DESPITE BEING JUST TWO hours from Bangkok and Khorat, Khao Yai is one awesome park. It is one of the oldest National Parks in the country, and one of the largest. Campsites are big and spacious, served with food stalls.
More importantly, this really is a good place to see wildlife. I can’t wait to go back.
There are several campgrounds inside Khao Yai National Park. BYO gear or rent. Several places serve food too! Yay.
Macaques are common in the park, and will open your tent to get at food....or toothpaste, metho, vitamins, coffee. Be warned!
Keep your eyes open for all manner of creatures -snakes, lizards, birds, and...
...and frogs. Walk slow, look for movement.
It's not just the animals to look out for, with a variety of plants and poo to keep you entertained. (Elephant, if you need to know.)
The flowers and bugs and poo help keep things interesting while you look for the stars.
An old spirit house near a camp ground in the park. Some of the staff reside in the park.
Barking deer are a common sighting in the park, often in amongst the tents, chewing the grass.
While the bugs and birds are cool, sighting a white handed gibbon is a bigger buzz.
The larger sambar deers are also common and very comfortable around people.
It took me four days of trying to finally sight elephants.
I'd smelled them. I'd heard them run off. I had expected to find them more easily, so treasured the hour or so before dusk.
Cool, misty morning views of the trees, where gibbons could be heard calling.
More of the little fellas you can find if you pay attention.
Trails are generally well marked near the centre of the park. There are longer trails which require guides.
I was surprised how often I saw gibbons. Almost every walk I went on, they turned up.
Gibbon calls are amongst the sweetest forest sounds. Listen for them, then look out for branches moving.
Great hornbills are seen in great numbers, feasting on fruit trees or flying by.
Waterfalls are a big attraction in Thai parks. I just look to see what birds there are.
Juvenile lar (white handed) gibbons are white, gaining their black fur as they mature. (or they other way round?)
The park is a mix of thick forests and large grasslands, where hopefully elephants will turn up.
Some hard core bird nerds I met where devasted to see I got the rufous woodpecker, not that I knew what it was.
While deer congregate around camps, finding them on a hike is more satsifying.
A watchtower sits a few kms from the park HQ, overlooking this dam. Good spot to wait for elephants.
Claw marks on a tree. I would like to say tiger, but bear is more likely.
Thick forest cover of big old trees make for good gibbon spotting.
I can't hide my bird nerdery.
Emerging from the forests after a fruitless 4 hour search for elephants. Grab a packed lunch from the stalls!
A heron keeps watch on my morning walk.
Not sure who this chap is, foraging in the bush.
A name as long as his tail, the greater racket-tailed drongo is a common sighting, too.
Camps, HQ, food stalls, and trails are quite spread out. Don't be shy about thumbing a ride.
I think this was another spot where I waited in vain for elephants.
Several squirrel species will make you smile in Khao Yai. This is the giant squirrel, and he is huge.
Don't underestimate these buggers, but don't miss Khao Yai.