Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Reserve, a combination of Ta Phraya National Park on the Thai –Cambodia border in the east and the Khao Yai National Park in the west of Thailand can be accessed easily from luxurious Siem Reap accommodation of Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa.
The 615,000 ha of the forest reserve is a combination of four almost contiguous national parks and a wildlife sanctuary and is home to a rich biodiversity including 805 species of fauna distributed as 112 species of mammals, 392 species of avifauna and 205 species of reptiles and amphibians. Among these is the critically endangered Siamese crocodile, the endangered Asian elephant, tiger, the leopard cat and Banteng and 19 vulnerable species. The largest remaining populations of the white headed gibbon and the endangered pileated gibbons are also found here. The complex is also a stopover for many migratory bird species among which are the endangered spot billed pelican and the critically endangered adjutant.
The rugged terrain of the area ranging between 100 meters and 1,351 meters in altitude influence the tropical flora found here along with the monsoonal weather. The high annual rainfall nurtures a substantial area of remaining globally important tropical forest eco systems comprising of grasslands in the lowlands and evergreen and semi evergreen forests and primary forests in the areas of higher elevation. It also serves as a catchment for five major rivers, several scenic waterfalls and gorges. Khao Yai Forest Reserve, the country’s first national park and part of the complex, has more than 50 km of hiking trails. Hikers linger near cool streams and waterfalls some 80 meters high and come upon elephants at the salt licks beside the trails and many small mammals and reptiles and hear calls of gibbons and birds. Night safaris are a popular way to spot nocturnal feeders. On account of its outstanding ecological value the Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Reserve complex has been declared a UNESCO heritage site.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.