A much-touted park attraction is the hour-long night safaris, or “night-lightings”, which take truckloads of tourists round Khao Yai’s main roads in the hope of catching some interesting wildlife in the glare of the specially fitted searchlights.
Night-time sightings often include deer and civets, and if you’re very lucky you might see elephants too. Opinions differ on the quality of the experience: some find it thrilling to be out on the edges of the jungle after dark, others see it as rather a crass method of wildlife observation, especially at weekends, when the park can feel like a town centre, with four or five trucks following each other round and round the main roads.
All night-lightings are run by the park rangers, so tour operators sometimes join forces to hire a truck with ranger and searchlights. If you’re on your own, you’ll probably need to accompany one of these groups.
The safaris depart the park headquarters every night at 7pm and 8pm (they can pick you up from the campsite if requested); trucks cost B500 to rent and can take up to ten people: book your place at the national park accommodation office, next to the visitor centre.