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Thailand Help Needed--Khao Yai?

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Starting to plan a trip for next Jan/Feb to SE Asia. This will be our third trip to the region. We will go to Luang Prabang and Burma, plus have a few days in Bangkok. We have been to Bangkok, Siem Reap/Angkor, northern Thailand and Phuket on a previous trip.

We have about 3 nights not accounted for, possibly 4. I was originally planning a beach destination like Koh Samui, but am thinking we’d probably enjoy something else more, and it would be good to avoid another flight. I started looking at things that are w/i a 3 hour +/- drive from Bangkok. A friend I trust told me she didn’t think Sukhothai was worth going to, especially since we have been to Angkor, and it is somewhat further from BKK, I think. We’d probably like some nature (national park/wildlife) as a contrast with the rest of the trip, but no “trekking”. My husband says he does not want to go to Kanchanaburi/River Kwai, and we won’t go to an “elephant camp.” So I’ve narrowed it down to the Hua Hin area with a day trip to Kaeng Krachan NP or Khao Sam Roi Yot, or Khao Yai and surrounds. It looks like a trip to the Khmer ruins at Phimai would be feasible, but Phanom Rung might be a stretch.

I’m leaning toward the Khao Yai/Phimai combo, since it looks like Khao Yai might have more wildlife (would like to see gibbons if possible or some other primates), and depending upon where we stay, we could have two days in the park as opposed to a day trip to Kaeng Krachan. I’ve looked at pictures of Hua Hin, and can’t say the beach looks as nice as the Andaman coast or Koh Samui, so we’d really be going there because there are suitable accommodations and things to do on day trips. There also see, to be some luxurious places to stay further south, near Pranburi. We do like a certain level of comfort.

Anyone offer any insight regarding Khao Yai NP or Phimai? What about wildlife, ruins etc. near Hua Hin, etc? Should we consider Sukhothai anyway? It is a World Heritage Site, after all, but so is Khao Yai.

Any help is much appreciated! Thank you in advance.

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