Getting to Khao Yai National Park just outside of Bangkok, Thailand is an adventure in of itself. The optimal way to visit is by car. If you can rent a car in Bangkok that would be the best as it gives you flexibility getting there and a way around the park. This is not feasible or desirable for many travelers, so here is a guide on how to get there sans automobile.
Getting to Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok
Take a bus from the Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok. You can take a taxi here or you can take the BTS skytrain to the Mo Chit stop. The Mo Chit BTS stop is the Mo Chit train station and not the bus stop, so you still have a few kilometers to go to catch your bus. You can either hail a taxi or grab the number 3 bus.
I have no idea how much the bus costs. I jumped on the bus and inquired from the driver how much and who to pay, but he did not respond. For me, it was free. I think you are supposed to pay before you get on, but I can neither confirm nor deny. It cannot be more than 50 baht. Another option to Pak Chong is getting a mini bus at the Victory Monument for 160 baht. This eliminates the connection from Mo Chit train to bus station. The Victory Monument is on the BTS line.
At Mo Chit, go to the Northeastern line section and look for Pak Chong. My bus ticket to Pak Chong was 118 baht and 150 baht return. My return trip must have been express. I would pony up for express as it was at least an hour quicker and worth the extra U.S. dollar.
From Pak Chong
Once in Pak Chong, then look for the 7-eleven downtown. It is just up the street from the pedestrian bridge. The 7-11 sign is high up, so it is easy to overlook. Just ask someone for transportation to Khao Yai from the 7-11, and they will point you the way.
At the 7-11 there is a little truck called a sorngtaaou that goes back and forth between the park and Pak Chong every half hour starting at 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. This costs only 40 baht and takes you to the gates of the national park.
Time to hitchhike
Now is where the true adventure starts. The Visitor’s Center is 14 kilometers from the gates and the campground is another 7 kilometers from there. It is time to get the thumb out and hitchhike. Actually, the Asian way of hitchhiking is to stick your arm straight out palm down and wave it up and down, but I did the U.S. version and had no problem.
Hitchhiking sounds scary to many Americans, but in Thailand and especially on the road going into Khao Yai it is almost 100% safe. Every time I had to hitchhike in Khao Yai, I was picked up within two or three cars. In fact, a couple of times I was picked up walking when I was not even sticking my thumb out and people stopped and asked if I needed a ride.
Each person who picked me up was nicer than the one before or as equally nice. When I was trying to get to the campground one guy said something about going somewhere else and coming back. I was not sure what he said, but I discerned that he was heading somewhere first and afterward would take me to the campground.
This is what occurred. The guy drove me to a beautiful overlook about 20 kilometers away and then I went on a hike with his family to the cliff, and then on the way back they dropped me off at the campground. This was great because I would have never been able to check this place out if this little tangent had not taken place.
Another option if you are not inclined to hitchhike is to rent a motor scooter in Pak Chong. This again gives you flexibility going to and from the park and inside of it. Again, I would definitely recommend renting a car, but you can still visit the park without and it adds a new dimension to the adventure.
Please note: At the time of writing this article the dollar baht exchange was 1:31
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Great info, you seem to have covered all “how to get there” options. I have been to Khao Yai 2 times so far this year, will probably get there third time before the Christmas. Khao Sok for me tomorrow morning.. 🙂
One thing I want to add info about is the rental of Scooter, it costs 300 Baht to rent in Pak Chong, the only place I know if a Chinese place maybe 300-400m towards Khao Yai from the 7-11 shop on the other side of the road.
One can also rent a scooter at the entrance to Khao Yai, right where you took the photo, the hut to the right on the photo, but it costs 600 Baht there.
Thank you so much for the informative comment. I appreciate the fact that it added to my post. I am not a scooter driver, so this is information I am unfamiliar with, but that readers who find this article might find useful. Thanks again.
I’ve never been to Thailand. It’s good to hear about hitching being a great option. Your bus story reminds me of mine at the Atlanta Olympics. I jumped on a bus that turned out to be a media bus. So I got a free ride to the media entrance of the Georgia Dome.
Trips By Lance recently posted..My Pros and Cons of Hostels
I would not hitchhike around the rest of Thailand. There is no need with such cheap bus fares. Always nice to get VIP treatment.
I spent my youth hitchhiking – often alone and miss the fact that you shouldn’t do it in North America now. Sounds to me like this trip is a real adventure and made even more so because I assume you don’t speak any Thai. I’ll be very curious to hear how Borneo went.
Leigh recently posted..Exploring Venice, California – One of LA’s Hip Beach Neighborhoods
I am in Borneo now. I am visiting a few local national parks, but I won’t have the time to do some deep interior treks. I have made some good contacts to where this could be done at a future date.
What a fun adventure! Way to enjoy the journey.
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It was a little bit of a hassle, but those always make for better stories.
Beautiful Thailand…I can’t wait to visit. However, I don’t think I’ll be hitchhiking.
Leah recently posted..My Trip to the Philippines: Tremors,Tornado & Super Typhoon
I would not recommend it. The bus and train system is so affordable and convenient, hitchhiking is only needed for spots like this where there is no other option outside of renting a car.
I think you were better off taking the bus than renting a car in Bangkok. The traffic there is unreal (worse than LA on the 405 at rush hour). I’d be afraid to drive there.
Very true. Bangkok is a traffic nightmare.
So happy you are scouting out Thailand… the TBHoF considers such adventures a (near) requirement… thanks for also letting us know hitchhiking is cool in the land of smiles…
stay adventurous, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently posted..Postcard-Colorful Costa Rica’s Scarlet Macaw
It was great how each driver beamed one of those magical smiles each time they picked me up. Love the people here.
I wish you learned all the proper hand signals from around the world, Traveling Ted. lol
It is neat to hear how friendly folks were to a stranger. Glad you had this experience.
Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Photo of the Week – Mainz, Germany
You live and you learn. It was another amazing experience in Thailand.
Not sure hitch hiking is quite my style, but it’s honestly fun to watch you on these adventures. What a beautiful outlook! I love Thailand.
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Hitchhiking is the last resort for transportation. I would never do it unless I felt 100% safe and there was no other option. Usually in Thailand, there is always bus, train, tuk-tuk or something, but not in this park. This is the same in our country too. Most of our national parks do not have any type of transportation system inside the park boundaries.
i want to get to Thailand soon and have enjoyed watching your trip progress. the sun suits you, Ted.
lola recently posted..One Day Stay: Los Angeles, California
So does this wonderful country and part of the world.
Thanks for sharing. I will be going to Khao Yai for the first time with my husband for vacation. From what i see, you were saying that you get a bus from Mo Chit terminal to Pak Chong, but can i know how long the journey would take? Is it gonna be like 2.5 hours ride? And where did you buy a return ticket for the bus back to Bangkok from Pak Chong? Appreciate if you can share the information. Thanks! 🙂
So great you will be visiting Khao Yai. The bus trip is more like 3-4 hours. It probably only takes 2.5 hours to get there, but there are a couple of stops. Yes,I did get the bus from Mo Chit terminal.
Getting a bus back is simple. Just show up at the terminal and buy a ticket. There are several buses a day that go back to Bangkok. I am not exactly sure where the bus station is, but it is on the main street that goes through Pak Chong. Just ask anyone on the street where to find the bus station to Bangkok and they will tell you. That is what I did both times I visited. Let me know if you have any questions.
great page 🙂
Is is true that there is something called nude hiking in Khao Yai? I am somewhat interested during my vacation soon to Thailand.
Apparently it is a thing
I have been twice and never heard of it or come across it.
Here is another resource:
There is also a notation of it here: