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Khao Yai National Park

Natural World Heritage 2005


Khao Yai is the first, best known and perhaps most popular national park of Thailand. Its myriad attractions include a wealth of wildlife, natural beauty and some of the large area of seasonal tropical forest left on mainland Asia. The park is situated about 160 km. From Bangkok and covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers.


Rainy Season: May – October. There are rains most days and the waterfalls are stunning. Sometimes the weather is cool and clear average daytime temperature is 27 degree celcius.

Cool Season: November – February. Nighttime temperatures drop to 10 degree celcius. The days are usually cool (22 degree celcius), sunny and clear.

Hot Season: March – April. It is hot and dry but still cool compared to the plains.

The forest type can be classified into 5 types.

1) Mixed Deciduous Forest this forest type occurs along the northern slope between 400 – 600 m. elevations. Tree species found in this type of forest are Afzelia xylocarpa, Pterocarpus macrocarpus, Lagerstroemia spp., Pterocymbium tinctorium, Xylia xylocarpa, Bombax ceiba and etc. The ground flora is composed of grasses, herbs such as some members of Zingiberaceae and seedlings of dominant trees.

2) Dry Evergreen Forest This forest type occurs along the eastern border between 100 – 400 m. elevations. Tree species are composed of Family Dipterocarpaceae such as Dipterocarpus alatus, D. turbinatus, Hopea ferrea, H. odorata and etc. Otherwise there are another tree species intermixed such as Lagerstroemia calyculata, Carallia brachiata, Tetrameles nudiflora, Parkia streptocarpa, Hydnocarpus ilicilfolius and etc. The ground flora is composed of members of Zingiberaceae (Alpinia, Curcuma and Globba) and etc.

3) Tropical Moist Evergreen Forest The forest of this type covers vast area of the park from 400 – 900 m. elevations. In the lower elevation the vegetation is similar to the Dry Evergreen Forest, only more members of the Dipterocarpaceae are being present namely such as Dipterocarpus gracitis, Anisoptera costata. Another tree species such as Duabanga grandiflora and Anthocephalus chinensis are frequent along the valleys.

In the higher elevation D. costatus, and other tree species such as Altingia excelsa, Schima wallichii, Erythrina subumbrans, Canarium euphyllum, Sandoricum koetjape and etc are found. Along streams Musa acuminata and Pandanus spp. may be found. Some orchid species such as Aerides falcata, Cymbidium aloifolium, Renanthera coccinea and Rhyncostylis retusa are found in this forest type.

4) Lower Hill Evergreen Forest The hill evergreen forest of Khao Yai National Park extends from 1,000 m. elevation, Member of the Dipterocarpaceae stop at this elevation and replace by gymnosperms such as Podocarpus neriifolius, Dacrycarpus imbricatus with Dacrydium elatus and some species of oaks and chesnuts. Otherwise there are some tree species of Lauraceae and another tree species such as Betula alnoides, Schima wallichii, Mastixia spp. and etc. The ground flora is composed of ground orchids such as Calanthe triplicata and some herbs such as Globba spp., Sonerila deflexa and etc. Some orchid species may be found such as Dendrobium scabrilingue, D.infundibulum, Trichotosia dasyphylla and etc.

5) Grassland and Secondary Growth The grassland and secondary growth are recent effect of man. In the grasslands the main species is Imperata cylindrica with a number of tall grasses. Otherwise some saplings and seedlings of pioneer species are setting such as Macaranga spp., Duabanga grandiflora, Anthocephalus chinensis.

The secondary growth is found on both sides of roads and composing of pioneer species mentioned above with the addition of Hibiscus macrophyllus.

The Wildlife

Wildlife is plentiful. At least 70 mammalia species are found. Sambar and barking deer are frequently seen in the grasslands. Macaques are often seen on the roadsides. Gibbons may be seen on some fig tree. Elephants are sometimes spotted at salt – licks. Civets, squirrels, porcupines add a bit of variety. Otherwise the big flock of insect – eating bats will leave their caves near the edge of the park at sunset. You will see their flock coming out near the entrance of the cave.

For birds, 318 bird species are recorded. Reptiles, 74 species occur in the park.

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Khao Yai National Park article
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