National Parks
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More than any other country, Thailand has an abundance of national parks designed to protect the kingdom’s natural legacy. Although the concept of national parks might immediately conjure images of greenery, hills and mountains, Thailand’s parks are incredibly diverse. To give you an idea of the scope available, some of Thailand’s islands are national parks in their entirety and the waters around them under park protection. Most are reasonably accessible, some offer accommodation through the National Park’s office, and all provide a sanctuary for a broad range of Thailand’s wildlife and marine life.


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Toh Daeng Peat Swamp Forest
P.O. Box 37 Sungai Kolok,
- Narathiwat 96120
Tel: 0 7353 6065
 
This peat forest is one of the few of this type ofleft in Thailand. It covers a total of 125,000 Rai of land, of which 57,000 Rai homes the original forest. The forest was formerly a seabed. Over thousands of years the sand washed up and closeing it to the sea. It filled with fresh water, due mainly to heavy rainfall. The ecosystem then moved from saltwater species to fresh water ones.

This evergreen forest has a wonderful tree top walk way giving you the opportunity to check out the pristine natural beauty surrounding you. Amongst its larger and rarer inhabitants it has the Malayan sun bear and the black panther, crocodiles, down to macaque monkeys, flying squirrels and the extremely rare cloven footed flat-headed cat.

Along the 45min – 1 hour trail there are shelters and bird watching towers. At the start of the trail there is a information post that gives you advice as well as a code of conduct which you must adhere to.

To get there from Bangkok you can get a flight or a 1st class bus to Narathiwat every day. You can then take a bus to Sungai Kolok. From there follow highway No. 4057 (in the direction of Tak Bai) to kilometre marker No.5; turn left to Chawananan intersection. Head along this road to the Toh Daeng Peat Swamp Forest. Open from 9.00am - 4.30pm. Admission is free.

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Khao Yai National Park
Nakhon Ratchasima 
   
Thailand’s most famous and oldest national park, Khao Yai, covers no less than 2,165 sq km and consists of one of Asia’s largest monsoon forests. The park is most prominent in Nakhon Ratchasima but stretches into Saraburi, Prachinburi and Nakon Nayok.

Within the boundaries of the national park live wild elephants, leopards, tigers, bears, macaques, gibbons, and a good quantity of snakes, not to mention Thailand’s biggest concentration of hornbills and numerous other birds and mammals. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds and 67 species of mammals within Khao Yai.

The summit of the park, Khao Rom, rises to a height more 1351m and covers no less than five vegetation zones.

In and around the park are various guest houses, campsites and lodges with accommodation and tours available. The park is littered with paths and walks but it is advisable to seek the help of a guide if you intend to stray far. Guides can be hired for around 200baht a day. Mozzie repellent is a must and, apart from keeping mosquitoes at bay it helps deter leeches. As with all forest walking in Asia, boots and long socks are recommended.

Among the park’s waterfalls is Nam Tok Haew Suwat, immortalised in the film version of Alex Garland’s The Beach.

Sadly surrounding development, in the form of golf courses and hotels, is restricting the growth of the park and limiting wildlife corridors.

Entrance: 200baht
Hours: 0800 - 1800hrs
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Chiang Mai Night Safari
High Way No.108 (Chiang Mai - Hang Dong Rd.)
turn right to Ratchaphruek Road Chiang Mai 
Tel: (66) 059 54390
Fax: (66) 092 18773
Situated in the beautiful Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, the safari covers roughly 324 acres of Mixed Deciduous Forest and Dry Dipterocarp forest.

Thought by many to be the most beautiful night safari in the world, it has been designed as a government run natural theme park, built to promote Chiang Mai tourism and preserve this stunning area.
Chiang Mai Night Safari was officially opened on February 6, 2006 and has had more than visitors to date. The safari provides the perfect blend of adventure with safety and the luxury of a good hotel to stay in.

The Safari provides a range of trails that cover three main zones. On the Jaguar Trail visitors can take a walk of around 1,200 meters, while on the Savanna Safari and Predator Prowl trails visitors are taken around in rail cars.

There is a lot of spectacular wildlife waiting to be observed, including tigers, cheetahs, camels, deer, antelope, giraffes, ostriches and of course jaguars. The park attempts to replicate many areas of the world with its plants and animals and visitors are treated to glimpses of ‘Africa’, ‘India’, and the ‘Savanna Desert’ among other climates.

Daytime: Jaguar Trail only
Monday - Friday 1.00 pm - 10.30 pm
Saturday - Sunday and public holidays 10.00 am - 10.30 pm
Adult 100 THB
Child 100 - 140 cm of height 50 THB
Nighttime:
Jaguar Trail, Predator Prowl, Savanna Safari and Musical Fountain with water screen
Daily 6.00 pm - 12.00 pm
Tram Ride 7.00 pm - 10.30 pm (every 15 minutes
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Thap Lan National Park
Chiang Mai 
   
Declared a National Park in 1981 it became Thailand's 40th National Park and is the 2nd largest, covering an area of 2,235.80 sq.km. It covers two provinces, Ratchasima and Pranchin Buri. The parks Headquarters are around 200 north of Bangkok. With its content being mountain ranges, valleys and waterfalls it is a truly splendorous natural delight. The highest peak is 992m above sea level and is called Khao Lamang.

You can see the mark of man here too though, when the guerrillas sough refugee status during the 1960's and 70's they cleared some of the forest for rice production and the camps' remnants still remain. Deforestation has in recent years been curbed and The Petroleum Authority of Thailand has a project in place which sponsors the planting of new trees around the parks' boundary.

Other things to check out whilst there include the fan palm, which has a special place in Thai culture as its leaves were by used Buddhist monks as parchment, also the very beautiful Bor Thong and Huai Yai Waterfalls.
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