This page lists the very best national parks in Southeast Asia from a wildlife and flora perspective. Although Southeast Asia is famed for its island archipelagoes, scenic beaches, exotic cuisine and ancient temples, there are also many wonderful wildlife-filled national parks to visit. Each country in the region offers a different and unique biodiversity, giving a twist to their national parks that you simply can’t find elsewhere.
Countries boasting exceptional national parks in the region include Borneo, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. See our picks of the very best national parks in South East Asia below:
Cat Tien National Park: Vietnam
Visit the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam which is located around 150 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. Some evidence of the Vietnam War can be seen here but there are some old trees that survived the devastation during the war. Today, smaller plants recovered from the destructive event and wildlife is starting to flourish again. This nature park boasts the rare Javan rhinoceros and has over a hundred mammals like elephants, monkeys, deer and wild cats. The park also boasts more than 400 species of butterflies and more than 300 species of birds.
Khao Yai National Park: Thailand
Thailand is home to the Khao Yai National Park in Isaan province. This is the country’s oldest national park established in 1961. This nature park is home to 200 or so elephants, guar, wild pigs, bats, gibbons, barking deer and macaques. This is also home to a large population of hornbills and plenty of other rainforest animals.
Another destination in Thailand is the Khao Sok National Park which is just a 2-hour drive from Phuket airport. The park is basically a 120,000 hectare virgin rainforest home to various animals which are quite elusive during the daytime. This national park boasts the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, which grows to 80 centimeters wide and blooms once a year around January and February, which is a great time to visit Thailand.
Tanjung Puting National Park: Indonesia
Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan, Indonesia is home to the Camp Leakey Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Pioneered by Dr. Galdikas in the 1970s, this center houses rescued and orphaned orangutans in the wild. It is also said that the rehabilitation center is the most successful of all the four orangutan sanctuaries in the world, with regular releases of rehabilitated primates, making Tanjung Puting a fantastic place to experience wild orangutan trekking.
Kinabalu National Park: Malaysia
The Kinabalu National Park in Borneo Island is a combination of lush forests and high jagged granite peaks which is the Mount Kinabalu. This mountain is also one of the highest mountain peaks in Southeast Asia. The forests are the home of orangutans and ibans. The rare Rafflesia is also found in this national park. There are over a thousand species of flora and fauna which includes orchids and carnivorous pitcher plants.
Mulu National Park, Malaysia
Also in the Malaysian Borneo region is the Mulu National Park. The park boasts lush fauna and flora, cicadas, frogs, hornbills, bats and gibbons. What’s unique about this national park is the amazing limestone cave system that’s being covered by the lush jungle. It is said to be the largest limestone cave system in the world which is something really worth exploring. There are river passages into the cave system where you can travel by canoe or a boat and walk through to the other side of the mountain.