It may not be the top destination for short-term traveling in Thailand. But, if you have enough time or you want to experience Thai nature, this could be a good option. In summary, Khao Yai National Park has two main attractions, the modern side: beautiful European style resort and attraction & the natural side: forest, wildlife, and waterfall. Actually, it would be better if you have your own transportation from Bangkok. But, if you want to take public transportation, you can take minivan from Mochit to Pak Chong (you also can go here by train) or Prachinburi. Then, you can hire or rent motorcycle or car from here.
We departed from Rayong with our driver. The distance from Rayong to Khao Yai was around 250 km, through Prachinburi, it took around 3.5 hours. Entrance fee for foreigner was THB 300 per person. We directly headed to Lam Takhong Camping Ground. This was the first campsite. There were another two, Pak Kluai Mai and campsite near visitor center (but, I think it was temporary since there were many people during New Year Holiday). I thought, Lam Takhong was the best campsite compared to the other two based on its scenery and facilities. The advantages of camping in campsite are shower facilities, electricity, and ranger (to keep us safe from wild animals). For camping in campsite, you have to pay THB 30 per person. Big tent (2 – 3 people) costs THB 250, while blanket, matrass, and pillow can be rented for THB 20 per piece.
We had lunch in a restaurant in the way to Palio. It was surprisingly very affordable and delicious. Then, we visited Palio. It was a man-made attraction. Such a big park, with European architectural design. So, for the westerner, I though it may not be interesting. There were many food sellers , unique stuffs, and nice gallery.
We stopped by in two beautiful view-points before going back to campsite. It was so serene near the river, such a very relaxing place to enjoy sunset.
We had dinner in the camping site. Since we did not prepared anything to cook, we just bought Mama (Thai’s famous instant noodle), snacks, and hot chocolates. Even if it’s simple, I really enjoyed that dinner since I spent it with good friends and good conversation. Anyway, the weather was quite cool, around 15 degC.
In the morning, we followed the trail near Lam Takhong. We planned to visit the nearest waterfall, but we got lost. It was also difficult to find people, until we found a park officer riding a golf cart, and he offered to take us there. Yeay! We visited three waterfalls.
First, Khong Kaew waterfall. Not a big one, and it was also not rainy season.
Second, Haew Suat waterfall. It was beautiful. I heard that some scenes in ‘The Beach’ was shot here. You just need to stop at the parking lot, and go downstairs to reach the waterfall. But, actually there was a trail from Pha Kluai Mai camping ground to this waterfall, but beware of the ‘crocodile sign’ in the trail. Following day after we visited, I read in the news that there was a woman almost hit by crocodile since she wanted to take selfie near the crocodile.
Third, Haew Narok waterfall. Since this waterfall was quite far from camping ground, you can put this as last destination before going out from the national park. This was the largest waterfall compared to the other two. It was amazing. They provided 1 km path from the parking lot to this waterfall, but the stairs were quite steep, I did not recommend this for elders, kids, and pregnant women.
NYE in CentralWorld & Church – Temple – Mosque in the Riverside
We asked our driver to drop us in minivan station. It was in the main junction of Prachinburi. The minivan from Prachinburi to Bangkok (Din Daeng) cost THB 100 for distance around 180 km, and it took around 2.5 hours. At Bangkok, we stayed in Thai Cat Hostel. The location was perfect as it was very close to ARL station Ratchaprarop. We had dinner at the Indian restaurant nearby and took a walk to CentralWorld to enjoy the New Year Eve. It was clean and comfortable. They also provided simple breakfast.
In this New Year Eve of 2017, there was no fireworks due to mourning period for the King Rama IX. But, there were some light-attractions in front of CentralWorld. It was sooooo crowded! Really not me. Hahaha. The main agenda of the NYE celebration was such a prayer, people brought yellow flower and candles, no euphoria of countdown.
In the next day, we checked out and went to the church as my friends wanted to attend the mass. They picked Santa Cruz church in Thonburi, in the riverside of Chao Phraya. While, they joined the mass, I took a random walk in the riverside. It was so relaxing to walk nearby Chao Phraya in the morning. I walked and found a temple. Then, I went to Tonson mosque nearby the area, had a Dhuha prayer there, and bought a refreshing iced-coffee in the street seller.
See you in the next post about trip to Ayutthaya and Lopburi 🙂