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12 of Asia’s top National Parks

| Words by Zoe Crane | , , , , , ,

Discover the flora and fauna of Asia in its beautiful national parks

Our pick of national parks in Thailand, India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Laos, China, Burma, Japan, Mongolia, and Bhutan.

1. Thailand: Khao Yai National Park.

Lush emerald jungle covers mountain peaks in this rich national park housing deer (both Sambar and Barking), Guar, Sun bears, gibbons and macaques. Though rarely seen there are even tigers and leopards. Visit on our Khao Yai Explorer.

2. India: Ranthambore National Park.

One of India’s most important Project Tiger reserves, Ranthambore National Park is also home to wildlife such as leopards, sloth bears, deer, antelopes, monkeys and birds, seen amongst the cliffs and valleys while crocodiles bask on the shore of the lake. See it for yourself on our Taste of India with Ranthambore small group tour.

3. India: Ranthambore National Park.

While some wildlife remains, including leopards, Indian elephants, bears (black and sun), gibbons and macaques and the Slow Loris and Pangolin, the park is better known for the abandoned French Hill station amidst the cool rainforest. Unfortunately a resort including golf course and casino is being built at the top of the hill, somewhat ruining the natural ambience.

4. Cambodia: Bokor National Park.

A wildlife sanctuary since 1900, Yala is known for its diversity of flora and fauna. Integral to the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants, it is also home to the one of the most dense leopard populations on earth. Civet and fishing cats can also be seen, along with the charming Red Slender Loris. Aquatic birdlife is rich within the park and reptiles include snakes lizards, turtles and crocodiles. Try a morning and afternoon game drive on our Sri Lanka Discovery small group tour.

5. Vietnam: Cat Ba National Park.

A Halong Bay cruise takes you past stunning limestone karst islands. One of these dramatic peaks rising from the bay is Cat Ba, half of which is comprised of Cat Ba National Park. This tropical primary rainforest is home to a range of animals, birds and reptiles and much of the flora is unique to Vietnam.

6. Laos: Phou Khao Khouay National Park.

This vast park stretches across forests and mountains, from alpine forests to thick jungle with spiked with lakes, rivers and waterfalls. You may catch sight of wild elephants and gibbons on a trek in the Southern part of the park, or venture to the western side for incredible views across the Vientiane Plain. The park is also known for the wild orchids that flourish during wet season.

7. China: Jiuzhaigou national park.

The most striking feature of Jiuzhaigou National Park must be its crystal clear turquoise lakes. Nestled amongst evergreen forests and snow-capped mountain peaks, this alpine region is one of China’s most beautiful. See it for yourself on our Sichuan Alpine Explorer.

8. Burma: Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park.

The largest national park in Burma was originally established in 1893 and is one of the country’s most famous. Despite the fact that the park can only be accessed by elephant, the park receives over 30,000 pilgrims a year coming to pay homage to wild pigs and tigers. There is a shrine within the park which is cared for by a group of monks.

9. Japan: Fuji Hakone Izu National Park.

Not actually a specific area, the park is comprised of an accumulation of tourist sites that dot the region. These include Mount Fuji, Fuji Five Lakes, Hakone, the Izu Peninsula, and the Izu Islands, stretching over several hundred kilometres. This results in a wide geographic diversity covering hot springs, coasts and mountains, and over 1,000 volcanic islands. Visit Hakone to see Mount Fuji on our Highlights of Japan small group tour.

10. Mongolia: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park.

While the southern part of the park caters to tourism with restaurants and Ger camps, along with horses and camels to rent, much of the park remains relatively inaccessible and undeveloped. Khagiin Khar Lake is a 20m deep glacial lake, a visitors’ favourite along with the Yestii Hot Springs upstream. Wildlife includes brown bears and a large number of bird species.

11. Bhutan: Jigme Dorji National Park.

Stretching over 4,000 square kilometres (1500 square miles), the Jigme Dorji National Park spans all three climate zones of Bhutan, climbing from 1,400 to over 7,000 meters (4,500 to 23,000 feet). Within the park there are around 6,500 people practicing subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Several rare and endangered species find sanctuary in the park, including the snow leopard, takin, clouded leopard, Himalayan blue sheep, Bengal tiger, black musk deer, Himalayan black bear and red panda.

12. Thailand: Khao Sok National Park.

Located in Surat Thani, this national park is Thailand's largest and the world's oldest (some 160 million years) evergreen forest. With the 165 square kilometre Cheow Lan Lake and thick jungle the park safeguards a vast number of wildlife species. 48 species of known mammals call the park home and include the Asian Elephant, Tiger, Malaysian sunber, Gibbon and 311 species of bird with the Kingfisher and Woodpecker the most recognisable.