A Full Day Tour of Khao Yai: Thailand’s First National Park

On the way from Cambodia back to Bangkok, I had a week to kill before heading off to Myanmar. It wasn’t too far out of the way to a National Park known as Khao Yai, Thailand’s oldest and second largest, so I took a slight detour, navigated between some local buses and got dropped off in front in front of a tiny bus station in the center of town. Per usual, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was. Luckily, I was able to borrow a phone and call Bobby’s Apartment. The expat owner gladly picked me up in town and booked an all day tour for me inside the park for the next morning.


The full day tour cost 1300 Baht and included lunch and a whole bunch more. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the same guide as I got. One of my initial impressions of our fearless leader was him running back out of the jungle holding up a giant piece of elephant dropping.

The basic full day tour agenda was roughly as follows:

  1. Look for animals
  2. Put on sweet leech socks
  3. Visit Museum
  4. Look for animals
  5. Hike through forest while looking for animals
  6. Eat a scrumptious meal on the trail
  7. Visit a waterfall (The one Leonardo DiCaprio jumped off of in The Beach)
  8. Look for animals
  9. Visit a lookout point
  10. Look for animals
  11. Visit natural spring for a dip

Did I mention you look for animals? Lots of awesome animals! Our guide was a master at tracking them down and pointing them out. Monkeys, deer, giant squirrels, crocodiles, flying lizards, monitor lizards, tocans, birds on birds on birds, and even a stuffed tiger that ate a person.

Finally, lots of bugs. If insects aren’t your thing, you probably aren’t alone, but I have never seen cooler bugs than I did that day in Khao Yai. Never. And I’ve been around the tropics a bit. White jumping insects (Flatid leafhopper larvae), orange and green plant hoppers (genus Pyrops) with elephant noses, huge millipedes that tickle your arm, giant horned beetles, swarms of butterflies (moths?)… you get the picture. Check them out!

Unfortunately, we missed the wild elephants, which if I’m being honest, are the park’s main attraction and what we were searching for most of our time in the park. It’s hit or miss though when it comes to those sort of things. Good luck on your quest!

8 thoughts on “A Full Day Tour of Khao Yai: Thailand’s First National Park

  1. Hey Phil. So you used that Nikon 5100 for these shots? I’m trying to figure out what camera I want to buy so I’m doing some research. Is there another camera that you would recommend?

    • Honestly, the cameras that come stock in iPhones and Androids these days are great. They’re just about as good as most point and shoots so I probably wouldn’t even bother with one of those. If you’re looking to get real fancy, then I’d recommend getting one of the entry level Nikon or Canon DSLRs. They take amazing pictures of just about everything. If you become addicted, than you can always break the bank and upgrade later down the line.

  2. The picture you have labelled as ” green-orange moth” is a species of plant hopper og the genus Pyrops and the white ones are Flatid leafhopper larvae. 🙂

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