A SPRING SWIM & BATS GALORE
You’re leaving Bangkok behind today and heading to KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK, a wildlife-rich expanse of steaming jungle, dry forests and open grassland, and the best place in Thailand to see elephants in the wild. The park is located 180km northeast of the capital; it can take a while to get beyond Bangkok’s suburbs, but once you’re out into the Central Plains, it won’t be too long before the limestone mountains that define Khao Yai loom into view.
Save the park proper for tomorrow, and spend this afternoon exploring its surroundings instead. Green Leaf Tours run excellent small-group trips [half-day tour starts at 3pm | ฿500, under-10s ฿250; combined 1.5-day tour ฿1500/750] that include swimming in a freshwater spring and visits to a couple of caves. Most children will enjoy the novelty of taking a quick dip in the spring’s clear waters (note that there are no changing facilities), but the caves are the real highlight. You’ll venture deep into a subterranean cavern filled with bats and Buddha statues before travelling on to another cave to watch the sun set as a million bats stream across the sky on the hunt for insects. Depending on your guide, this can be quite a “hands on” tour, so don’t be surprised if even the most cautious of your kids ends up holding a millipede, a stick insect or even a giant cave-dwelling whip spider before the day is out.
TOP TIP The quickest and most convenient way to get to Khao Yai National Park is by private MPV; Gibbon Cab charge ฿2300 for the door-to-door transfer (around 2 hours 30 minutes) in a 5-seater van.
WHERE TO STAY
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods and drinks your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From jungle treehouses to floating bungalows – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in Thailand
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of Thailand’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety and how to get around
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