Thailand isn’t all beaches and temples. There are picturesque destinations in the mountains, too. Khao Yai is one of them. It’s the biggest national park in Thailand, boasting hundreds of different species of animals and lots of different activities for you to enjoy. Read on to find out why it should be on your list of places to visit.
- See Wild Elephants
Every year, millions of tourists flock to Thailand. Many of them will visit an elephant ‘sanctuary’ during their stay, but these places aren’t always what they seem. They’re often rife with animal abuse, and the elephants can be seen chained up and beaten with bull hooks in full view of visitors.
In Khao Yai, you can see wild elephants in their natural habitat. They’re commonly seen walking through the jungle or even on the roads, so you can enjoy their majestic beauty without visiting an unethical park where they’re captured and trained.
If you’re interested in ethical elephant tourism, this is the way to go.
- Hike through the Jungle
There’s nothing quite like exploring the wilderness of Khao Yai on foot. As you walk through the jungle, you can try your hand at spotting gibbons, wild boars, deer, and countless other animals. You can also find hundreds of different types of insects and plants, too.
- Watch the Incredible Flight of Several Million Bats
Every evening, more than three million bats fly out of Khao Luk Chang cave in Khao Yai. At around 6pm, they head out for their evening hunt in search or insects to eat. They do this in a huge group because there’s safety in numbers, and eagles are waiting to catch them as they exit the cave. If you look closely, you can see these birds of prey picking them off as they fly.
It’s an incredible sight, with what seems like an endless stream of bats flying through the air for around forty-five minutes. As the shoot across the sky, they make beautiful shapes, and it’s mesmerizing to watch.
If you like, you can go inside one of the bat caves, too. Just be careful, you’ll be surrounded once you get in there!
- Camp in the National Park
If you really love the great outdoors, your trip doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Lots of tour companies will set up tents for you so you can stay overnight. If you’d rather go it alone, you can bring your own equipment and do it that way, instead.
Some companies will have the guide stay with you in order to provide protection and entertainment throughout the night. Others will simply drop you off and pick you up again in the morning. Shop around and find one that suits you.
- Stay at Boutique Hotels on a Budget
You don’t have to sleep in a tent to enjoy everything that Khao Yai has to offer. There are lots of luxury hotels in the area, which provide stunning views of the mountains. These hotels are a fraction of the price that you’d expect to pay in the city, so you can enjoy luxury living without breaking the bank.
Enjoy a Break in the Mountains
Thailand isn’t the only place in South East Asia that’s great for a relaxing mountain vacation. The Philippines has some excellent national parks, too. Take a look at our top five mountain resorts in the Philippines and start planning your next trip.
Emma Thomas is a freelance writer, ESL teacher and Muay Thai fighter who has been living in Thailand for over 7 years. You can read more about her adventures at UndertheRopes.com.