Pak Chong is the nearest town serving Khao Yai National Park. It is less than 200 km from Bangkok, making it a very popular base for Thai weekend trippers.
Pak Chong (Thai: ปากช่อง) is the westernmost district (amphoe) of Nakhon Ratchasima Province, northeastern Thailand. It is a district of 193,000 people (2015) in Southern Isaan.
Mittraphap Road is the main road that leads off route 2 and ultimately back onto it. Most of the accommodation and restaurants are on this road or the sois leading off it.
There are few sights in the town, which is mainly a food and sleep place serving as a base for Khao Yai National Park.
- Ban Mae Chai Nam. A unique restaurant, very popular with Bangkok Thais. The Central Thai food is excellent and reasonably priced, and the location next to the river is very scenic. The most remarkable aspect is the vast quantity of antiques, objects d'art and kitsch items on display, ranging from old dolls and children's toys to glass and pottery ware to bar paraphernalia, old petrol pumps and in an adjoining building, a range of old motor vehicles. It is a fascinating place. It is hard to find down a narrow soi: Nam 1 Muban Ko Kaeo, off the main road through town. Their website is in Thai only.
There are several camp sites within the Khao Yai National Park.
- At Home Hostel, 27 Soi 1 Tedsabarn 16 Rd (opposite of the night market down to a small alley, 100m from minivan station and 200-600m from bus station.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. The staff speak some English and have a lot of information and tips about Khao Yai National Park which they claim you can't get from national park officers. From the hostel you can rent a moped in-house. The bus stop is on the other side of the main street. You can book a full day tour to the park with them. The tour picks up in front of the hostel. 300-800 baht.
- Bobbys Apartment and Jungle Tours, 291/6 Moo 18 Mittapab Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pronounced "Bo bees". An outpost for European tourists and the occasional North American. Run by a Brit and a German and their Thai ladies.
- 1 Greenleaf Guesthouse & Tour, 52 Moo 6 Thanarat Rd (km7.5) (Just outside Pak Chong), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. If staying at the guesthouse they can collect you & drop you back to the train or bus station (free) if you arrange this with them in advance. They have an on-site restaurant. Clean, basic double rooms with fan. Daily park tours. The people are lovely and the tours are great. They offer a half-day (500 baht) and a full-day (1500 baht, including the 400 baht park entry fee) tours (1800 baht if you take both). The half-day tour starts at 15:00 and stays outside the National Park - includes swimming in a beautiful natural spring, visit a cave under a Buddhist temple and watch 2 million bats flying out at sunset. The day tour takes you into the National Park where you will go looking for wildlife both in the pick-up truck and on foot during an easy 3-hr walk on jungle tracks. The guides speak English well and are very skilled at spotting even the smallest animals of which they will take nice pictures for you with your own camera through their telescope. Lunch, water, and fresh fruits as well as stops at the waterfall and at a lookout are also included in the price. You do not have to stay at their guesthouse to join the tour. 200 baht.
- The Mansion. An apartment block with hotel rooms on the ground floor. Pleasantly appointed, although rather spartan rooms that go for 1,000 baht a night — which would be expensive for many places, but is the going rate in Pak Chong.
- Payboon Apartments (ask for directions to Charlize Bar; Payboon Apartments is on the right hand side of the road before you get there; the sign is only in Thai; turn right off the main road just after two nice big open air restaurants and opposite a hill side temple on the left (it is high up so you may miss this)), ☏ , . The rooms are spic and span with good shower and were 350 baht for a room with a fan and 650 baht for a room with air conditioning. The family that run it are very nice and helpful. Breakfast in the garden is 50 baht per person and is coffee, tea or chocolate, bread, egg, and sausage and fruit. Or you can have rice soup. Call and they will pick you up. Ask to talk to "Katoo" as he can speak some English.
- Rimptarn Inn. A quirky hotel on the main street in Pak Chong. The rooms are musty but have plenty of character and the bannisters are constructed of recycled teak. 1,000 baht per night.