learnt: hangovers in heat are the worst! If you know it’s gonna be a messy night, consider splashing out on an A/C room.

 

  • Getting so used to travelling constantly that I became too lax about airport timings and missed a flight to Taiwan. Cue arguments and tears and FINALLY being allowed to board the next one! Sometimes making a (tiny) fuss pays off!

 

  • Thinking that I probably wouldn’t like mountain biking but wanting to be adventurous so I signed up anyway. There was an afternoon of 10km downhill, or a full day trip of 25km downhill from the top of a mountain in Chiang Mai. Guess which one this idiot chose? Within the first five minutes I knew I hated and it DID end in tears and me walking my bike down the mountain. I’m glad I tried it but I regret not going for the ‘taster’ session!

What are some of your travel regrets and mistakes?