Khao Yai, the third largest national park in Thailand, sits an accessible 2.5 hours away from Bangkok. In 1962, Khao Yai was established as Thailand’s first national park, and is now part of a network of protected areas with UNESCO World Heritage status. Elephants, sambar deer, porcupines, civets, and an astounding array of birds call Khao Yai home, as do many other beautiful creatures like gibbons, jackals and macaques.
One of the best places to watch birds and butterflies in Thailand, Kaeng Krachan is also an easy 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok. Established in 1981, this park is bordered by two rivers, providing habitat to a diverse range of beautiful rainforest creatures. Dusky leaf monkeys, elephants, gibbons, gaurs, leopards, and over 400 species of birds are found within Kaeng Krachan, including the spectacular great hornbill (whose powerful wingbeats can often be heard before you even see it!)