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Be it to climb peaks and take in the draw dropping scenery and discover breathtaking views, or to get down to some serious trekking and nature discovery, it would certainly be a missed opportunity not to go and take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the larger tourist destinations and fashionable beach resorts, and explore Thailand’s paradise like landscape.

Thailand’s uniquely fascinating geography and ecology have been looked after by a national parks authority since the 1960’s. There are well over a hundred such parks, all over a country with a similar surface area to that of France, ranging in size from Had Wanakorn (38 sq km) which is a Marine Park, to Kaeng Krachan (2915 sq km) in the central region of the country.

The Khao Sok National Park is situated in the Surat Thani Provence, which is a 10 hour journey from Bangkok. Experiencing the thick rainforest, mountains and limestone outcrops, rare flowers and waterfalls – including a jungle cave temple - it all seems to be like you’ve arrived from another planet as momentarily all thoughts of civilisation and the rat race is nullified by this enlightening tropical sweep. Wildlife plays a large part as many different species of animal can be found. Elephants, leopards, serow, banteng, guar and over 150 species of bird can be sought and found, in a real treat for any tropical nature lover.

The Khao Yai National Park in the North Eastern region is the second largest NP in Thailand, also a rewarding stop off for a few days, to take a trek and go exploring. If your feeling particularly daring and energetic there’s the 1351m Khao Rom summit. However staying away from any unecessary strenuous mountain climbing (not everyone’s cup of tea) is probably the best way to experience the many other glories on offer. For example, orchids flourish and in addition the park houses one of the largest intact monsoon forests which also happens to be a world heritage sight. There are over 200 species of birds to be marvelled at, along with wild elephant, various deer, tigers, leopards, bear and otters amongst many others.

Sam Roi Yod National Park – meaning Mountain of 300 Peaks – with its silver sands and blue waters is much smaller in land area but hugely diverse in the beauty on offer. There is a freshwater marsh where over 300 species of bird have been recorded, which is quite simply, a supremely tranquil place to visit and experience. There is also a famous cave called Phraya Nakhon which is reached by a climb from Laem Beach. Upon being visited by King Chulalongkorn in 1890, the Kuha Karuhas pavillion was built inside the cave.

March 06, 2010


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