For nature lovers, the Land of Smiles just became an even happier hunting ground for wildlife encounters, green travel and eco-tourism, with the addition of five brand-new national parks.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently confirmed that five new parks – Namtok Chet Sao Noi, Doi Ku Sathan, Doi Thong Khun Sathan, Mae Takhrai and Doi Chong – have been established in the last three years.
In addition to the five new parks, Thailand plans to create 22 more national parks and nature reserves in the next two decades, as part of a plan to expand the kingdom’s forest areas to cover at least 55 per cent of the entire country by 2037. In the last three years, Thailand has devoted a total of 53,120 hectares to the formation of new national parks.
“Part of the work to increase the forest area as well as forestry conservation is by the national park system under three key mandates,” said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn in a recent statement that confirmed the plan. “These are: environmental conservation, research and recreational development,” he explained.
There are currently 133 national parks in Thailand. 22 new parks are already being formed, with 11 on land and another 11 planned for marine areas. Together, these will cover a massive 13 per cent of the nation.
Forested areas in Thailand currently cover 164 million km2 or 32 per cent of the total land area nationwide. Thanks to the five new national parks, visitors to Thailand will be able to enjoy a wide array of new experiences, encounters and landscapes, while also contributing to the nation’s conservation efforts. The plans for 22 new parks also point towards a brighter, greener future for Thailand and its tourists.
See below for some details of the five new national parks:
Namtok Chet Sao Noi National Park
Located in Muak Lek and Wang Muang districts in Saraburi province and Pak Chong district in Nakhon Ratchasima province, Namtok Chet Sao Noi National Park covers a total area of 41km2 and was fist opened in December 2016. It features a scenic waterfall that is central to local folklore.
Khun Sathan National Park
At 1,630m above sea level, Khun Sathan National Park spans the mountain range separating Thailand’s Phrae and Nan provinces and covers an area of 405km2 in the districts of Na Noi and Na Muen of Nan province. Opened in March 2017, this lofty and scenic park offers excellent hiking, cooler climes and fresh mountain air.
Mae Takhrai National Park
Mae Takhrai National Park covers an area of 357km2 in the San Kamphaeng, Doi Saket and Mae On districts of Chiang Mai province, along with the Ban Thi and Mueang districts of Lamphun. First opened in December 2017, the park is the wellspring for the Ping River’s main tributaries, and offers spectacular views such as waterfalls, cliffs and hot springs.
Than Sadet-Ko Phangan National Park
Located on Ko Phangan Island, 100km from Thailand’s southeastern shores and the port town of Surat Thani, Than Sadet-Ko Phangan National Park covers a total area of 45km2 and was first opened in November 2018. Despite being a popular tourist destination, Ko Phangan still boasts natural wilderness areas, which the park has set out to preserve. Khao Ra is the highest peak in the island’s mountain range, reaching a height of 627 metres.
Doi Chong National Park
Opened in April 2019, Doi Chong National Park became Thailand’s 133rd national park, and the newest addition to the Kingdom’s protected green spaces. It covers an area of 346km2 in the Sop Prap, Thoen and Mae Phrik districts of Lampang province, as well as Li and Thung Hua Chang districts of Lamphun province. The Park features mountainous areas and a range of deciduous forests. The highest point, Doi Jong, is 1,379 metres above sea level.