1. Ao Phang Nga National Park
Ao Phang Nga National Park is a marine park in southern Thailand, in the Phang Nga Province. There are quite a few things to see in this park, so it’s good if you can spend at least a few days here. The park encompasses a bay of 42 karst islands, with a number of beautiful beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs, caves and lagoons to explore. The most popular spot is James Bond Island, given its name after part of The Man With the Golden Gun was filmed here. If you like to explore caves, you’ll want to take a day trip to Koh Panak Cave, which can only be entered in a boat.
2. Mu Ko Similan National Park
Mu Ko Similan National Park is another of Thailand’s marine parks, an archipelago of 11 islands 70 km (43 miles) off the coast of the Andaman Sea. These granite islands are as beautiful above the water as below, topped with rainforest, surrounded with white beaches and fringed by coral reefs. Between December and April, the waters are very clear, making it a good time for snorkeling and diving. Some of the islands, such as Ko Miang and Ko Simlan, have hotels and restaurants. There are several companies that offer diving tours of the islands. On some of these, you can stay aboard the boat for several nights and go on diving excursions during the days.
3. Khao Sok National Park
This national park, located in the Surat Thani Province, consists mainly of rainforest and jungle. It is, in fact, considered the rainiest spot in Thailand, which helps to support a wide diversity of plants and animals. In addition to hundreds of bird species, the park has wildcats, deer, tapirs, elephants and boar. You can also find one of the world’s largest flowers here, the increasingly rare Rafflesia kerrii, which, in Thailand, lives only in Khao Sok. The dry season, between June and October, is the optimal time to visit. Between April and June is monsoon season, when flooding is common and many trails are slippery.
4. Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park
Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, in the Gulf of Thailand, is a marine national park consisting of 42 islands. The best way to see this park is to take a boat tour or rent your own boat. Speedboats and kayaks are both popular here. There are many spots that are good for snorkeling and diving. You can rent tents or bungalows if you want to stay one or more nights. Several islands have beautiful white sand beaches while others have mountains where you can hike and enjoy splendid views at the top. In addition to a wide variety of marine life, you may see monkeys, otters, wild boar, dusty-leaf and macaque monkeys on the islands.
5. Mu Ko Surin National Park
Mu Ko Surin are a protected group of islands in the Andaman Sea, 60km (37 miles) from the mainland. These islands offer many great snorkeling spots, with clear waters, stunning coral reefs and many kinds of fish, sea turtles and other marine life. There are also some great spots for diving, such as Richelieu Rock, a world famous diving site. You can take organized tours to this marine park or visit on your own. Some of the islands offer camping or bungalows for rent. Mu Ko Surin National Park is the ideal destination if you want to spend time relaxing on the beach or snorkeling.
6. Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is in western Thailand, in the Kanchanaburi Province. One of the park’s major attractions is Erawan Falls, a seven-tiered waterfall named after an elephant from Hindu mythology. You can climb up this waterfall and bathe in the pools. This park also has several caves that you can explore. The easiest way to reach the park is to take a bus from Kanchanaburi, which takes about an hour and a half. There are multiple buses every day, so it’s an easy day trip. If you want to spend more than a day at Erawan National Park, you can camp out or rent a bungalow.
7. Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park, which is located in central Thailand, was created in 1962 as the first national park in Thailand. This park is in the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range, so it’s a popular destination for hikers and mountain climbers. You will also find other landscapes such as grasslands and tropical forests. The park is also appealing to wildlife lovers. Some of the species you’re likely to see here include gibbons, leopards, monkeys and elephants. Although now rare, it is even possible to spot a tiger. You can also find many waterfalls in the park, the largest being Haew Narok.
8. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
This national park, which is in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, is notable for its limestone hills. The name of the park means “mountain with 300 peaks.” Many visitors come here to see Phaya Nakhon Cave, a large cave that has a Buddhist temple inside. The park is also a popular destination for bird watchers, and you can see some 300 species of birds here. January and February is especially good for observing migratory birds. If you are staying in Hua Hin, it’s easy to arrange for a day trip to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
9. Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan is Thailand’s largest national park and is on the border of the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve in Burma. The park is mostly rainforest, and is famous for the dense morning mist covering the park with hilltops sticking above mist cloud around December-March, creating a spectacular view. The park is also well known for its diverse wildlife, especially birds and butterflies. More than 400 species of birds have been identified here, including rare species such as giant pitta, great argus and whooly-necked storks. There are also many mammals, such as leopards, wild dogs, bears and elephants. You can take boat rides on one of the parks two rivers or large lake. Kaeng Krachan National Park is an exciting destination for a variety of activities, including hiking through forests, bird watching, boating or scaling one of the park’s tall peaks.
10. Kui Buri National Park
Located near the Burmese border, Kui Buri National Park is recognized as being one of the best destinations in Thailand for wildlife viewing, especially elephants. Herds of elephants can frequently be found bathing at the watering ponds near the Pa Yang substation, which is equipped with wildlife-viewing platforms. While visitors are permitted to drive their own cars into the park, you must take a guided tour to explore protected areas of the park. Tours are given on pickup trucks or 4×4 vehicles. You can rent tents or bungalows if you want to stay overnight. If you come here between May and November, you should expect lots of rain. The driest months are usually June and July.