Forget about the Grand Canyon or Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park for a moment. Did you know that you can also find an amazing range of national parks in Thailand? If you are planning to visit this beautiful and diverse country, you will find that the national parks here make for a good alternative to the more built up areas. If you have a retirement visa in Thailand, you have all the time to experience Thailand’s unspoiled wilderness and wildlife. Here are some of Thailand’s most incredible national parks:
Ao Phang Nga National Park
Located the Phang Nga Province of southern Thailand, this National Park is a marine park that comprises over 40 karst islands. It is home to an array of lagoons, caves, dramatic limestone cliffs, and beautiful beaches. Did you know that part of The Man With the Golden Gun movie was filmed here? That’s why there’s a popular spot named James Bond Island. A day trip to Koh Panak Cave will definitely provide loads of fun.
Mu Ko Similan National Park
Mu Ko Similan National Park is an archipelago of 11 islands. These granite islands are surrounded with white beaches and topped with rainforest. The coral reefs here are also mesmerizing. If you visit the park sometime between December and April, you will be able to dive and/or snorkel in clear water. Visitors will be able to find restaurants and hotels located in islands like Ko Simlan and Ko Miang. Consider taking diving tour while you are here!
Khao Sok National Park
Located in the Surat Thani Province of Thailand, the national park consists mainly of jungle and rainforest. As it is the rainiest spot in the country, a wide diversity of animals and plants manage to thrive here. When you are here, be sure to check out the increasingly rare Rafflesia kerrii. It is one of the world’s largest flowers. The optimal time to visit is between June and October, when it is the dry season.
Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park
The national park comprises 42 islands and it can be explored via a boat tour. If you are feeling adventurous, you are welcomed to rent your own boat. The popular options are kayaks and speedboats. Apart from white sand beaches, you can find mountains on other islands that are suitable for hiking activities. You will be rewarded with splendid views at the top!
Mu Ko Surin National Park
Next up is a protected group of islands in the Andaman Sea. Mu Ko Surin consists of several islands that make for snorkeling spots, thanks to their diverse marine life, stunning coral reefs, and clear waters. Richelieu Rock is a famous diving site—don’t miss it! While the park is free for visitors to explore on their own, you can also take organized tours to this marine park. If you want to snorkel or spend time relaxing on the beach, Mu Ko Surin National Park is the ideal destination for you.
Erawan National Park
Located in the Kanchanaburi Province, Erawan National Park has several caves that you can explore. The park is home to several major attractions, and one of it is Erawan Falls. The seven-tiered waterfall was named after an elephant from Hindu mythology. You can bathe in the pools after climbing up this magnificent waterfall. Visitors are recommended to rent a bungalow or camp out if they wish to spend more than a day at Erawan National Park.
Khao Yai National Park
This national park was established in 1962 and situated in central Thailand. The national park of Khao Yai is recognized as the first national park in the country. It is a popular destination for wildlife lovers, mountain climbers and hikers because it is located within the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range. As it is home to tropical forests and grasslands, you are likely to see elephants, monkeys, leopards, gibbons, and even a tiger (if you are lucky) in their natural habitats. Don’t forget to check out the Haew Narok waterfall as well.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is widely recognized for its limestone hills. Located in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, the park’s name means ‘a mountain with 300 peaks’. Phaya Nakhon Cave receives many visitors annually as it houses a Buddhist temple. The national park is also popular spot for bird watchers. One can spot approximately 300 species of birds here. If you want to observe migratory birds, make sure you are here between January and February. Oftentimes, visitors who are staying in Hua Hin will arrange day trips to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan is the largest national park in Thailand. Located on the border of Burma’s Tanintharyi Nature Reserve, the park mainly consists of rainforest. Around December to March, the park is famous for the dense morning mist that covers it with hilltops protruding from mist clouds. It is a spectacular view not to be missed. Kaeng Krachan is also well known for its diverse wildlife, including butterflies and birds. Some of the rare species that can be spotted here include the storks, great argus, and giant pitta. All in all, the park is an exciting destination for a variety of activities, including scaling one of the park’s tall peaks, boating, bird watching, and hiking.
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