The Khao Chamao National Park is one of the most scenic locations to visit within the province of Rayong, which is situated in eastern Thailand. Set within a cool lush jungle environment this is a great destination for nature lovers, hikers, birdwatchers or for families and couples wishing to escape the Thailand summer heat.
This was Thailand's 13th national park to be established, and was opened to the public back in 1975. It is located within the provinces of both Rayong and Chantaburi although many visitors seem to come from Rayong.
The national park covers an area of around 84 square kilometres and is characterized by its rugged limestone mountains that reach an elevation of around 1,000 metres, and are covered in broad-leafed evergreen forests. The water from these mountains flows naturally into a large drainage basin and this provides the necessary water to allow agriculture to be conducted in this region.
Indeed the Khao Chamao National Park is renowned for its 80 or more limestone caves (including the Khao Wong Cave) and a number of stunning waterfalls (including Khao Wong and Klon Pla Gang).
This Park has become a popular picnic destination for many local Thai families although foreign tourists also make their way here in smaller numbers to hike in the mountains and to see the natural attractions on offer.
One of the main attractions within national park is the Khao Wong Waterfall which is a stunning natural feature that includes eight separate levels. Crystal clear water cascades down over each level into natural formed rock pools along an area approximately three kilometres in length. The water is so clean that Brook Carp fish live in the main rock pool which is called Wang Matcha.
A narrow walking trail leads to the waterfall while weaving through a scenic jungle environment. There are toilets and resting shelters provided along the route and these provide a resting places for visitors along with the grassed picnic areas (see image below and at bottom of page) along with a visitors centre and public telephone.
For convenience, the national park has a couple of good established hiking trails which are about 3 kilometres in length and these allow visitors to walk to the main attractions (I.e. the waterfalls and caves).
These trails also provide visitors with the opportunity to admire the local fauna which includes: bear, wild pig, deer, banded langur, southern serow, Asian elephant (see image below), gua, gibbon which appear to flourish within this habitat.
There are also 53 species of birds reported to be living in the national park including great hornbills so it is not uncommon to see birdwatchers trying to photograph particular birds.
The visitors who wish to stay here for extended periods there are also 17 guest bungalows (see image below) for rent while there is also a camping ground for those who prefer to sleep in a tent. The bungalows start at around 600 Thai baht per night.
Khao Chamao is a district of Rayong province. The best way to travel to the national park (which is situated near the Nam Sai village) is to get a bus tour or taxi from Rayong. The official contact details are Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park, P.O. Box 11 Amphur Klaeng Rayong 21110 Thailand.
The national park is located approximately 70 kilometres from Rayong town and opens daily between the hours of 6 AM and 6 PM. Admission costs 200 Thai baht for adults and 100 Thai baht for children under 14 years.
The best way to travel to Rayong within eastern Thailand is by plane or bus. Air-conditioned buses depart daily from the eastern Ekkamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok between the hours of 4.30 AM to 7.30 PM. The journey takes approximately 3 hours. The other option is to take a domestic flight from Bangkok to the U-Tapao International Airport which is located in the town of Sattahip within Rayong province.