Renowned for its stunning coastlines, bustling cities, and vibrant culture, Thailand offers travelers memorable opportunities to indulge in unique experiences in breathtaking environments. While bustling cities like Bangkok, charming provinces like Chiang Mai, and tropical islands like Phuket and Koh Samui are often the go-to options, the country’s national parks offer an excellent way to explore a different side of Thailand.

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Thailand’s National Parks: A Gateway to Natural Beauty

Thailand has 157 national parks managed by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) and the Marine National Park Division (MNPD). These parks are categorized into 134 forest parks and 23 marine parks located in different parts of the country: 66 in Northern Thailand, 26 in Northeastern Thailand, 20 in Central Thailand, and 45 in Southern Thailand. Moreover, there are plans to expand the number of national parks to 179 by 2030.

Are you looking for a different kind of adventure on your next Thailand visit? Here are ten of the country’s most remarkable national parks, which showcase the country’s diverse beauty and splendor.

Kui Buri National Park

Photo: Thai National Parks

Kui Buri National Park is among the best destinations for viewing wildlife, particularly wild elephants. Private transportation is necessary to reach the park as no public transport options are available. The best time to visit is from 3 p.m. onwards when most wildlife activity occurs. Private half-day safari tours can also be arranged.

Mu Ko Surin National Park

Photo: Tripadvisor

Mu Ko Surin National Park is a protected archipelago of five islands renowned for its incredible snorkeling and diving spots. The two largest islands are Ko Surin Nuea, where the National Park headquarters is situated, and Ko Surin Tai, home to the Moken community. Access to the park is mainly via organized tours or private arrangements, with ferry services available from the nearest town, Khura Buri.

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Erawan National Park

Photo: Klook

The Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi is renowned for the Erawan Falls, a seven-tiered waterfall named after a mythical Hindu elephant. The park is easily accessible by bus from Kanchanaburi, making it a popular day trip option. For the best experience, visiting early in the morning before the crowds arrive is recommended.

Khao Yai National Park

Photo: Thai National Parks

Khao Yai was established in 1962 as Thailand’s first national park. It is the third largest in the country, with a total area of 2,168 square kilometers and boasting over 800 fauna species. It is in the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range and part of the UNESCO-listed Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex. Transportation to the park should be arranged as public options are limited. Khao Yai is accessible from Pak Chong District, about 180 kilometers from Bangkok.

Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park

Photo: Asia King Travel

Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is an archipelago of 42 islands covering 102 square kilometers. The park offers stunning limestone hills, caves, hidden lagoons, white sand beaches, and inland lakes. Established in 1980, it gained significant fame in the early 2000s because of the novel-turned-movie “The Beach”. It is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is accessible from popular destinations like Koh Samui, where some of the most luxurious holiday vacation rentals in the country are found, as well as Koh Pha Ngan and Krabi.

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Khao Sok National Park

Photo: Tripadvisor

Surat Thani’s Khao Sok National Park is known for its lush rainforests, waterfalls, trails, caves, and rivers. The park is also known for the Cheow Lan Lake, which features iconic limestone peaks, floating raft houses, and abundant wildlife. The park is accessible from tourist hubs like Phuket and Koh Samui. It is advisable to book boat arrangements in advance through tour operators or raft houses.

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Mu Ko Similan National Park


Mu Ko Similan National Park comprises 11 islands known for their granite formations, dense tropical forests, and abundant marine life. It is located 70 kilometers off Phang Nga’s coast and accessible from Khao Lak or Phuket. The park allows limited daily visitors and early arrival is recommended, as the park may close early during the rainy season due to inclement weather.

Related article: Rediscovering Similan Islands

Ao Phang Nga National Park

Photo: KohPlanner

Ao Phang Nga National Park is a 400-square-kilometer marine park known for its collection of limestone karst landscapes, sea caves, inland lagoons, archaeological sites, and prehistoric cliff paintings. Established in 1981, the park is also known for its iconic James Bond Island, featured in the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun“. The headquarters is accessible via private transportation or public buses, and tours can easily be arranged from nearby tourist destinations like Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi Islands.

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Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Photo: Arina Dmitrieva via Pexels

Khao Sam Roi Yot is Thailand’s first marine national park. Its name translates to “Mountain with Three Hundred Peaks,” referring to its distinctive limestone hills. The park is also home to the largest wetlands area in Thailand, the Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh. Khao Sam Roi Yot is in Prachuap Khiri Khan, a province located south of Hua Hin. It can be reached by private transportation and is about three hours away from Bangkok.

Kaeng Krachan National Park

Photo: Nation Thailand

Kaeng Krachan National Park is Thailand’s largest national park at 2,914 square kilometers. It was declared a national park in 1981 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021. The massive park is located in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces, right by the border of the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve. Accessing the park requires private transportation arrangements, as no public transportation goes into its central parts.


Thailand’s national parks are a testament to the nation’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty and heritage. These spell-binding parks offer a glimpse into Thailand’s natural diversity, promising to enrich each visitor’s understanding and appreciation of Thailand’s fascinating surroundings and pristine beauty.

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