Introducing Sai Yok National Park
The 500-sq-km Sai Yok National Park (
Near the visitors centre is the misnomer Nam Tok Sai Yok Yai (Sai Yok Yai waterfall), which is better described as being a small cascading creek than a big waterfall. It empties into Mae Nam Khwae Noi near the suspension bridge. It was at this park that the famous Russian-roulette scenes in the 1978 movie The Deer Hunter were filmed.
Notable wildlife in the park includes Kitti’s hog-nosed bats (the world’s smallest mammal), regal crabs, barking deer, blue pittas, wreathed hornbills, gibbons, Malayan porcupines, slow loris and serow. There are also wild elephants that occasionally cross over from Myanmar.
Forestry department bungalows (
The entrance to the park is about 100km northwest of Kanchanaburi and 5km from Hwy 323. You can take the Sangkhlaburi-Kanchanaburi bus (50B, two hours, frequent departures) to the turn-off and hire a motorcycle taxi from the main road to the entrance. Tell the driver that you want ‘náam tok sai yok yai’. The last bus back to Kanchanaburi passes at about 3.30pm.
From the raft guesthouses near the suspension bridge, you can rent long-tail boats for sightseeing along the river and to the caves Tham Daowadung or Tham Lawa. Chartering a long-tail costs about 400B per hour, but rates are negotiable.