What kind of traveller are you? If you’re a fan of wildlife, especially animal feeding at zoos or farms, you have to include this attraction in your Khao Yai itinerary. Feeding wildlife is so much exhilarating than caged animals.

Situated mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Khao Yai National Park is the third largest national park in Thailand and is home to hundreds of species including deers, elephants, gaurs and many others. While camping is not required to catch a glimpse of these impressive animals, it certainly enhances the experience.

If you’re unsure of how to plan your camping trip at Khao Yai National Park, our ultimate camping guide will provide you with locations, activities, prices, and most importantly — all you need to know to survive the wild!

Our camping experience

There are two main campsites in the park: Lam Ta Khong Campsite and Pha Kluai Mai Campsite. We stayed at the Lam Ta Khong Campsite as it is recommended for wildlife watching.

We spent $13 per night for two pax which includes service fee, a tent that fits three pax, two sets of bedding, blankets and pillow. There are other accessories available but we felt that it was not necessary. We recommend securing your rental by noon, especially on weekends as advanced booking is prohibited. We managed to pitch our tent within 15-20 minutes.

The campsites and equipment are generally clean and it was not too difficult to find a decent spot despite New Year’s Eve. In case you are wondering, it is safe to leave your belongings in the tent, but food should be sealed up as the animals might dig through your items. Just remember to bring your valuables with you at all times!

There are shower facilities in the campsite but there is no water heater provided so it was really cold to bathe during the winter season. The toilets are not in the best conditions (actually it was quite dirty) but we have no complaints since it was a campsite.

They also provide a charging station that is only available in the morning and evening. If you have a few devices, it is better to bring an extension cord, or even a bike or car charger if you don’t want the time restrictions.

If you need petrol, just ask the rangers or staff and you can purchase it in one of the houses at the front of the campsite. There are no proper petrol stations and prices will be slightly higher too.

Wildlife watching

The best perks that come with camping in the National Park is the wildlife watching. In our total of 5D4N camp stay, we have seen the following animals:

  1. Asian Elephants
  2. Gaurs (rare)
  3. Malayan Porcupine
  4. Sambar Deer
  5. Black Giant Squirrel
  6. Barking Deer
  7. Great Hornbill
  8. Oriental Pied Hornbill
  9. Crab-eating Macaque
  10. Northern Pigtailed Macaque
  11. Asian Water Monitor
  12. Asian Palm Civet

Elephants are rare to encounter, but luck was on our side. We saw elephants on four different days. For higher chance of encounters, visit the areas with artificial salt licks as they usually appear there. Whenever the elephants appear, the park rangers will be around to control the crowd and ensure that the public do not go too near the animals for safety reasons.

Drop by at Seventeen Degree Cafe for a coffee break and you might be lucky enough to spot this deer as it visits the cafe almost daily.

Be sure to keep a lookout for deers or porcupines around your campsite. We spotted animals several times throughout the day and even night, the experience was truly magical.

Hiking trails

There are seven official trails of which most must be accompanied by either a guide or a ranger, which is required to be arranged earliest in the morning for availability. You can also arrange for a night safari ride with additional fee. As we had plenty of opportunities to see animals, we gave this a miss.

Waterfalls

Haew Narok Waterfall

Aside from animal encounters, you can explore the nature such as waterfalls during the wetter seasons. There are two main waterfalls that are easily accessible by the public: Haew Su Wat Waterfall and Haew Narok Waterfall. Most of the other waterfalls require trekking with a guide as they are quite far away from the main site. The Haew Narok Waterfall is by far the most impressive and largest waterfall in the National Park.

Other recommended attractions

5D4N might sound like an overextended trip, but there is just that many attractions in Khao Yai National Park, especially if you want a relaxing experience.

Nong Phak Chi Wildlife Observation Watchtower

Have a casual hike to the Nong Phak Chi Wildlife Observation Watchtower where you can just sit at the tower and enjoy the scenic view. If you are lucky you might just spot one or two animals. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any that day. But the breeze was pretty enjoyable.

Sai Sorn Reservoir

The reservoir is a popular place for picnics, and is almost always crowded with visitors. It’s a great photo spot to many, but doesn’t appeal very much to us.

Pha Diao Dai

This is a highly notable viewpoint in Khao Yai National Park, which has an elevation of 1150 meters. The trail consists of flat steps and short flight of stairs; fairly easy to access but there are not many rails to hold onto. It takes 10-15 minutes to complete the trail, and the view was breathtaking. We came back on the next day to watch the sunrise at 6am.

Opening hours: 6am-5pm

Pha Trom Chai Viewpoint

Further uphill from Pha Diao Dai, you can reach one of the highest viewpoint, also managed by the Royal Thai Air Force (1200 meters above sea level). From the cliff, you can view the vast grasslands of the Prachinburi province.

There is a mini cafe there where you can sip on some coffee while soaking in the magnificent views.

Opening hours: 7am-7pm

Food and Amenities

We only visited the main restaurant at the Visitor Centre and they serve mostly mixed rice, vegetables and meat. The prices range from 80-100 baht for a decent portion, which was just slightly more expensive than some food stalls in Khao Yai.

The campsites do serve food as well but the choices were quite limited. Otherwise, there is also a small shop that sells basic amenities, snacks and drinks.

Park opening hours: 6am-6pm daily (vehicles already inside the park can leave on late hours)

Admission Fee:
400 baht per adult (foreigners)
200 baht per child 3-14 years old (foreigners)
40 baht per adult (local)
20 baht per child 3-14 years old (local)

Related posts:

About Author