Wildlife and a World-Known Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park
Located a convenient 3-hour drive from Bangkok, Khao Yai National Park is a beautiful sanctuary to a diverse collection of wildlife including a healthy population of about 200 wild elephants and a bird watching paradise. It is the oldest of the national parks in Thailand and part of a large forest complex declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Often incorporated into a tour of Khao Yai is a visit to a Buddhist cave temple inhabited by a population of wrinkle-lipped bats. Just before sunset each evening, a swarm of thousands of bats streams out of the cave opening like a huge black snake slithering into the sky. The bats are off to their daily meal—a biological method of controlling the insect population.
A hike in the forest is the best way to explore Khao Yai to search for gibbons, monkeys and the majestic great hornbills. Hikers may also be walking in the footsteps of wild elephants. The forest guide will be quietly watching for evidence of elephant activity as well as staying in contact with the national park rangers to avoid a close encounter with an unpredictable wild animal! Elephant sightings are quite common along the scenic roads that pass through the park. There are also areas of dry grassland and salt licks increase the chance to spot elephants and other wildlife.
Khao Yai National Park is also famous for Haew Suwat, a beautiful 25m waterfall famous as the place where Leonardo DiCaprio took a running jump while filming the movie “The Beach.”
This national park is a short trip from Bangkok and there are several choices of accommodation to suit all tastes. A visit to Khao Yai also compliments a trip to Ayutthaya, the historic ancient capital of Siam. Khao Yai National Park can be a stop off on the way farther east from Bangkok into the Issan region of northeast Thailand. Outside the city of Nakon Ratchasima (Korat for short) there is a collection of Khmer era temples at Phimai Historical Park.
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Photo 2 by tontantravel