established in 1962, Khao Yai was then thailand’s sole national park. today there are well over 100, but this one remains popular. set over 770 sq miles (2,000 sq km), the park has a wide variety of habitats, including submontane evergreen forests and grasslands. there are also several mountains of around 3,300 ft (1,000 m), including Khao Khieo. the abundant wildlife includes many endangered mammals such as elephants, gibbons, tigers and Malaysian sun bears, as well as more than 300 bird species. Visitors are advised to hire a guide for trips to more remote parts. the surrounding area offers luxurious resorts, golf courses, and even vineyards.
Khao Yai is home to about 20 of the 500 or so tigers left in Thailand. These noble animals can be found surprisingly close to the park’s headquarters; visitors should treat them with respect
Siamese Fireback Pheasant
Thailand’s national bird, this pheasant spends its days on the ground where it feeds on small insects, seeds, and fruit. It roosts in the trees at night.
These tailless apes use their long arms to move swiftly and agilely through the trees.
Submontane Evergreen Forest
This type of forest often contains deciduous trees such as chestnuts. It grows at Khao Yai’s highest altitudes, 3,300 ft (1,000 m) to 4,450 ft (1,351 m) above sea level
Sambar are the largest species of deer in Thailand and are primarily forest dwellers. Though hunted by tigers and leopards, humans are its main predator. It is now common only in well-protected conservation areas.
This parasitic fungus is found in humid evergreen forests all over Southeast Asia. Unlike many parasites, its presence actually encourages the growth of its host.
Haeo Suwat Waterfall
Located along the upper reaches of the Lam Takhong River, this waterfall is one of many dotted around Khao Yai. From March to May each year many varieties of orchids can be seen flowering around the waterfall. Elephants have been known to drown while crossing near waterfalls when the rains are very heavy.
Lam Takhong River
Rainfall in Khao Yai National Park is usually in excess of 120 inches (3,000 mm) per year. Streams swollen by the rains flow off forested slopes forming rivers, among them the Lam Takhong River. Wildlife living around this river includes kingfishers, cormorants, elephants, and macaques