Elephant Sanctuary Retirement Park in Chiang Mai (Thailand)
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Thai National park part 1 : Khao Yai

Elephant Retirement Park (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Thai National park part 1 : Khao Yai

Khao Yai is no doubt the best national park in Thailand for regular visitors where it is relatively easy to see number of interesting animals.

Established in 1962 as Thailand's first national park, it is the third largest national park in Thailand. Situated mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Khao Yai extends into Prachinburi, Saraburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces. Khao Yai checkpoint is just 2.5 hours away from Bangkok.

The park covers an area of 2,168 square kilometres, including rain/evergreen forests and grasslands. 1,351 m high Khao Rom is the highest mountain within the park. The average altitude of the national park ranges from 400 to 1000 m above the sea level.

Khao Yai is part of Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO, covering 5 protected areas from Khao Yai to Cambodian border. The other protected areas are; Pang Sida National Park, Thap Lan National Park, Ta Phraya National Park and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Wildlife

Some often seen mammals include elephantmacaquebarking deersambar deer,  gibbonporcupinecivet. Other relatively common, but not often seen mammals are beargaurottersdholejackal, There haven't been any sign of tiger activity in the park for a while, but camera traps has revealed a significant tiger population in neighbouring Thap Lan and Pang Sida National Park. There is only one single siamese crocodile in the national park and it can be seen on the same location along the one of trails. According guides operating in the park, the crocodile was released to the park by the park staff in the past.

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The national park is home to around 300 resident and migratory birds and has one of Thailand's largest populations of hornbills. Some of the interesting birds that can be found in the park are barbetsscarlet minivetsbroadbillspittasmountain scops-owlsgreat slaty woodpeckerscollared owletsblue-winged leafbirdsAsian fairy bluebirdstrogonsdrongos and magpies. Many ground dwelling birds such as silver pheasantsjunglefowlsgreen-legged partridges and Siamese fireback are common on the roads and trails. Best time to visit Khao Yai for birdwatching is during the dry months and during March April when the big bird migration happens.

Khao Yai is also a good destination for watching reptiles. The best time is around March-April but with still good activity until October, during the cold seasons it takes a bit more effort to spot them. Reticulated pythonAhaetulla prasinaChinese ratsnakeChinese water dragonwater monitor and crested lizards are only few of many species that can be found in the park.

To see a long list of species in the park, visit our Wildlife at Khao Yai page.

To see the elephant sanctuary at Elephant Retirement Park

Visiting

The park is open 6 am to 6 pm everyday all year round, vehicles already inside the park can leave until late hours. The park is a very popular destination for both foreign and local tourists, it can be very busy on the week-ends and extremely busy on some holidays.

The main entrance is at north with nearest city Pak Chong in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, the second entrance is at south in Nakhon Nayok province. The entrance fee is 400 THB for adults and 200 THB for children. As of March 2015, Thai driving licence, work permit or student card holders can't get in for Thai price. When camping or staying at one of bungalows, the entrance fees will be valid for 3 days.

Get there

It is possible to explore the park by private car or motorcycle/scooter, but best experience gained by exploring via a tour company. Khao Yai is one of most popular destination for bikers in Thailand, frequently seen on the roads, quite often in groups. The Park visitor center is nearly 13 km from the northern checkpoint.

Public services - It is possible to get to park entrance by public transportation from Bangkok, but the attractions are 14 km further inside the park, it is not possible to enter the park by foot. There are no public transportation services to the visitor center area inside the park. Visitors from Bangkok need to take minivan or bus from Bangkok to Pak Chong and then change to Songtaew that operates to the checkpoint at north. Public transportation options that starts from a hotel in Bangkok and ends at north of Khao Yai could take around 4-5 hours, for more info visit Get there & Stay section of Khao Yai pages.

Private transportation - A single trip from any hotel/airport in Central Bangkok to north of Khao Yai costs from 2,300 Baht up. The trip takes around 2h 15 mins to 2h 30mins in good traffic. For more detail or online booking of private transportation visit our taxi detailspage.

Thank you http://www.khaoyainationalpark.com/

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Thai National park part 1 : Khao Yai