Khao Luang National Park

Park in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province
Image by AWL Images / Getty Images
Image by AWL Images / Getty Images

Known for beautiful hiking trails, cool streams, waterfalls and wildlife, this national park, named after the tallest mountain in the south, is a soaring range covered in evergreen forest and inhabited by a plethora of flora and fauna unique to the region. A total of 327 animal species and orchids found nowhere else on earth call it home. Camping is permitted and basic bungalows can be reserved via the website (from 600B). There's also a restaurant at the park's HQ.

Animals that roam Khao Luang include Shy Malayan tapirs, Sumatran serows, pig-tailed macaque, clouded leopards, panthers, tigers, and dusky speckled languars, while bird lovers will enjoy trying to spot black eagles, red jungle fowls, and a number of the impressively beaked hornbills, including the bushy-crested, helmeted and white-crowned.

To reach Khao Luang park, take a sŏrng·tăa·ou (pick-up minibus) for around 40B from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Lan Saka on Rte 4015; drivers will usually take you the extra 10km to the park headquarters (roughly 30km west of Nakhon centre).