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Kaeng Krachan National Park

This is the largest, and one of the most dramatic, national parks in Thailand. It is still largely unexplored. The park covers the watershed of the Phetchaburi river which is on the Tanao Sri Mountain Range with the peak at Panoen Tung mountain. On the way to Tho Thip waterfall, an ocean of fog is visible alongside the mountain range. Phetchaburi river is full of rapids and there is an abundance of wildlife. It is a paradise for bird and butterfly watchers.

Sai Yok National Park

Sai Yok national park encompasses the famous Kwae Noi river of Kanchanaburi province. The park is a forest with caves on the riverbank. The smallest mammal in the world, Kittiís Hog-nosed Bat, weighing just 2 grams, is found here. Sai Yok is also the name of the most famous waterfall in the country. Activities here include house-boat riding on the Kwae Noi river, cave exploring, mountain biking, elephant riding and canoeing.

Phu Kradueng National Park

Phu Kradueng is the best known mesa mountain in the region and is itself part of a national park. It is a combination of pine forest and meadow with wild orchids around the waterfalls and brooks of the plateau. It is a rich habitat for wildlife, rare birds and a rare turtle called Pulu (turtle with tail). This is an ideal location to study flora and wild orchids with camping at the end of the rainy season and beginning of the cool season. The area is however closed to public from May to the beginning of October.

Khao Luang National Park

Khao Luang is the highest mountain peak in the south which stretches across the middle of the peninsula in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. It is the only mountain in the peninsula high enough to support montana birds. Trekking to the peak of Khao Luang to study wild orchids and trying to spot the Green-tailed Sun-bird popular among bird watchers and botanists, while others prefer visiting the waterfalls and the Kiriwong village to study their way of life.

Songkhla Lake & Thale Noi

A national park with a lake for water birds, it is located in between the Songkhla and Phatthalung provinces. This is the largest lake in the country full of marine plants, especially water lilies and migratory birds. Visitors here can enjoy cruising the lake bird watching and observing plant life and visiting local villages.

Sirindhorn Peat Swamp Forest

Located in Narathiwat province, this is the largest forest within a swamp and a habitat for rare species of wildlife and over 500 species of plants, 200 types of birds and other small marine animals. Hereís an excellent opportunity to study nature by observing birds and flora. The Nature Study and Research Centre has built a 1.5 km bridge across the swamp to make access easier. The best time to visit is between February and April.

Thale Ban National Park

Straddling 196 sq km of rugged jungle on the Malaysian border, Thale Ban national park in Satun Province is popular with Thai visitors from nearby Hat Yai and Songkhla. The highest peak is the 749m Khao Chin. Many other granite crags of 700m also stand over the area, their lower slopes covered with dense, triple-tiered rain forest. The terrain is criss-crossed by mountain streams. An intricate network of trails lead to the Rani, Ton Pilo and Chingrit waterfalls, and to he Ton Din and Pu Yu caves. To the west, the park extends all the way to the deserted beach by the Andaman Sea.

Khao Sok National Park

The last bastion of southern Thailandís big game, Khao Sok in western Surat Thani is home to tigers, clouded leopards, elephants, serow, gaur and Malayan sun-bears. The 640 sq km park is connected to Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary, making up the largest tract of virgin forest in the Southern Isthmus. Here, three trails lead to scenic caves and waterfalls. Kaeng Kho cave, a gallery of stalactite and stalagmite, houses a large colony of bats.

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