About Thung Salaeng Luang
Situated just about 55 km from Phetchabun city center, Thung Salaeng Luang National Park covers 1,262 km² in Phetchabun and Phitsanulok Provinces of Thailand.
The park is one of the few in the country with big green savannas spread all over the park. The camping area at the main visitor center area in Nong Mae Na has a nice view over a savanna, in the early morning covered in mist from around October to February.
There are two accessible waterfalls, Sri Dit Waterfall which is not too far from the visitor center on one of the main roads into the park, the other one Kaeng Sopha Waterfall at the north edge of the park.
Tham Phra Wang Daeng is the longest cave in Thailand situated on the west side of the national park.
There is not much significant wildlife in the park, only common animals of the area can be found. There are though a few Siamese crocodiles still found on the west side of the park, but the population is endangered. If approved, a planned dam construction at the river will likely mean the death sentence for the remaining crocodiles.
There are around 110 species of birds reported from the park, all common birds of the area.
There are two main touristic areas of the park, good to know where you wish to head;
- Nong Mae Na is the main area located on the east side of the park in Khao Kho District, famous for it’s open landscape of savannas and morning mist.
- Rope Bridge Campsite area, a camping ground in the northern edged of the park, next to Khek River in Nakhon Thai District of Phitsanulok Province. This is also where the national park headquarters is located.
The popular morning mist can only be seen during the colder winter times from October to February, the exact dates may vary from year to year. Good to take this to account when planning a trip to the park.
It is possible to arrange “safari cars” from the visitor at Nong Mae Na to drive further inside the park. The trip is to enjoy the forest and the landscape, not really targeting any wildlife. The drive is about 14 km, to an area called Thung Nang Phaya and back. The tour costs 800 Baht for up to 10 people.
The park has far too expensive entrance fees for foreigners. Tourists considering visiting a national park in the area are advised to considere alternatives such as Tat Mok, Nam Nao or Phu Suan Sai national parks.
There are no public transportation services to the park. Visitors need to arrange private transfers to get to the attractions around the park.
It may be a bit misleading to try to get the directions to the park by entering the park name on Google Maps. While the headquarters is north/east where Google Maps may create a route to, the other popular area, the main visitor center is at the south/east side of the park in Nong Mae Na District of Phetchabun. Please open the map from this page to see the location of both areas.
To get there; take the highway 21 north from Phetchabun and turn left to the highway 2258 approximately 10 km north from the city center. Drive for 40 km until you see a signpost that will show the direction to the visitor center to the right.
When using a navigator, enter these coordinates for the directions;
Nong Mae Na - 16.5790, 100.8831
Headquarters & Rope Bridge Campsite - 16.8453, 100.8798
The park is one of the few in the country with far too steep entrance fees for foreigners when compared to the price for Thai citizens. The attractions are arguably that good, no significant wildlife to see and the park is located in a relatively remote part of the country.
Entrance fees are 500 Baht for foreigners (300 Baht for children) and 40 Baht for Thai citizens (20 Baht for children). Cars charged 30 Baht and bikes 20 Baht. Foreigners having a work permit or Thai driving license won’t get any discount in any park in Thailand.
Thung Salaeng Luang National Park will be closed from 1st June until 30th July every year. The opening times from August to May are;
- Mo-Su, 8 am - 4 pm for Headquarters area & Rope Bridge Campsite area
- Mo-Su, 6 am - 8 pm for Nong Mae Na Campsite in Khao Kho District
Stay & eat
There are a number of park accommodation options for rent at both Nong Mae Na and headquarters area. The ones in Nong Mae Na have a very good view over the open landscape.
The accommodation options are;
Nong Mae Na - The main visitor center vicinity
- 2,100 Baht for 7 pax, 2 bedrooms, 2 toilets
- 3,000 Baht for 4 pax, 3 bedroom, 3 toilets
- 5,000 Baht for 6 pax, 3 bedrooms, 3 toilets
- 5,000 Baht for 10 pax, 2 big bedrooms, 3 toilets
Headquarters area - north of the national park
- 1,000 Baht for 4 pax, 1 bedroom, 1 toilet
- 1,200 Baht for 6 pax, 2 bedrooms, 2 toilets
- 2,800 Baht for 10 pax, 3 bedrooms, 3 toilets
The park accommodations can only be booked through the DNP website in advance. As the money transfer must be done within 2 days and the fact it takes a longer time with transfers from abroad, it is only possible to book from within Thailand only. Payments can be done at 7-Eleven convenience stores or banks.
There are two campsites in Thung Salaeng Luang National Park;
- Nong Mae Na Campsite - in the main visitor center area in Khao Kho District. This is where the big savannah with misty mornings can be seen
- Rope Bridge Campsite - on the northern edge of the park, 3 km from the park headquarters in Nakhon Thai District, not too far from Highway 12. Kaeng Sopha Waterfall is a few kilometers northwest from this campsite
Tents for 3 pax are available for rent at both campsites for 225 Baht. A sleeping set including a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat and a pillow costs 60 Baht per person. 30 Baht will be charged if you have your own tent with you.
The only restaurant at the main visitor center area is only open during the high seasons from November to January. The rest of the year, there is a smaller shop that sells instant noodles and beverages between 8 am and 4 pm.
You are recommended to ask a Thai speaking person to call on your behalf.
088 756 4940 - Headquarters
The attractions of Thung Salaeng Luang
Nong Mae Na Campsite
Nong Mae Na Campsite is the main campsite in the park located in Khao Kho District of Phetchabun. This campsite has a very good view over an open landscape which is covered in mist in the early mornings.
There is a second camping ground just 300-400 meters south/west from the main camping ground, it too has a similar view over the same grassland area.
There are no official trails into the forests for the visitors, but rather an old dirt road which is 13 km long, goes all the way to an old camping ground south/west side of the park. A second dirt road branches off from this road and leads back to the visitor center area in a circular path around the grassland area. The circular bit is 4.3 km.
Rope Bridge Campsite
Located on the north edge of the national park, this campsite is along the Khek River 3 km east of park headquarters, a few kilometers from Highway 12. There is a visitor center where it is possible to rent tents from. The campsite is named after a big rope bridge crossing the river.
Kaeng Sopha Waterfall is about 10-11 km northwest from this campsite.
The entry point to the campsite is a checkpoint on the main road to the east. It can be confusing to try to find the directions to the campsite when using online maps such as Google Maps and others, because the road between the checkpoint and the campsite is not outlined on these maps. Basically, locating the checkpoint on the map and getting there is enough, after the checkpoint, the road will continue straight to the campsite.
Sri Dit Waterfall
12 km north/east from the visitor center, the waterfall is easily accessible from Highway 2235 at Khao Kho District of Phetchabun. It is a relatively big single tier waterfall flowing over at one edge of a very wide impressively looking cliff. The waterfall has flowing water all year round.
Kaeng Sopha Waterfall
A large cascading waterfall located at the northern part of the national park at Wang Thong District of Phitsanulok Province. The waterfall is around 10 km from the park headquarters, 80 km east from Phitsanulok, and 90 km north/west from Phetchabun just 2.5 km off the road from Highway 12.
The currents in the river can be very strong during the rainy seasons.
Entrance fees apply at this waterfall. Open from 8 am until 4 pm.
Tham Phra Wang Daeng
With a total length of 13,8 km and depth of 131 meters, Tham Phra Wang Daeng is the longest cave in Thailand. Around 10 km of this cave is on a streamway, possible to walk along.
The cave is situated on the west side of the national park in Ban Chomphu village, Noen Maprang District of Phitsanulok. The entrance of the cave is a collapsed chamber with two entrances facing each other.
Only one group of cavers has been to the end of this cave back in April 1998.