One of the most popular things to do in the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand is to go on the Khao Yai Night Safari. Run every evening by several companies, hundreds of people jump on open-sided trucks and are driven up into the hills of Khao Yai to try to see the wildlife. I recently went on the Khao Yai Night Safari and had a wonderful time but it wasn’t at all what I expected. If you’re planning on going on the Night Safari, be aware of what might happen and what you might see, and you’ll likely have a great time.
How to Take The Khao Yai Night Safari – The best way to do the Khao Yai Night Safari is to book a two-day/one night tour from Bangkok. Tours include hotel in Khao Yai, food, and all transportation, as well as an elephant ride and often an ox cart ride. Sure, you could book the Khao Yai Night Safari in Khao Yai National Park yourself but, unless you’re going with a Thai, I’d recommend not doing. Khao Yai is enormous, it’s easy to get lost and the Night Safari goes from an area you’d have to know to be able to drive there.
Book the trip from Bangkok, enjoy a couple of days out of the city and have fun on the safari too. Any travel agent in Bangkok and many hotels can book it for you.
What to Take With You on the Night Safari – To make sure you have a fun, and comfortable time, there are several things you should take with you if you’re going to participate in the Khao Yai Night Safari.
The most important thing is mosquito repellent. At night, just about everywhere in Thailand, the mozzies come out and can be incredibly annoying, not to mention painful, if you’re not properly equipped with a repellent.
The second thing is a warm jacket or sweater. In Khao Yai on the lower elevations, it’s boiling hot. But, when you get up into the hills, it goes surprisingly cold very quickly. As the Night Safari takes at least an hour and a half, you don’t want to freeze to death during all that time, so take a warm item of clothing and you’ll be fine.
You might also want to take a head scarf and a rain coat. It was windy and began to rain while we were on the tour, and our guide said that’s quite common in the area. With a head scarf and rain coat you’ll be covered from the elements because, don’t forget, the truck you’ll be sitting on is open-sided so there’s not much protection from the wind and rain.
What to Expect on the Khao Yai Night Safari – While the brochures say you’ll see elephants, monkeys, gibbons and more, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see much of anything at all. The problem with the Night Safari is this. You’ll be on an open-sided truck with about 15 people and with more than 50 other trucks in front and behind you. Every truck is shining a huge light into the darkness in an attempt to see the wildlife and, if you’re any kind of smart animal at all, you’re staying as far away from that as it’s possible to get.
On our safari, during the hour and a half we were up in the hills, we saw at least 50 deer but, other than two lone oxen and a snake crossing the road, that was it. No wild elephants, no monkeys and no gibbons.
However, although it might sound dull and boring, it’s not. It was fun to sit on an open-sided truck and be driven thousands of feet up into the mountains. The air is cold, crisp and clean, the night sounds are fun, and everyone on the truck is just so excited that it’s not hot, they all have a great time regardless that they’re never going to see any exotic animals.
If you’re expecting lots of exotic animals on the Khao Yai Night Safari and you’ll be disappointed if you don’t see any, then the Night Safari isn’t for you. However, if you just want to get some cool air, see some pretty scenery and have a laugh with a few strangers in a truck in the middle of Thailand, then you’ll love the Khao Yai Night Safari.
Plus, as you can get two days/one night, a hotel, food, elephant ride and ox cart , and the night safari for less than $130, it’s a great deal and gets you out of Bangkok for a couple of days.