When people want to escape the crowds and pollution of Bangkok they usually venture north to Chiang Mai or south to the beaches of Phuket.
Few have heard or been to Khao Yai National Park near Pak Chong, which is only a mere 200km northwest of the capitol city.
Take a bus to Pak Chong from the Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok. From Pak Chong take a songtaew (a truck with two long benches in the back) from in front of the 7-11. Do not be tempted by other drivers offering to take you to the park as they will charge you three times the amount. The songtaew stops at the park gates and that is where the adventure begins.
The campground and park office is 13km from the park office. You either have to arrange a ride in advance from the park or hitchhike. I hitchhiked and was picked up in a matter of twenty minutes.
Everything can be arranged at the park office. Food can be purchased at the camp office or the campground. Sleeping bags and tents can be rented at the campground, so there is no need to bring anything extra.
Guides and safaris can either be arranged at the park office or through several outfits that are located outside the park. The night safari is a must as this is done in the back of a truck with a bright light shining into the jungle. Walking tours can also be arranged with a guide through the park office.
Wildlife consists of: Asiatic Black Bear, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Gibbon, Indian Sambar Deer, Indian Muntjac, Dhole, Wild Pig, Deer, Sambar, Barking Deer, Civet, Squirrel, Porcupine, Oriental Pied, Wreathed Hornbill, Brown Hornbill, Eared Pitta, Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo, Silver and Siamese Fireback Pheasant, Blue Pitta, Long-tailed Broadbill and Slaty-backed Forktail.
Do not expect to see a tiger though as the 30 or so that inhabit the park are very shy and rarely seen. Take a walk at dusk or dawn near the campground and see monitor lizards, wild dogs, and hundreds of beautiful hornbills.
Khao Yai is Thailand's premier adventure travel wildlife destination and a great way to escape the craziness of Bangkok.