Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

Comparing Khao Yai National Park wildlife from two trips

When I returned to Thailand last December, I made a beeline to Khao Yai National Park. I had visited there in 2005 and the experience was amazing. I saw elephants, civets, a snake, deer, a giant squirrel, porcupines, and several species of beautiful birds. Khao Yai National Park wildlife is incredible.

Khao Yai National Park entrance

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Entrance to the park

This recent trip was not as bountiful on the bird and animal front, but I still had an amazing time, met some incredible people, and saw a fair share of interesting birds and animals. There were no heavy hitters this time – no gibbons, elephants, or anything spectacular.

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Greeted by a macaque monkey as we drove into Khao Yai

Just being in a wild environment is tremendous

Although it makes for a great trip to see awesome wildlife, I just enjoy the feeling of being in the habitat of certain animals even if you never see them. It is still thrilling to be hiking in a jungle with elephants, tigers, and cobras. In fact, sometimes it is best if you don’t see them.

When you are in a jungle halfway around the world from your home, everything you see is interesting. Even the common animals like the monkeys, deer, and myna bird are unique to the traveler. This makes every species you come across an adventure. I enjoy seeing birds that resemble the ones from back home, but are much more colorful. We have kingfishers in Illinois, but not like the ones found in Thailand.

Masked horned lizard Khao Yai National Park

Helps to have a keen eye in Khao Yai as not all wildlife is in your face – Masked horned tree lizard

The biggest disappointment is I only saw 1 hornbill, and it was flying a long way away. I saw flocks of them last time I visited. It is advised to either hire a guide or to rent a car. Next time I visit, I will rent a car and drive myself. Although hitchhiking around the park was an adventure and a great way to meet people, I would have gotten more out of the park with the use of a car.

hornbills Khao Yai National Park Thailand

Flying hornbill captured on my 2005 trip to Khao Yai

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

I can guarantee that you will see macaque monkeys, sambar deer, and barking deer also called Indian muntjac. They are all over the place, especially in the campground areas. In fact, one sambar deer ripped open my tent and started munching on my Lonely Planet guidebook (who said print media is dead). Seeing two species of deer and one species of monkey is a good start. You have a good chance to see elephants too and there is a huge list of birds and mammals on the menu, so anything is possible. Animals like leopards and tigers are extremely rare and hardly ever seen by humans even on the night safari. They are so elusive they are usually only seen on trail cameras, so don’t get your hopes up on seeing these creatures.

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Sambar deer in the campground at Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai is for some reason off the adventure travel circuit for many who come to this great country.  People travel back and forth from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to the southern beaches, but many do not include this park on their itinerary, which I think is a huge omission in your Thailand travel plan. If you have a chance, visit this amazing park. It is an easy bus ride from Bangkok and worth at least two to three days if you can spare the time. Thank you goes out to this wonderful website in helping me identify the species.

Please read some of my Khao Yai adventures here:

Khao Yai National Park Day 1

Khao Yai Overlook with adopted family

Camping with ladyboys at Khao Yai National Park

 

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Black-crested bulbul

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Indian muntjac or the barking deer

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Barking deer in front of a pond in Khao Yai

Barking deer Khao Yai National Park

I loved the coloring on these deer – Beautiful brown fur with white underneath and darker brown streaks on their head

Red-wattled lapwing Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Red-wattled lapwings are omnipotent

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Although not listed under the birds of Khao Yai, I believe this to be a white bellied minivet

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Two red-wattled lapwings in a Khao Yai field

Macaque monkey Khao Yai

A male macaque on the side of the road in Khao Yai

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Mom and baby nearby

Khao Yai National Park

A bird I am unable to identify – Perhaps an Asia fairy bluebird – Please comment if you know

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Red junglefowl grazing near the campground in the morning

Khao Yai National Park wildlife - White-throated kingfisher

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – White-throated kingfisher

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Myna bird – Possibly the most common bird in Thailand

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

White-crowned forktail taking a bath at Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Jumping barking deer

Khao Yai National Park wildlife

Khao Yai National Park wildlife – Common kingfisher

Monitor lizard Khao Yai

A swimming monitor lizard at the campground

Adventure on!

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