With its tallest peak reaching 1271m, Nam Nao National Park is easily visible among the undulating sandstone hills of the Phetchabun range. However, it remains a seldom-visited place, at least as far as tourists go, with plenty of wildlife and some good, challenging hikes.

At just under a thousand square kilometres, Nam Nao, which is 160km south of Loei by road, is home to a healthy wildlife population: around a hundred mammal species, including large animals such as forest elephant and banteng and a handful of tigers, and more-often-seen barking deer, gibbons and leaf monkeys, as well as over two hundred bird species. These creatures thrive in habitats ranging from tropical bamboo and banana stands to the dominant features of dry evergreen forest, grasslands, open forest and pine stands that look almost European.

Though the park was established in 1972, it remained a stronghold for guerillas of the Communist Party of Thailand until the early 1980s and was regarded as unsafe for visitors. Still much less visited than Phu Kradung, it can provide a sense of real solitude. The range of wildlife here also benefited from a physical isolation that stopped abruptly in 1975, when Highway 12 was cut through the park and poachers could gain access more easily. However, as the park adjoins the Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, there is beneficial movement by some species between the two areas.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Thailand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Video: a 1 minute guide to Thailand

Consistently voted as one of the best places to travel by our readers – most recently as one of the world's friendliest countries and one of the best place…

05 Dec 2016 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month