One of the closest jungles to Kanchanaburi, Sai Yok hosts also the world’s smallest mammal – the Khun Kitty bat – and reminders of the infamous Death Railway built between Thailand and Burma during the WW II.
In the past Sai Yok had been an area which King Rama V used to visit and take a bath in. Later the Sai Yok waterfall became famous after a composer composed a song describing its beauty. The Park was created in October 1980 as the 11th national park of Thailand.
Geography and Climate
Covering 500 square km, the park is mostly limestone mountains. The average temperature is approximately 15–30 C. The weather is quite cold with heavy fog in winter and heavy rains in rainy season. It is very dry from December to February.
Flora and Fauna
Beside mixed deciduous and dry evergreen forest with bamboo forest there is also a teak forest along the Kwae river.
The fauna species include bull, red cow, tiger, wild pig, sambar deer, barking deer, occasional elephant and birds. The wildlife migrates back and forth from Thailand to Myanma. The Khun Kitti bat, the world smallest bat – and mammal – in the world was discovered here in 1973. The Khun Kitti bat weighs only 2 g, is 2.5 to 3 cm long, has wing-span of 10 cm and lives only in Sai Yok National Park caves.
What to See
Sai Yok (Yai) Waterfall – the water of this waterfall, situated at the headquarters of the park, flows to Kwae Noi river
Sai Yok Noi Waterfall – bigger than Sai Yok Yai, Sai Yok Noi is easily visited by public bus – it is just off the Kanchanaburi-Sankhlaburi road
Dao Daung Cave – 100 meters long cave that is divided into eight chambers. Each chamber is named after the appearance of its main stalagmite or stalactite – a Comb Raya (Chandelier) Room, Chedi (Pagoda) Room, Jeeb Manfa (Cloud Curtain) Room etc.
Lawa Cave – stalagmite and stalactite cave 20 km south of the Sai Yok Yai
Death Railway Bridge – remains of the bridge can be reached by a 1.5 km path from the park’s visitors center
What to Do
Trekking routes, natural trails at headquarters (1 a 2 km long), rafting, canoeing, kayaking, caving.
Headquarters – accommodation, restaurant, visitors center, amphitheatre, parking
Bungalows with fan sleeping 4 to 7 people are at the visitors center. Rafthouses on the Kwae Noi river also at the visitors center are another accommodation option and so is a camping site.
By car from Kanchanaburi or by a combination of bus and motorbike-taxi (or a 5 km walk) from the turn-off on the highway. The last bus to Kanchanaburi passes the turn-off at around 3.30pm.