The Three Most Beautiful National Parks in Thailand
Thailand is not only associated with breathtaking landscapes and dreamlike beaches, but it is also known for its exotic plant and animal life and vibrant underwater worlds. These are specifically protected in national parks in Thailand throughout the country. With over 130 national parks, Thailand is the perfect place to explore the exciting layers of wild, beautiful nature.
Well, have we piqued your curiosity? Then read on! In this article, you will learn about the three most beautiful national parks in Thailand. We will also tell you about the main attractions that await you there.
Doi Inthanon National Park – the Highest Point in Thailand
Doi Inthanon National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Thailand. You will find it in the north of the country, about 80 km southwest of Chiang Mai province. It is named after Mount Doi Inthanon, which is the highest point in Thailand at 2,500 meters. It is worthwhile to drive the 40-kilometer paved road to the summit by car or motorbike. Keep in mind that in Thailand, everyone drives on the left side of the road! If you prefer to walk, you can also hike to the top, as many highlights can be enjoyed along the way! So, even if you do drive, be sure to make stops en route to see the impressive waterfalls and caves in the park – which are also perfect photo opportunities!
This park has many impressive waterfalls that can be explored on a waterfall tour. The tour also allows you to walk through some of the mountain villages and learn about the traditions of the local people.
Directly in front of the entrance to the hike is the Mae Klang, which plunges over huge rocks into the depths below. The best thing is that there are rarely any people here in the morning, giving you a chance to take pictures without tourist crowds! If you there early enough, there is a good chance you can enjoy it alone. From there, you can walk directly to the Wang Khwai waterfall. Don’t worry – both are signposted. So, as long as you keep your eyes peeled, these two hikes are easy to combine.
Halfway to the top of Doi Inthanon is Sirithan. It’s higher than the two already mentioned, but it’s also harder to access. In fact, you’ll have to admire it from further away, but it’s still worth it for a stopover on the way to the top. Finally, we come to the most beautiful and largest waterfall in the park, which we would be remiss not to mention: Mae Ya. In our opinion, it surpasses all others here. It plunges 250 meters into the depths and is located in the south.
Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri
Just before the summit, you’ll find two gigantic pagodas dedicated to the late King Rama 9 and the Queen of Thailand on their 60th birthdays. These shrines are not always visible from further away due to the dense fog, but you can still get up close and climb them via stairs or the escalator. You can also go inside them for a small fee. The real highlight, however, are the gardens that surround them. With numerous flowers and being perched on a hillside, the gardens provide a beautiful view.
Doi Inthanon Summit
At the summit of Doi Inthanon, you’ll find yourself at an impressive 2,565 meters above sea level, making it the highest elevation in Thailand. You can capture this achievement forever with a photo. Be sure to include the large wooden plaque with the inscription “The Highest Spot in Thailand.” You will also be rewarded with an overwhelming view of the surrounding landscape. Lastly, you can sit down for a break in one of the restaurants or go souvenir shopping in one of the souvenir stores.
But beware: the closer you are to the summit, the cooler it gets with average temperatures ranging from 12 °C to 16 °C. This feels particularly cool compared to the rest of Thailand. In the Thai winter, which runs from November to February, the temperature at the top can even drop below freezing. So, be sure to pack warm clothes to enjoy the view without freezing.
Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is located in west-central Thailand, 70 kilometers northwest of Kanchanaburi province. From there, it is easily accessible by regular buses. It is also a mere two and a half-hour drive from the capital city of Bangkok, which makes it one of the most popular national parks in Thailand. Erawan is most famous for its seven-tiered waterfall and was even named after it. To avoid the crowds, you would also have to avoid the peak holiday season, weekends, and Thai public holidays. It is best to get there as early as possible in the morning to enjoy the ascent in peace and quiet before the crowds arrive.
Erawan Waterfall is the biggest attraction in the national park and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. It is named after the three-headed elephant of Hindu mythology.
Through various ladders and narrow paths, you can hike up the waterfall while looking at the dense green forests that surround it. The way to the Erawan Waterfall can be done either by walking on the paths that pass over the different waterfall steps or by riding a bicycle, which you can rent at the entrance. If you decide to bike, be aware that you will only be able to ride up to the second level; you’ll still have to walk the rest. But this shouldn’t be a problem, even if you get hot because the waterfall fills several small pools with clear, turquoise mountain water. A perfect chance for a swim! Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit, so as not to miss out on the fun.
Especially after completing the hike, enjoy the cool water while taking in the breathtaking surroundings. At the same time, you might even get an exfoliation treatment from the small fish living in the water.
Phra That Cave
In Erawan National Park, you will find numerous cave systems scattered throughout. One of the biggest and most beautiful caves is Phra That Cave, located 12 kilometers northwest of the Erawan Waterfall Visitor Center. An 800-meter concrete walkway leads visitors to the cave. Sometimes, this walkway is closed though, due to heavy rains that make the path too slippery to go on safely. The cave is 544 meters long, and the first entrance is especially impressive. We can recommend taking a guided tour of the cave. On the tour, the petroleum lamps make the mighty stalactites and stalagmites glow. This impressive cave is not to be missed.
Marine National Park Ang Thong
Now we come to one of the most extraordinary national parks in Thailand – the Marine National Park Ang Thong. It is located in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand near the beautiful islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. So, there are almost always high temperatures, even during the Thai rainy season (May to October). In November, however, the sea is so stormy that no boats can sail on it. For these reasons and for the sake of the environment, the park is closed every year from November until December 23rd. The rest of the year, however, you may enjoy the breathtaking seascape of Ang Thong Marine National Park with its 42 limestone islands. The almost untouched islands are awe-inspiring with their empty beaches, mighty rocks, and caves, as well as unique viewpoints.
Let the fascinating underwater world invite you to all kinds of activities: Whether diving, snorkeling, or sailing. Or relax on one of the numerous white beaches. This park is an absolute must-see.
Koh Wua Ta Lap Island
Koh Wua Ta Lap is the largest and, therefore, the main island of Ang Thong National Park. This island has something for everyone, from beach walks to hikes to numerous water activities. Especially for the more adventurous among us, we recommend a climbing tour to the 550-meter-high lookout point. But beware: the climb is not without difficulty: it leads up a steep, rocky path. So sturdy shoes are a must! Don’t worry, after the strenuous climb, you will be rewarded with a stupendous view over Ang Thong National Park. If you’re not quite up for this challenge, there are other lower, but still great viewpoints waiting for you, which you can reach via stairs.
Want more adventure? How about a kayak tour to the neighboring islands? Snorkeling fans can also explore the underwater world with its colorful fish. Or you can relax on the dreamy white beach and watch the monkeys, which you can spot with a little luck high in the trees.
Koh Wua Ta Lap is the only island that allows overnight stays. This is sure to make every backpacker’s heart beat faster. Spend a night in one of the bungalows near the beach or rent a tent and enjoy the beautiful ocean sunsets.
Koh Mae Koh Island
The island of Koh Mae Koh is also one of the larger islands in Ang Thong National Park and is clearly one of the most beautiful parks with its Emerald Lagoon (Talay Nai). The Emerald Lagoon, also called Blue Lagoon, is best viewed from the 240-meter-high lookout point. This lookout can be reached via a ton of steep stairs, which are definitely not to be underestimated. For this reason, we again recommend sturdy shoes to prevent you from slipping. But, with the right foot gear and the right motivation, the way up is quickly done. Once at the top, Emerald Lagoon is a true beauty of nature. It is full of salt water and is surrounded by green jungle. The viewpoint also offers a wonderful view of the neighboring islands.
If you feel like exploring more sandy beaches, you can take a guided boat tour that will take you across different bays. During the stops, you can snorkel and get to know the underwater world up close.
We hope we could accurately describe to you the most impressive national parks in Thailand. Whether high above the clouds of Doi Inthanon, next to the impressive waterfalls of Erawan, or on the fine sandy coasts of Ang Thong – the national parks in Thailand impress with their expansively diverse nature. An exotic animal and plant world, as well as a colorful underwater world, await you. The unique experience of these parks is only enriched by their various main attractions. Whether you choose wildlife watching, exciting hikes, or adventurous water activities, it is certain to be a trip for the memory books.
So what are you waiting for? See the beauty of the national parks in Thailand for yourself and explore the different layers of extraordinary nature. We guarantee you: This is an experience you won’t ever forget.