Pak Chong is a main stop on the Northeastern line, making train the most convenient mode of transport for many travellers. The historic train station is located in the centre of town, a five-minute walk north of the giraffe statue up Thesaban 19 (look for signs for the Phubade Hotel).
Trains depart for Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station at 10:10, 11:25, 14:00, 16:35, 19:10, 19:45, 00:05, 00:40, 01:25 and 02:25. A range of fares is available and not all trains are the same; you may want to inquire in advance to see which train and class will best suit you. All Bangkok-bound trains stop at Saraburi, Ayutthaya and Don Muang Airport, among others. From Bangkok, trains depart for Pak Chong at least once every three hours from 05:45 to 22:25.
Heading northeast, trains depart for Ubon Ratchathani at 08:50, 10:55, 19:50, 22:50, 00:15 and 02:25. All Ubon-bound trains stop at Buriram, Surin and Sisaket. Trains depart for Khon Kaen at 06:15 and 21:50, with the night train continuing up to Udon Thani and Nong Khai. All northeast-bound trains also stop at Khorat.
Frequent Khorat-bound regular buses and minibuses from Bangkok’s Morchit (Northern) terminal make a stop in Pak Chong, which does not have a single bus terminal.
First-class buses to Morchit terminal pick up around once an hour from early morning to 20:00 at an office on the south side of Mittraphap Road, slap bang in the centre of Pak Chong and across the road from the giraffe statue. They cost 130 baht and take around three hours.
Minibuses to Morchit pick up at a few different places from around 04:00 to 19:30 for 150 baht in the centre of Pak Chong. Two are located across the road from the giraffe statue and night market, near the first-class Bangkok bus stop on the south side of Mittraphap, while another is found on the north side of Mittraphap just east of the giraffe statue.
If looking to head elsewhere by bus or minibus, walk a little less than a kilometre east from the giraffe statue to a small bus station painted orange on the north side of Mittraphap, just west of Tesaban 23. In front of the station, minibuses and second-class buses depart several times per hour to Khorat’s Bus Terminal 1 for 60 baht, with the last departure at 20:00. Hourly minibuses coming from Ayutthaya stop here briefly and run to Khorat’s Bus Terminal 2. Buses to Khon Kaen also pick up here at 08:30, 09:30 and 10:30 for 180 baht. If heading elsewhere and you’re not sure what to do, make your way to Khorat’s Bus Terminal 2 for a huge range of transfers.
Westbound buses and minibuses pick up across Mittraphap from the small bus station mentioned in the above paragraph. There are no signs or ticket desks; the buses just pull over along the inside lanes of the highway near a motorbike taxi stand and passengers are expected to jump in quick and pay at the end of the trip. From here, minibuses to Lopburi pick up hourly from 07:30 to 20:00 for 110 baht; and minibuses to Ayutthaya depart from 07:00 to 19:00 for 100 baht. Second-class buses to Bangkok also pick up here frequently, stopping in Saraburi on the way to Morchit. If having trouble catching a Lopburi or Ayutthaya minibus, make your way to Saraburi for an easier transfer.
Khao Yai is close enough to Bangkokthat quite a few travellers hire regular Bangkok taxis for day trips to the national park. Expect to pay around 4,000 baht including gas.
Pak Chong’s central songthaew stand is located just east of the giraffe statue in the centre of town -- head straight south from the train station and turn left on Mittraphap. Large public songthaews run direct to the national park’s northern gate until 16:30 for 30 baht per person.
Serving as private taxis, drivers of regular-size songthaews hang out in downtown Pak Chong and charge 200 to 300 baht for rides to Thanarat or the Khao Yai gate. They can also be hired for park tours for around 1,500 baht per day. Private vans can be arranged through Khorat Car Rental (see below) and travel agents for around 2,500 baht per day, not including petrol. These can be booked as far away as Bangkok.
There’s no public transport of any kind once you’re inside the park, so you’ll want to pay for a private ride if staying at park accommodation. Otherwise you can ask the public songthaew drivers to drop you at any hotel or resort along Thanarat Road. If you end up at the northern gate without any wheels, as plenty of backpackers do, park officials are used to helping travellers find rides with other visitors.
Inside the park, mountain bikes can be rented at the visitor centre and Lam Takong campground for 200 baht per day. Just north of the northern gate, Sankhao Yai rents out motorbikes for 500 baht per day, including petrol.
Motorbikes can be rented for 300 baht per day at a few different motorbike sales shops in Pak Chong. Tai Yen has a Roman script sign above the door near the centre of town at the corner of Tesaban 14, on the south side of Mittraphap and a five-minute walk west of where Bangkok minibuses park. A bit further west, Pet Motors is located on the north side of Mittraphap in a large white building with blue tinted windows up top. Marked by a giant red Honda sign, Khao Yai Motorcycle is found on the south side of Mittraphap to the east of town, roughly across the road from the the Khorat bus stop. All three are open from 08:00 to 17:00 and closed on Sundays.
A good option for renting a car, van or SUV -- with or without driver -- is Korat Car Rental, which is based in Khorat but can deliver vehicles to Pak Chong and elsewhere. Otherwise you can try the car rental agency at the Rimtarninn Hotel in Pak Chong, or rent a car at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and drive up to Khao Yai on your own. Rates run from around 1,000 to 1,500 baht per day, not including driver, with discounts available for a week or longer.