When people mention going to Bangkok for a holiday, the hustle and bustle of the noisy street markets and the shopping districts immediately come to mind. Thankfully, there is a quieter side to Bangkok that the earthier of folk will appreciate - the beautiful national parks that are just a couple of hours drive away from the city!
Khao Yai National Park
Hin Tung, Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok 26000, Thailand
The first of its kind in Thailand, this park spans a whopping 2,168 square kilometres. Fellow animal watchers will be able to observe migratory birds and reptiles from the two wildlife watchtowers which gives them a 360-degree view of the park. This park has more than 20 trails that ranges from 500 metres to 8 kilometres long and is accompanied by spectacular views of waterfalls that will leave trekkers breathless.
For those who would like to sleep under the stars, you may rent tents and sleeping bags at the campsite at Pha Kluaymai. Hotels and cottages are also available for rent around the area.
Erawan National Park
Tha Kradan, Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi 71250, Thailand
If you wish to be around greenery and have a sweet spot for lunches with a view, then you wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to visit the park named after a mythical three-headed white elephant of Hindu culture. Located in the province of Kanchanaburi, Erawan National Park is famous for its seven-tiered waterfall. Visitors can either have a picnic amongst nature or jump in for a swim. There are also park bungalows, resorts and tents for rent if you wish you spend the night there.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan, Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi 76170, Thailand
The largest national park in Thailand, Kaeng Krachan National Park has the most diverse collection of park wildlife – more than 420 species of birds and 300 species of butterflies to be exact. If you stay at the campsite, you can rent sleeping bags or tents and come morning, experience the beautiful morning mist. Explore the jungle via the trekking routes or just relax by the waterfall – you can’t go wrong with either! If you’d rather not stay at the campsite, there are bungalows and hotels around the area as well.
Kui Buri National Park
Hat Kham, Kui Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77150, Thailand
If birds and butterflies are not really your thing, Kui Buri National Park – home to gaurs (Indian bison) and wild elephants – just might suit you. At the Huai Luek Wildlife Area, you can hop on to one of their safari vehicles and go animal watching. The 15-tier Huay Dong Mai Fai Waterfall is also a spectacular sight. You may want to bring your swimsuit to go for a refreshing dip in the pools under the waterfall! As there are no restaurants around the area, it is strongly advised that you bring your own food. Just be sure to clean up after you’re done!
If you wish to spend the night in this beautiful park, hotels, bungalows and tents are available for rental, but do remember to book in advance as they can get pretty popular around the holiday season.
Sai Yok National Park
Sai Yok, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
If you enjoy history, this park is the one for you. Located right beside the historic River Kwai, Sai Yok National Park is home to raft houses, waterfalls and caves. Visitors will be able to explore this treasure-trove of historical riches; just remember to bring a flashlight along when exploring. The most popular attraction is the Sai Yok Noi Waterfall. Flowing through the forest and over limestone rocks, this waterfall without a doubt a beautiful sight to behold. You may also spot water monitors or barking deer by the river. The rare Kitti’s hog-nosed bat – first discovered in this exact park – is also a treat if you are able to spot it.
Accommodations here are slightly different, with the special option of staying in a private raft house. Other more conventional options include bungalows, tents and hotels.
So, if you’re looking for that getaway where you can be one with nature, be sure to add some of these beautiful parks to your list. After all, your visit to the Land of Smiles won’t be complete if you don’t walk away with one yourself!