While always full of new sights and experiences, the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Sometimes we just need to escape the smog and noise of the city and relax in nature. Thailand is full of natural beauty, but many of the common postcard-worthy locations are in the north or the southern islands and require multi-day trips. If you are a busy college student and only have a day or two to spare, don’t worry! There are many options to find fresh air and outdoor activities near Bangkok. The following three locations are all within a few hours of the city and provide one-of-a-kind views and unforgettable experiences with wildlife.
Khao Yai National Park
Located in north of Bangkok, Khao Yai National Park is the largest national park in Thailand. Upon arriving at the park, you will likely be immediately greeted by large groups of macaques scavenging for food or grooming each other on the side of the road. Look more closely and the park’s other primate species, gibbons, can be seen gracefully swinging between trees and vines. Other wildlife that is commonly seen includes elephant, deer, and horn bills. According to our guide, there are only ten Tigers left in the park and you would have to be extraordinarily lucky (or unlucky!) to spot one. A guided day tour in the park will include jungle trekking and visiting several majestic waterfalls. The most famous being Haew Suwat waterfall, which Leonardo DiCaprio’s character jumped off in the film ‘The Beach’. Make sure to bring long pants and proper shoes for Khao Yai, as leaches are common and river crossings are often unavoidable.
Erawan Falls National Park
To the west of Bangkok, near Kanchanaburi, lies another of Thailand’s many national parks. Despite its proximity to Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, Erawan Falls is rarely overcrowded with tourists and can be a nice place to relax and unwind. There is a series of waterfalls along an easily walk-able path that leads to several different emerald green pools where one can escape the heat. Make sure you walk all the way to the top, as there will be less people and you might even have your own private swimming hole!
Elephant Haven Thailand
Also near Kanchanaburi is a quiet elephant sanctuary along the river called Elephant Haven. Elephants are an important symbol for Thailand and it is on almost every travelers bucket list to see one. However, many elephants have been mistreated for popular tourist activities like elephant riding and elephant shows (read why you shouldn’t ride elephants here). All the elephants at this sanctuary have been rescued from these types of events and now enjoy freedom. A day at Elephant Haven involves swimming with the elephants in the river and bathing and feeding them. Expect to completely fall in love with these magnificent creatures and to come away with an epic new profile picture!
The world awaits…discover it.