Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
On the strong recommendation of a close friend, Khao Yai National Park was added to the destinations while in Thailand. Situated approximately 3-hours east of Bangkok, a rental car was chosen as the most efficient way to get there, although a longer and cheaper bus also runs twice a day. Over 2,000 square kilometers in size it boasts trails for days and more wildlife than I even knew existed but the main attraction is to see elephants in the wild; A guided tour was suggested as to see and be able to identify more of the wildlife, opposed to just winging it and getting lost.
Having the same friend also suggest the Greenleaf Guesthouse & Tour, rooms and tour were booked prior to leaving. Some of the nicest and knowledgeable people work here, which more than compensates for the mediocre sleeping accommodations. Spend the extra couple of baht on a room with an air conditioner, if for no other reason than to help reduce the humidity.
The selection of photos I have from the 7-8 hours spent hiking through the trails is extremely limited because heavy rains started about two hours into the day. I also didn’t pack a longer lens, so many of the monkey’s I did see with my eyes up in the trees didn’t make for great pictures. Trust me in that I also saw a pit viper in person far too close for my liking and an Asian water monitor (similar in appearance to a komodo dragon) that was roughly 6-feet long, plus the tail.
While no elephants were spotted due to the heavy rains, I didn’t have an opportunity to take many photos, and my hiking boots took 4+ days to dry out, I strongly recommend an excursion to Khao Yai. After spending the day being soaked through the poncho, a quick shower was had and sat down for a meal at Greenleaf. Pictured is Tom Kha Kai soup and Pad Thai, which were techinically two full servings, and a Lipton Iced Tea. Total price was approximately $2.50.