Map of Thailand's Top National Parks
Thailand's national parks vary from remote beaches to complete nature destinations. Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai province has the highest peak in Thailand. Even on the hottest days, the elevation of Doi Inthanon is cool and inviting.
Koh Similan is both remote and seasonal. West of Phangnga in the Andaman Sea, Koh Similan has world class scuba diving offshore and quiet beaches on the small island.
Khao Yai is Thailand's best known national park. Accessible from 5 provinces in the Central and Northeast regions, the park has abundant animal populations, forests, savannahs and waterfalls. You can rent bungalows and tents.
mouse over park names for brief descriptions
to go to web page for that park >> click the link
Huay Nam DangHuay Nam Dang is another highland nature park in Chiang Mai. Lots of trees and flowers, orchids included.
- Elephant trekking among the trees and above the clouds
- Nice bungalows, tent camping and food services at 2 locations
- Rubber boat (“white water”) rafting and river rafting on the Mae Taeng.
Namtok Mae SurinNamtok Mae Surin in Mae Hong Son province is a range of highly diverse mountain wilderness. It varies from sparse to lush and dense evergreen forest.
- Flora include Teak, stands of upland pine. Many species of orchid and wildflower, including an indigenous and rare Lady Slipper Orchid. Recent reported.
- Animals indigenous to the park are Malayan sun bear, serow, golden cat, common muntjac, gibbon, wild boar, python and cobra.
Doi Phu KhaDoi Phu Kha in Nan Province has some outstanding waterfalls nature trails. Flowers include the Chompu Phu Kha Flower.
Cave exploring is another option. Bungalows, camp sites and food services are available. (Not clear whether tent rental is available.)
Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai may be the best national park in the north. This highest elevation in Thailand (2,565 m) actually gets a bit of snow every few years.
- Trek several marked nature trails
- Excellent birding - 350 species.
- Large and small rental bungalows at various locations. Tent camping is available as well.
- Trees, caves, views, flowers
- Park is the source of 7 rivers, and boasts 7 waterfalls
Mae CharimMae Charim in Nan Province has some nice nature trails and bird watching. But the major attraction here is rafting on the Wa River
The course for rafting starts at Ban Nam-pu, Tambol Nam-phong in Mae Charim and finishes at Ban Had-rai, Tambol Sanna Nhong-mai in Viangsa District, with a total distance of 19.2 km. Some islets and reefs along the way add variety to the rafting trip.
Phu Soi DaoPhu Soi Dao in Utarradit Province has rugged forested mountains, and rivers with waterfalls. But you may find yourself drawn to an area of flatlands 1,800 mt above sea level.
The plain is about 1,000 rai (400 acres, 100 hectares) of three-leaf pines. A 6.5 km hike takes you past a number of outstanding view points.
Phu Hin Rong KlaPhu Hin Rong Kla in Pechabun Province has a fascinating history. The rugged mountains bordering Laos were the bhold of Communist insurgents from 1968 to 1972. As a result the beautiful area suffered the loss of much of the wildlife.
Mountain peaks 1,600 to 1,820 mt. A number of spectacular views and beautiful waterfalls.
Thung Salaeng LuangThung Salaeng Luang in Phitsanulok Province is hills of limestone, slate and hardpan with elevations of 300 to 1,028 mt. Thung Salaeng Luang spawns numerous streams and has meadow areas. Fora is mixed with predominately deciduous forest, lowland scrub and tropical broad-leaved evergreen.
Mammal species include elephant, yellow–throated marten and masked palm civet. Occassionally a tiger, gaur, barking deer, wild dog, wild pig, langur and slow loris can be spotted.
Phu KraduengPhu Kradueng in Loei Province Phu Kradung is a very pleasant mountain plateau surrounded by smaller hills. The park is a watershed for the Pong River, which feeds the reservoir of Ubonrat Dam and Nong Wai Dam in Khon Kaen Province.
The plateau is pine forest and grasslands with a variety of flowers along the creeks, waterfalls and rocky fields.
- A great park for trail biking
- Numerous bungalows of 1, 2 or 3 rooms; plus spacious camping sites
- Food service available in park
Nam NaoNam Nao in Pechabun Province is beautiful Park covering an area of about 960 sq km. Park Headquarters sets in an unusual and fascinating deciduous forest dominated by tall pine trees.
Rainy season is Jul - Oct. Cool season can accurately be called cold season in the park with occasional frost and temperatures dropping to 0 degree C. November is the park’s coldest.
- Great sunsets, awesome views, numerous waterfalls
- Nature trails, fields of wildflowers, bird watching
Phu Pha TurmPhu Pha Turm in stretches across a low mountain range along the Mekong River. The park’s main attractions are sweeping views of the Mekong, fields of seasonal wildflowers and prehistoric cliff drawings.
This park is pretty much an extension of Pha Taem NP in Ubon Ratchathani.
PhataemPhataem alongside the Mekong River in Ubon Ratcathani has interesting rock formations and waterfalls, but the most fascinating features are 3 groups of prehistoric petroglyphs on the cliffs along the river walk.
- Rubber boat rafting available on Sand Creek
- Bungalows may be available but food service many not.
Pa Hin NgamPa Hin Ngam in Chiyaphum has an interesting rock formation “garden”, broad expanses of season wildflowers and a few waterfalls.
Accommodations in the park appear available but limited. Food services may be available.
Khueang SrinagarindaKhueang Srinagarinda in the Sai Yok region of Kanchanaburi is tropical. But the good news is that it has waterfalls‚ hot springs and an island studded resorvoir created by Srinakarinda Dam.
A number of nice caves to explore will cool you off, but rafting, canoeing and kayaking may be even more effective.
A number of accom types include a few floating houses -- but reserve early ..
Laem Klong NguLaem Klong Ngu in Kanchanaburi feature attraction is Sao Hin Cave, accessible only by boat and a 6 km trek along a stream. The cave has a 62 m high limestone pillar.
Second best may be a pair of attractive waterfalls. One runs fro 800 m with sections 20 m high and pools.
Khao YaiKhao Yai (oficially) in Nakhon Ratchasima spreads over more than 2‚000 sq km and reaches into 3 more provinces. Khao Yai is a nature destination with so many attraction one could easily spend weeks there.
- Wild animals include elephant‚ tiger‚ gibbon & wild pig.
- Awake to the call of gibbons then trek one of the several nature trails
- Spend a day on the dedicated birding trail and watch some of the 320 species
- Spend an afternoon on one of the observation towers
- White-water rafting‚ kayaking‚ and floating availabe on one of the 5 rivers.
- Accoms and food service available in a wide range bungalows and tents
- Hint: Don’t visit on a long weekend or holiday
ErawanErawan in Kanchanaburi should be high on anyone’s list of visits, if for no othe reason the spectacular Erawan Waterfall. Erawan, resembling the Hindu 3-headed elepant, drops 1,500 m down steep cliffs amid a forest of trees and orchids.
Erawan has 7 levels, but you will need to climb to level 2 to see level 1. The falls creates some nice pools for a cool swim.
- More very nice waterfalls are around if Erawan is too crowded.
- A number of caves have guided tours
- Nature treks, bike trails, flowers birds and ..
Kaeng KrachanKaeng Krachan in Petchaburi Province is Thailand’s largest national park at 2,900 sqkm of forest and watershed. Besides spawning the Phetchaburi and Pranburi rivers the park extends as far as Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Kaeng Krachan Dam creates a 46 sqkm reservoir where you may raft‚ canoe‚ or kayak
- Lots of caves‚ animals‚ waterfall‚ and excellent views
- Accoms include bungalows and a hostel
Khao Sam Roi YotKhao Sam Roi Yot is a coastal National Park about 250 km south of Bangkok via Route 4. The park has a a number of dramatic caves.
Phraya Nakhon Cave‚ reachable by a difficult trail from Laem Sala Beach‚ has an open dome and a pavillion built in honor of King Rama V who visited the cave in 1926.
- Numerous fine sand beaches where you may picnic or camp
- Nature trails wind across mangrove forests and among low limestone mountains
- One good early evening activity is an hour long boat ride down Khao Daeng Canal where you can see a number of bird species
Mu Koh ChangMu Koh Chang The island of Ko Chang has become a popular travel destination that just happens to have a national park. Much of the park is not obvious becaue it includes offshore islands and the attractions under the sea.
- Includes 40 large and small islands.
- Lots of wildlife that includes 74 species of birds.
- Located far enough offshore so that sediment from rivers does not cloud the water nor color the beaches
- Scuba divers will appreciate the variety of coral
Mu Koh Ang ThongMu Koh Ang Thong is the archipelago you can see from the Surat Thani to Ko Samui ferry. Ang Thong archipelago should appeal to sea-canoers‚ beachcombers and explorers.
Because the sea around the island group is shallow, the water is not quite as clear as the deeper waters further east.
- The islands have some great rock formations.
- Any number of clean beaches for swimming and camping.
- A few bungalows are available for rental on Wua Talap island.
Mu Koh SurinMu Koh Surin off Phang Nga Province is a small archipelago about 60 km WNW of Kuraburi in Phangnga Province. Especially known for excellent scuba diving and a destination for liveaboard dive boats. The coral and undersea fauna is varied and prolific.
But that is ony part of the story. The islands proper are a very nice destination for snorkelers‚ nature tourists and those looking for a different type of holiday.
- Beautiful beaches and excellent snorkling in certain areas
- Bungalows and camping available on the two main (twin) islands.
- A village of nomadic Sea Gypsies (Moken) who hold an annual festival that is attended by Sea Gypsies from many regions.
- Note: Islands other than the “twins” are off-limits to foot traffic.
- Note: Park closed during rainy season (May - Nov)
Khao SokKhao Sok in Surat Thani Province is another of Thailand’s truly great national parks. Khao Sok is a study in superlatives where Ratchaprapa Dam creates Cheow Lan Lake which is surrounded by limestone mountains and dotted with small islands similar to the karsts around Krabi.
Khao Sok has so much nature and so much activity potential you can stay for days‚ or weeks.
- White water rafting on Lum Klong Sok
- Canoeing or kayaking on Cheow Lan Lake
- Many beautiful waterfalls and interesting caves.
- A number of outstanding nature trails
- Floating houses‚ bungalows hostels available for rent in 5 different locations
- Lots of tree-house& bungalow accommodations‚ restaurants‚ tour services‚ coffee shops‚ and even massage near the park entrance.
- Note: Khao Sok is in a rain forest. That meand you can get rain even in the dry season. Best Avoided during Thailand’s rainy season
Mu Koh SimilanMu Koh Similan is an archipelago lying about 70 km off Phang Nga Province, Similan is an underwater paradise teeming with fish and decorated with a vast array of corals. Deep blue crystal-clear waters contrast white sand beaches. Ko Similan is world “top 10” scuba diving site.
On shore life is quiet. Boats are available for visiting neighboring islands. Snorkeling and skin-diving from the beach is a favorite activity.
- Land-mammal life is somewhat limited due to the scarcity of fresh water. But more than 30 species of birds can be observed.
- Fora is a mix of creeping vines‚ scrub & primary forest
- Accommodations are available at a number of locations
- Boats to the park depart Thap Lamu Pier daily.
- Note: Park closes for the rainy season, usually in mid May
Khao LuangKhao Luang in Nakhon Si Tammarat Province is a big park (570 sqkm) near the Gulf of Thailand. Mountains reach past 1,800 m and collect rainfall (about 4 m/year) during both northeast & southwest monsoons. That makes Khao Luang a true rain forest for most of the year
The park offers true nature visitor some unique opportunities. One is a 3 day climbing trek from from Khiriwang Village (26 km from Nakhon Si Thammarat) to the top of Khao Luang Mountain -- a fairly difficult excursion. Or maybe the famous Krung Ching Waterfall and nature trail better suits your energy level.
- Many waterfalls and nature study opportunities
- More than 300 orchid species
- More than 300 species of animals including clouded leopard‚ panther and tiger
- Bird species include black eagle‚ several pheasant species‚ and several hornbill
Than Bok KhoraniThan Bok Khorani in Krabi Province a rainforest in a valley surrounded by mountains that was once the territory of wild elephants. Many streams in the mountains flow through the valley then disappear into subterrainean channels in limestone rocks in the bases of the mountains -- and then flow into to the sea.
One stream begins in Nam Phut Cave which is in Ao Mai Dam Mountain.
- Canoe or kayak 150 m of stream that flows from Lot Cave
- Lou Be Le Island has snorkling‚ skin diving and scuba diving; plus a number of beautiful beaches.
- Kids will love wading the clear shallow water and feeding the schools of smal fish
- The park has no bungalows but you can take a tent or rent from the park. Take your own food. Also‚ an easy day trip -- about 50 km from Krabi town or Phang Nga
Ao Phang NgaAo Phang Nga in Phang Nga Province is an expansive area of stunning water, greenery and unique limestone karsts. Some of the karsts have eroded at the base giving the impression they may topple into the sea at any moment.
Other small island karst have idyllic beaches with beautiful white sand beaches. These are great for day type picnic and beach activity excursion.
- Local long-tailed boats are the standard transportation modes
- Great for tent camping -- take your own food and plenty of water
- Reliable boat operators prevent getting stranded
Hat Nopparat TharaHat Nopparat Thara in Krabi Province covers about 390 sqkm. Noparat Thara Beach has “Susan Hoi”‚ a series of fossilize sea shell slabs estimated to be 20-40 million years old. Also‚ the beach has fine white sand and good for beach fun as well as canoeing and kayaking.
Phi Phi Isands lie about 40 km SSW of Krabi. The archipelago is idyllic‚ Ko Phi Phi Ley haing been the setting for a popular movie “The beach”
Caution: recent reports of sporatic unprovoked attacks against tourists on Noparat Thara beach. Take a taxi after dark.
Hat Chao MaiHat Chao Mai in Trang Province is one of those places you will probably love or hate. Pakmeng Beach is a very popular local holiday excursion. Pakmeng beach is not especially attractive because of the silt that darkens the sand. A conical shaped shell is another reason. The beach is not especially walkable.
TarutaoTarutao is a group (Butang Group) of 51 islands stretching from 20-70 km SSW off the coast of Sathun Province. Tarutao National Park deserves a week -- or even a year!
The big island nearest offshore is Tarutao. Other major islands in the group are Ko Adang‚ Ko Rawai‚ Ko Lipe‚ Ko Chabang‚ and many more.
Ko Lipe is the only island officially inhabited by non-park staff.
- Ko Lipe has skin diving and snorkeling from the main beach, great beaches and a tourist industry. It also has a permanent Chao Ley village. Ko Lipe gets most of the tourist arrivals -- many from nearby Langawi Island (Malaysia)
- Scuba diving around the Butang group is excellend with great dives to 55m and deeper
- Sailing is another way to see the island group. Most islands have outstanding white sand beachs and very clear water
- Getting there depends on which port is your destination. For most‚ its the Pakbara Pier.
For the leeward side of Ko Tarutao‚ the Tammalang Port ferry gets you there easier and faster.