Currently, there are 127 National Parks in Thailand and 21 of them are marine parks.
Most parks charge foreigners an entrance fee of 250 THB but if you have a Work Permit or Thai driving license, the price would be around 40-100 THB as for locals.
I have broken down all the parks into sections for your convenience. Now you see which parks are in the vicinity of where you are staying and plan your trip accordingly. We want to say that there are many amazing parks in Thailand and if you are looking for THE BEST park to visit, it’s probably not the right approach.
Some parks are better for spotting wildlife, some for hiking, caves, waterfalls, swimming and etc.
Here is the map of national parks in Thailand. 4 colors represent four parts of the country along with the best and largest national parks.
National Parks in Central Thailand
(great for trips from Bangkok)
Bangkok is conveniently located in the center of the country and is a major transportation hub, so you have every opportunity to visit a national park even if you don’t drive – you can easily use public transportation. I have noticed that most people choose to stay in Bangkok for a couple of days, just like a layover, and then clearly they don’t have time for a national park.
Last time I spent the whole week in Bangkok and it was fascinating! There are so many activities from getting the best food in Bangkok and probably in all of Thailand, sightseeing, shopping, parting, getting a massage, and many many more! If you stay longer, you can use a 1 or 2 day trip to one of the amazing places I described for you below:
Khao Yai National Park
It is the oldest National park in Thailand founded in 1961. Khao Yai is the third largest and one of the most popular national parks in Thailand.
It’s great place for seeing wildlife: elephants, bears, gaurs, gibbons, 300 bird species and reptiles.
Waterfalls: Khao Yai is well known for the Haew Narok waterfall. This waterfall is 150-meter high and is a truly magnificent sight!
Another waterfall, Haew Suwat, is one of the places where the movie The Beach with Leonardo Dicaprio has been filmed. Watch this movie when in Thailand, especially if you are visiting the islands.
Variety of hiking trails of more than 50 km total lenghts.
There is also night safari that starts at 19:00 and 20:00.
We recommend exploring by scooter/car as the area is huge and would take too much time to cover by foot.
Erawan National Park
Erawan is famous for seven-tiered Erawan Falls which is not only magnificent but also huge! Even though it’s known as seven-tiered falls, there are even more tiers to go, it is just that they are closed for tourists.
There are monkeys that are actually swimming quite good.
Unlimited amount of swimming wherever you want; tiers of Erawan Falls from 2nd to 5th are especially popular.
There is fish that is called "Pla Pluang" in Thai and is a species of carp. When you enter the water, the fish begins its spa procedures regardless of whether you ordered peeling or not.
Great to explore by trekking.
Kui Buri National Park
Is famous for being the best park to spot elephants and gaur.
In fact, the population of gaur here is one of the largest in Thailand, with around 100 individuals.
Around 320 elephants roam freely and can be found especially near the water. Isn’t that a wildlife lover’s dream?
Additionally you can visit Huai Luek Wildlife Watching Area. The only way to move around there is by jeep safari tours, accompanied by park rangers.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
It’s the first marine national park in Thailand and it’s good for any purpose: hiking, wildlife watching, caves, beaches, and camping. Located 1 hour drive away from Kui Buri National Park.
Phraya Nakhon Cave
The most popular and impressive cave in the park.
Mysterious photo-worthy place.
Other caves include Tham Sai and Tham Kaeo (only with a guide)
There is a chance to see dolphins on the coastline.
Tent and sleeping accessories available for rent at Laem Sala Beach and Sam Phraya Beach.
National parks in the South of Thailand
(great for trips from Phuket or Krabi)
What does any traveler have in mind when choosing the South of Thailand as their destination? I think it’s mostly relaxing on the beach, parting, getting one of the best massages ever and just overall chilling. Aside from all this fun, I recommend that you visit at least one of these magnificent national parks – just take a look at these breathtaking sceneries!
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok is a marine national park located between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui.
Great for hiking.
You can go canoeing and rafting.
Or even off the beaten path bamboo rafting!
Take a trip to floating bungalows on Cheow Lan Lake.
Mu Ko Surin National Park
Surin Islands are an archipelago of five islands in Phang Nga Province. The archipelago is located 55km off the coast at the Andaman Sea on the oceanic border with Burma.
It’s a marine national park and a great destination for snorkeling, swimming, diving.
Picture postcard white beaches and clear water.
Best time to visit is December to April.
Stay in a bungalow or a tent.
You might see manta rays, barracudas, whale sharks but keep in mind that bigger species are seen less frequently.
Ao Phang Nga National Park
It is a marine national park with around 40 different islands and famous limestone formations.
Sea-canoeing is a popular activity in the park.
Visit Ko Khao Phing Kan, that since 1974 has been called James Bond Island.
The Phang Nga Bay is popular for all kinds of sports: snorkeling, scuba diving, even rock climbing (you may need a certification for some sports though).
Visit Ko Panyi and explore ancient wall paintings.
Similan Islands National Park
Similan Islands are an archipelago of 11 islands in Phang Nga Province 70km off the coast at Andaman Sea.
Khao Lak is a coastal village and a popular departure point for boats.
Ko Huyong: This island has the longest white beach in the national park which is also a nesting place for sea turtles. Great for swimming and scuba diving.
Coral Gardens, Ko Payang, Ko Payan and many other islands are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.
National parks in the North of Thailand
(great for trips from Chiang Mai)
If you are exploring the North of Thailand, apart from visiting Chiang Mai, Pai and Chiang Rai we would recommend visiting one of these national parks. You will find that the natural landscape is very lush and green, and differs from the one in the South.
Doi Inthanon National Park
This national park is also known as "The Roof of Thailand" and is famous for a number of waterfalls, hiking trails, remote villages and viewpoints. The park is part of the Himalayan mountain range with the highest peak at Doi Inthanon which is the highest mountain in Thailand.
Accessible for public transportation.
Climb the highest spot in Thailand.
Wachirathan Waterfall that is extremely easy to reach.
Mae Ya Waterfall is a bit out of the way but is highly recommended.
Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail and Waterfall: this spectacular hike takes about 1.5-2 hours and is highly recommended.
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
The park is physically separated in two areas with the main area located west from Chiang Mai.
The climate is cool with average temperatures of 20-23 °C.
Bhubing Palace is the royal winter palace. Charming yet touristy.
Huay Kaew Waterfall is a great option if you don’t have a lot of time in Chiang Mai and want to see a waterfall that is close to town.
Khun Chang Kian is a hill tribe village and a place where you can see the bloom of Wild Himalayan cherry in January.
Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
The park is one of the few in the country with big savannas which are often covered in mist in the early morning.
The entrance fee of 500THB is too high as there are not that many attractions.
Tham Phra Wang Daeng - the longest cave in Thailand.
Sri Dit Waterfall-relatively big one-tier waterfall.
Kaeng Sopha Waterfall - a large cascading waterfall.
National parks in the Northeast of Thailand
(off the beaten path)
Pha Taem National Park
It’s definitely an off the beaten path destination in Thailand.
Prehistoric cave paintings and fascinating rock art.
Gaze across the Mekong River into Laos.
Hike scenic routs along the foot of the overhanging cliffs.
Explore weird mushroom-like rock formations.
Still wondering what national park in Thailand to visit? Message us in the comments and we will make sure to recommend something :)
Photos in this article courtesy of Shutterstock