Designated as national park in 1972, Nam Nao covers 966 km² in the mountainous forests of Phetchabun and Chaiyapum provinces in Northeast Thailand. It is the best national park in the area and one of best in the country with good wildlife viewing, bird watching and hiking possibilities, supporting a range of IUCN red listed animals and birds.
The flora consists mainly of dry dipterocarp, mixed deciduous, hill evergreen, vast bamboo groves, pine forests and some grasslands.
Nam Nao National Park is very popular among local tourist on week-ends and public holidays for it’s picturesque viewpoints, specially during the cold season when morning mist covers forests in white.
Getting to the park is relatively easy with many public transportation option available between Khaon Kaen to west and Lom Sak or Phetchabun to east on Highway 12, buses will stop at main checkpoint. Headquarters and facilities located 50 km east of Lom Sak and another 1.7 km north from checkpoint on the main road. The options to get to HQ from the checkpoint are walking, hiking or ask rangers at the checkpoint to call for a lift if there are any drivers available.
HQ area has a visitor center and other administrative buildings, three flat and specious camping zones, three restaurants with good selection of foods open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., two shops and toilet/shower facilities. Tents with necessary camping gears like mats, sleeping bags/blankets, pillows are available for rent from the visitor center.
There are number of bungalows available for rent, advance booking through DNP website (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation) is recommended during the hot seasons, particularly for week-end and public holidays. The bungalow options are many with cheaper option from 1000 THB for 2 bed rooms/4 people up to 4000 THB for 4 bed rooms/8 people (May 2015 prices), all with electricity and hot showers.
The park is home to many exciting animal species like elephant, gaur, banteng, leopard, Indian muntjac, sambar deer, Asian golden jackal, Asiatic black bear, Malayan sun bear, wild boars and many more. Elephant droppings on the roads are very common sight, proofs how common the elephants are, so common that the camping grounds are surrounded with electric fence.
Nam Nao has over 220 known bird species, dry condition of the forests makes it easy for birdwatching. Around HQ area it is possible to see species like red-headed trogon, red-billed blue magpie, great barbet, greater yellownape, grey-headed woodpecker, grey-capped pygmy woodpecker, bamboo woodpecker, large woodshrike, eurasian jay, black-throated laughing-thrush, lesser necklaced laughing-thrush, golden-crested myna, golden-fronted leafbird, plain flowerpecker and ruby-cheeked sunbird. Getting aorund the park by foot on many trails or driving further away to distinctly different habitats of the park will give more rewarding possibilities to see silver pheasant, blue pitta, bar-backed partridge, collared owlet, collared falconet, blossom-headed parakeet and oriental turtle dove.
Average elevation of 800 meters makes this park comfortably cool all year-round. Annual average temperature is about 25 °C, frost may occur November to January with night temperatures occasionally dropping to as low as 0 °C. Visitors are advised to have some warmer clothing during the cold season.