Thai National Parks

Kui Buri overnight elephant tour

If you wish to see wild Asian elephants in their true natural habitat, chances to see elephants in Thailand are best in Kui Buri National Park. The park is more important than that, it has the biggest population of gaurs in Thailand; they too tend to show up together with elephants sometimes. Gaur is the largest bovine and the fourth largest living land animal. The population of these beautiful creatures are estimated to around 300 elephants and 100 gaurs.

Why?

Kui Buri National Park may not offer the same biodiversity and lush evergreen jungles like in Kaeng Krachan, Khao Sok or Khao Yai National Parks, but the frequent sighting of the biggest of all mammals makes it a memorable wildlife destination. Besides elephants and gaurs some other possible sightings during a visit are; banteng, barking deer and sambar deer amongst many others.

The park is one of very few protected areas in Thailand with a successful protection program to reduce poaching and protect the wildlife. This by spread the knowledge but also by letting the locals benefit from the tourism.

What?

The tour includes a stay overnight inside or outside the park. The cheaper option of stay is inside the park, a rustic cabin at one of ranger stations far from western standards of comfort. It offers a unique way to see and experience the wild in the park. A stay in the park offers the magical nocturnal 'songs' of elephants, gaurs and many other animals. The other option for stay is a standard hotel outside the park boundaries.

This tour is not for the kids or faint-hearted people. The heat can be exhausting while hiking or in the open-air safari truck. Hiking in the elephant and gaur territory can be thrilling as they are the most dangerous mammals of Thailand. Due to safety precautions the group size for this tour is limited to maximum 6 people with minimum age of 15 years old.

It is possible to combine a trip to Kui Buri National Park with one of our tour packages for Kaeng Krachan National Park. Elephant sighting is not that common in Kaeng Krachan but instead the park offers a greater variety of other animals as well as the true jungles with impressive trees and lush vegetation. Kaeng Krachan is one of best locations in mainland Asia to see a great variety of birds.

Tour itinerary

DAY 1 - From 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. (afternoon session)

Today, after a mandatory registration we will get assigned an open-air vehicle with driver and an assistant. The tour will begin by driving slowly into the reserve on the main dirt road north heading to the main grassland areas. While driving slowly, we will search for any wildlife including birds or any other smaller as well as bigger animals. Our first stop will be a viewing area where we leave the vehicle in hope to spot wildlife, mainly elephants. We will later on continue to the next viewing area at the end of the road, best known for spotting gaurs, but also elephants and sometimes bantengs.

During the tour, your guide will give you information about the habitat, wildlife and history of the park. You will be returned to Kui Buri town after the trip.

The type of assigned vehicles is open-air pick-up truck driven by locals. It is the Kui Buri National Park's policy to let locals do the driving, a policy that showed to be a success in reducing the poaching in the park.

Depending on your choice, you'll be taken to the ranger station or to the hotel outside the park where the dinner will be provided by our guide.

There are no activities planned later in the evening due to danger of wandering elephants and gaurs in the dark. It is stricly prohibited to leave the ranger station in the dark.

DAY 2 - From 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. (morning session)

On the second day we continue to explore the park on foot in open glassland areas with scattered pockets of open forest. During the hiking we have to be very alert to avoid run into elephants or gaurs. The chances to see these big animals are bigger by driving, but it is a more exciting experience on foot. On the other hand the chances to see some smaller animals are better by hiking. The area is rich on birds, reptiles etc.

The hike can be exhausting if the sun is shining, it is recommended to have sufficient protection. We provide drinking water.

We finish the trip with a last safari drive out of the park.

Where & When?

Kui Buri National Park lies at about 1.5 hours driving from Hua Hin and nearly 4 hours from Bangkok. We can offer private transfers from Bangkok, Hua Hin or other destinations. The park is open all year round.

Tour rates include:

  • Lodging in rustic cabin or hotel (1 night)
  • Entrance fees
  • English speaking guide
  • Dinner & breakfast
  • Drinking water
Rate per person
Group size Basic cabin Hotel
1 8200 THB 9250 THB
2 4650 THB 5175 THB
3 3700 THB 4400 THB
4 3100 THB 3625 THB
5 2900 THB 3530 THB
6 2650 THB 3175 THB

Reviews from our guests

We appreciate your feedback after the tour when booking with us.

About: 2-days wildlife tour in Khao Yai

By: , France | posted Tue 21 Nov, 2017

best place in Thailand ! we saw lots of animals, and our guide tata was great and professional. the only negative point was the fact that personal cars / vehicles shouldn't be allowed in the park, because people drive like crazy and they could hurt animals...

Tour operator's response

Thanks Jill for your kind review about our tour!

And about your other note.

We also hope that the park authorities will start enforcing the rules. Speeding is a major problem in Khao Yai because the road is of good quality. A bumbpy road with potholes would be much better ;-) . Lots of wildlife gets killed by speeding cars. Every now and then it reaches the news, but no proper measures are taken.

Though actually we think it requires a change of the rules, because the current max speed is 60 km/h which is too fast for a park like this. 40km/h like in e.g. Kaeng Krachan national park should be the max limit.

But of course that will only work if the perpetrators are fined accordingly. And that should include the park staff themselves who are often the worst violators. (but that is also the reason why nothing will happen :( )

Instead, tour businesses have been fined for stopping on the road when watching for wildlife... the world upside down.

In a sense it is good to see that so many locals are visiting and enjoying the parks, but some education is needed to make people understand that visiting a park means entering the home of the animals and therefore people should respect the animals and the rules to prevent accidents from happening. Let's hope this will change in the future.

Thanks for sharing!

About: Day tour - Erawan Falls, Cave, Historical Park & The Bridge over River Kwai

By: , United States | posted Tue 21 Nov, 2017

Our Day Trip to Erawan National Park included the waterfall hike, a tour of Mueang Sung National Park, and a walk over Bridge over the River Kwai. It originally included a tour of a cave but we took extra time exploring the waterfalls so we decided to skip the cave to have more time at the other locations.

Our pick up was timely and our guide Mod was extremely friendly!

Hiking up Erawan Waterfalls was a beautiful experience, Mod let us take our time, to enjoy the waterfalls, take as many pictures as we wanted, provided water, and gave us a great estimate of how long it would take us to get to the top. We had lunch together at a local restaurant including pad thai, chicken, rice, fresh fruit and drinks (if you want more, you can ask for more, free of charge). The food was not spicy.

We opted out of the underground cave because it was steeper than the waterfalls, and we were pretty tired. We also wanted to have plenty of time for the other activities. (Be aware - your shoes will get wet! It rained the morning we went so there was a lot of water. After tier 5, you have to walk through some of the water)

The Historical park was rather small, but worth a visit if you enjoy learning the history behind ruins.

The walk over the bridge was also nice, we walked to a Chinese temple on the other side and had some time to explore that as well.

My highlight of the trip was definitely the waterfall hike and getting to talk to Mod about Thai culture, life and tips for the rest of my trip. Would definitely do this agian!! But maybe for another park.

About: Kui Buri elephant safari, half day

By: , United States | posted Sun 19 Nov, 2017

Our guides were very knowledgeable and we got to see lots of elephants! Great trip!

About: Kui Buri elephant safari, half day

By: , United Kingdom | posted Sat 18 Nov, 2017

Had a great time doing the half day elephant trip.

Picked up on time from hotel & before we knew it we had arrived at the park. Greeted with fresh fruit, banana chips & pineapple juice.

Introduced to our guide & his assistant & off we went. We were lucky enough to see a family of 7 elephants going about there business, & the knowledgeable guide pointed out numerous birds, lizards & other wildlife along the way.

Must say, it was worth paying the extra to do this to guarantee an English speaking guide & our own private truck without having to share with anyone else.

Many thanks for a great time.

Tour operator's response

Thanks Stephen!

We are happy to hear you had a successful trip and enjoyed our services.

About: 1-day wildlife tour in Khao Yai

By: , United States | posted Sat 18 Nov, 2017

I greatly enjoyed my experience at Khao Yai National Park. My tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about all the local flaura and fauna, and did an excellent job of pointing out wildlife for our group to see. The park was beautiful and I would definitely recommend visiting if you are traveling near Bangkok!

Tour operator's response

Thanks for sharing your experience Kim!

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip.

About: 2-days wildlife tour in Khao Yai

By: , France | posted Fri 17 Nov, 2017

We had 2 great days. The park is beautiful and our guide Tata was great. Without him we would not have been able to enjoy and see all the animals he made us discover. by his action, we had the chance and happiness to see a group of about twenty elephants. It was fantastic.

I put the video that I could make elephants on my facebook and more than 200 people loved and asked where and a lot of information.

Our only criticism concerns the vehicles of the park for the safari of night which are not sufficiently well equipped in projector.

We keep a wonderfull memory of the park and guideTata

Tour operator's response

Dear Michel,

Thanks for your kind review.

Glad to hear you had a great time.

The night safari has often been a reason of debate within our organization. It is the only part of the tour for which the quality is not in our hands because we are not allowed to operate this by ourselves.

We have to rent the park rangers as driver and assistant for this. And sadly they are often not as skilled and willing to properly conduct the safari. Our guide can only join and help with explanation but we have no influence on the route and driving speed or the vehicle/ equipment quality.

You may wonder why we anyhow have decided to keep this activity in our itineraries. The reason is simply because even on nights that we were not happy with the service delivered we have been able to see interesting nocturnal wildlife which is impossible to see in daytime. Of course it is nature, so just like in daytime, it also depends on luck in the evening to get interesting sightings, but we believe it is still worth the try.

We wish we could operate this by ourselves and do it all properly in same line as the rest of our tour, but sadly park regulations are against us.

But thanks for sharing your criticism. Who knows we will decide otherwise on continuing offering night safaris in the future.

About: 1.5-days wildlife tour in Khao Yai

By: , Belgium | posted Tue 14 Nov, 2017

It was a perfect 1.5 day trip in the Khao Yai National Park.

Our guides were super friendly. They knew the area very well and tried their best to give us a wonderful time.

The bat cave was very impressive.

The walk through the forest was also very nice.

We didn't get to see any wilde elephants... Unfortunately, but that is something that you cannot know up front.

We enjoyed the trip very much and would recommend it to anyone else visiting the area :)

About: 1-day wildlife tour with night safari in Khao Yai

By: , Hong Kong | posted Sun 12 Nov, 2017

We went to Khao Yai National Park on 9 Nov 2017. Our guide was very helpful, and found many animals for us such as elephant, gibbon, squirrel, barking deer, sambar deer, Chinese water dragon, gliding lizard, water monitor, crocodile, green pit viper, porcupine, oriole, hornbill, owl and many others. In the jungle, our guide also introduced many plants to us, and told us which plants can be used to make tom yum goong, cure diseases, repel mosquitoes and so on. The weather on that day was very good. We could see beautiful waterfall and fantastic view at Pa Deo Dai Cliffs.

About: 1-day wildlife tour in Khao Yai

By: , Germany | posted Fri 10 Nov, 2017

We spent a wonderful day in the national park. Our guide had a good knowledge about animals and plants which we highly appreciated. Moreover, he was very endeavored to show us an elephant. Finally, the day was well organized and we can recommend this tour.

About: 1-day wildlife tour with night safari in Khao Yai

By: , Switzerland | posted Mon 6 Nov, 2017

We did enjoy a wonderful time in the Khao Yai National Park and were well guided through by our professional guide who should some magnificent views of small spots out in the environment even we been not that lucky seeing lots of different species due the circumstances of quite heavy wind, but I guess that is how nature sometimes can be, unpredictable.

We did enjoy the very private and good organized tour and hope we will be able to catch up again

Tour operator's response

Dear Stephan,

Thank you for your review.

Yes nature is indeed unpredictable and weather conditions can sometimes work against us.

Wind is a particularly annoying one, because due to the wind it will be impossible to hear movements of animals, or notice dropping of fruits, and it even could make it harder to hear animal calls. Often it is our ears, especially on a jungle hike, that are most important. Often enough the animals are not directly visible yet due to leaf cover, but perhaps when eating they drop a fruit, or they jump on a branch and therefore create a noise. That will alert the guide to look and hopefully discover what made the noise. But that is hard to notice when it is windy and fruits drop simply by the wind, or branches rustle by the wind.

Heavy wind is not too common in the Thai jungles, but every now and then it happens.

But hopefully you enjoyed your time even despite the low number of species.

Thank you for booking with us, and you are welcome to give it a try again in the future.

Tour details in short:

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Type: Private tour
  • Price: 2,650 to 9,250 THB
  • Group size: 1 - 6 people
  • Grade: Easy to moderate
  • Transport: Safari vehicle
  • Start: 2:30 p.m. on day-1
  • End: 11 a.m. on day-2

What to bring

  • Long trousers
  • Rain clothing
  • Sandals
  • Hiking or sport shoes
  • Towel
  • Flashlight
  • Insect repellent
  • Hat or cap
  • Sunblock lotion
  • Sleeping bag liner
Selfie with elephants

Selfie with elephants

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