4 Asian National Parks and the Amazing Sights and Species They Offer

David Geithner
4 min readOct 24, 2023

The world’s finest national parks not only boast incredible landscapes, but also present the opportunity for visitors to experience some of the world’s rarest and most iconic wildlife up close. From India to Indonesia, Asia is a continent bursting with biodiversity and spectacular scenery. From Japan’s Izu Islands to Ang Thong National Marine Park in Thailand, we provide an overview of four iconic Asian national parks, highlighting the unique scenery and wildlife each has to offer.

1. Ranthambore National Park — India

Home to snapping marsh crocodiles, the Bengal tiger, and countless other creatures made famous by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Ranthambore National Park ranks among the largest and most impressive of all of India’s national parks. The wild beauty of the landscape entices visitors with its natural serenity, tantalizing tourists with its reputation as one of the best places on earth to spot the elusive Bengal tiger. Ranthambore National Park is also home to hyena, peacocks, and much more, its ancient mosques and crumbling fort waiting to be explored.

Ranthambore National Park attracts nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts in droves with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. The park is also home to the ruins of some once extremely impressive royal palaces, as well as Trinetra Ganesha Temple, a Hindu sacred site dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The deity, one of the religion’s five major gods, with an elephant head and human body, was said to have visited King Hammer, ruler of Ranthambore Fort, in a dream in 1299 AD. For centuries, Hindus have journeyed here from across the globe in order to worship Lord Ganesha, the god of wealth, education, wisdom, and good fortune.

2. Goreme National Park — Turkey

Combining nature and culture, Goreme National Park is one of Turkey’s most important attractions. The national park is located in a volcanic region, encompassing an area of approximately 100 square kilometers in total. Although Mount Hasan and Mount Erciyes lie just beyond the park’s limits, these mysterious mountain volcanos present an impressive backdrop.

Situated on plateaus and hills that have been eroded by wind and flowing rivers over the course of thousands of years, this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts a unique, ethereal landscape, its hoodoo rock formations incorporating unusual geographical elements like tent rocks, pillars, rock towers, and fairy chimneys. Goreme National Park also features a multitude of underground settlements carved out of the rocky landscape. The region’s layers of soft rock enabled ancient civilizations to construct dwellings by carving their homes out of the hills, creating an underground complex that includes living quarters, sites of religious worship, storehouses, and stables for animals.

3. Ang Thong National Marine Park — Thailand

Translating to English as “golden basin,” Ang Thong is a unique marine environment made up of more than 40 islands.

Situated approximately 20 miles northeast of Ko Samui, Ang Thong National Marine Park’s islands consist mostly of steep, rugged limestone hills, featuring caves, sinkholes, and inland marine lakes. Apart from two nomadic villages at Ko Phaluai and Ko Wua Ta Lap, the islands are completely uninhabited.

This unspoiled tropical wilderness serves as a haven for wildlife, and is home to 50 bird, 16 mammal, five amphibian, and 14 reptile species, including fishing cats, smooth-coated otters, leopard cats, dusky leaf monkeys, and long-tailed macaques.

4. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park — Japan

The home of Mount Fuji, a majestic and isolated volcanic peak that commands the skyline in all directions, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is a timeless natural wilderness where visitors can hike through vast forests, bathe in hot springs, and explore lava caves. Located southwest of Tokyo and stretching all the way from Mount Fuji to the Izu Peninsula in the Pacific Ocean, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is divided into four areas, with the Mount Fuji and Hakone areas situated to the north, and the Izu Islands and Izu Peninsula to the south. Shaped by millions of years of tectonic and volcanic activity, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park boasts stunning views of Mount Fuji, which is scalable during the summer season, and remains snow-capped for much of the year. The striking waters of Shiraito Falls are well worth a visit, as is the Amagi Forest, with its gargantuan Japanese cedar and birch trees.

Hakone’s main attraction, the steaming vents of Owakudani, are a rare geological sight that date back more than 130,000 years when volcanic activity shaped the cone-shaped mountains of this central area of Hakone. Located on the Ring of Fire where the North American, Filipino, and Eurasian Plates converge, Owakudani was known for centuries as “the Great Hell” due to its hot steaming vents and sulphurous vapors. Meanwhile, to the south, the Izu Islands present an entirely different experience, their stunning beaches, hot springs, and deep forests enchanting visitors with an abundance of excellent seafood restaurants, accommodation, and watersports on hand, and even opportunities to swim with dolphins.

--

--

David Geithner

David Geithner is a senior finance executive who draws upon nearly three decades of experience to serve as EVP and COO, IMG Events and On Location.