The best camping in Thailand
Camping in Thailand is a wonderful outdoor activity, the warm temperatures, and wealthy scenery are the ideal recipes for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy sleeping under the stars and getting close to nature.
It’s always surprised when people say camping isn’t so common among Thailand’s travelers.
Most individuals head directly to the beaches in the southern part of the country or cultural towns that lack great camping possibilities across the nation. A two or three-night stay in one of the national parks in Thailand is a great way to experience Thailand’s terrific terrains and nature.
Camping at a Thai National Park
The thing done in Thailand is camping on campsites at the national park headquarters. Taking into account the immensity of some parks, this is a wise move. National park warriors are stationed 24 hours a day at each park headquarters and can help if you have any troubles. They also point out the area’s primary tourist sites and can be recruited as guides if you’d like to walk out into the wilderness.
There are now more than 120 national parks in Thailand, 150 if you include marine parks. Most of the parks on the ground have big campsites with bathrooms, showers, and washrooms, some are better maintained than others.
There are also some marine parks with camping amenities such as the famous Andaman Sea Mu Koh Similan National Park.
Camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags, mats, pillows, and kerosene lamps can be obtained at a minimum price from the park offices. A two-man tent for 150 Baht, sleeping bags, and other accessories ranges from 10 Baht to 30 Baht per product can be rented for the night.
The entrance fee for Thai National Parks differs based on the park from 200-500 Baht. Famous parks like Khao Yai or the Similan Islands tend to charge the full price, but it will be less for the smaller parks. Fortunately, you only pay once, no matter how long you stay in the park, as long as you keep the ticket.
Camping Equipment, Rent or Buy?
At most national parks, tents and camping equipment can be hired at a minimum cost. All major national parks in Thailand can hire good quality tents, sleeping bags, mats, and other equipment such as gas stoves and kerosene lamps.
If you would like to buy your own equipment, Tesco or Big C superstores sell cheap tents, sleeping bags, gas cookers, lamps, and other camping accessories.
Tents can be purchased for at a low cost as 1000 baht, so if you’re planning to camp for 2 days or more, it’s worth the cost, you can always donate it to less fortunate people you might meet along the way.
When to Camp in Thailand?
Camping in Thailand’s ideal time of the year is from November to March. It’s the driest and coldest time of the year, but for most individuals, it’s still very warm.
In the locations like Doi Inthanon National Park, considered as the only area that gets really cool while you climb up in the hills in the northern part of Thailand.
Throughout the dry season, there’s still a possibility of rain, but it’s generally a quick, sharp shower instead of constant rain.
Thailand camping is feasible throughout the year, although it depends on how hard you are and the sort of tent you use.
If you buy from Tesco a 500 Baht tent then don’t assume it to stand up to the heavy rains in the monsoon season of Thailand that occurs from July to October.
While everyone else has said that, on campsites, there are often covered places where you can pitch even the most fundamental tent and maintain it dry, called Sala. Tents obtained from the headquarters of the park are of amazingly excellent quality and can resist heavy rains, even though during the wet season staff will still suggest camping under a Sala.
Thailand’s wet season often puts people off, but it’s a great time for nature lovers as the landscapes and nature really thrive.
Waterfalls can be especially spectacular, seven readily available waterfalls in Doi Inthanon National Park are worth a visit alone.
Suggested Campsites in Thailand
Doi Inthanon National Park
The closeness to Chiang Mai’s primary tourist center makes Doi Inthanon National Park an excellent camper’s option. There are many fantastic waterfalls to be discovered along with Thailand’s rooftop of Doi Inthanon.
Kew Mae Pan hiking trail, located just below the top of Doi Inthanon is one of the most dramatic walks in Thailand, and when merged with the great waterfalls and sleeping under the stars, you will surely have a memorable outdoor experience.
Doi Inthanon National Park has a few camping spots. The formal national park campground is situated at the base of the summit highway, and bungalows in the style of the national park can be rented for the night.
There are also 2 personal campsites, the first one from the formal campsite is situated 100 meters up the mountain.
The campsite, called Sureya, is located on the side of a hill overlooking the valley below the flower fields.
The flower farm turns on its lights every night, illuminating the entire valley, offering a unique camping experience.
The other campsite at Ban Mae Klang Luang is situated next to a tiny river, as well as several bungalows.
You can bathe in the river here and visit the paddy fields nearby, the region is very picturesque and extremely tidy. BBQs and fire pits are also available at the site. This is by far the greatest place, but you must take your own facilities for camping.
Doi Inthanon is visited by most people on day trips scheduled from the tourist hub in the old town of Chiang Mai. Usually, these are rushed and you can’t see many of the tourist destinations in the parks. I advise at least an overnight stay in order to fully enjoy the park, it is one of the classiest national parks in Thailand.
The best time to visit for the scenery is from November to February, and for the waterfalls from June to December.
Khao Yai National Park, a great example of the best camping in Thailand
Khao Yai National Park is situated in the province of Nakon Ratchasima. Although Bangkok is only a 2-hour drive away, nature and wildlife are separate worlds. In the center of the park, there are 2 large waterfalls, Haew Suwat and Haew Narok, and a few more on the outskirts.
Amazing facts about the Khao Yai National Park
- The greatest thing about Khao Yai is wildlife, you’re almost expected to see something on the roadside whether it’s a cheeky monkey or a wild elephant deep in the jungle.
- You don’t have to go far to see wildlife, in the early mornings and evenings, Elephants are regularly seen traversing the main road through the park.
- Gibbons and Long Tailed Macaque’s are everywhere, they made an early morning wake-up call right next to your tent.
- There are also frequently spotted Asian wild dogs, wild boar, gaur, and deer, not to mention a whole host of reptiles including cobra and crocodiles.
- During the rainy season, leeches are a problem, but leech socks are available to purchase from the visitor center of the parks and solve the problem well.
Khao Yai has 2 campsites
Lam Ta Khong is the selection of 2 situated in the park center near the visitor center. It has a big open grass surrounded by a lake and a river. Alligators are frequently seen swimming in the river, and a number of macaque and gibbon families live in the nearby forests.
Also hanging around the campground is a number of deers ensuring that the grass is kept short and smooth.
Huay Mae Kamin Waterfalls
The waterfalls of Huay Mae Kamin are situated in Khuean Srinagarindra National Park in the province of Kanchanaburi.
Most travelers miss these wonderful falls as they opted to visit the neighboring and busy Erawan Falls.
The seven leveled falls from July-December are totally lovely and give some of Thailand’s finest camping you have ever seen.
The greatest thing about here is a refreshing water pool right next to your tent. There’s no need to use the shower equipment every morning as you can get out of your sleeping bag and jump directly into the water.
There are two campsites here
- One overlooking Si Sawat Reservoir near the primary entrance to the parks
- Other one close the basin banks at the bottom of the falls
The campsite at the bottom is the better as you can pitch up right next to the water. Because of its place next to the back door to the parks, most individuals tend to miss it so that you can have peace and quiet surrounded by untouched nature.
Both campsites have restaurants of excellent quality right next door, so no food needs to be brought. You can hire tents and facilities from the headquarters at the top of the falls.
Best camping in Thailand. The National Park of Thong Pha Phum
Thong Pha Phum National Park is situated in the northwest of Kanchanaburi province.
During the cool season from November to February, the parks off the path place make it hard for international visitors to reach but it has become very prevalent with Thai visitors flocking here by the minivan full.
For most tourists, the highlight is a trek to the top of Khao Chang Phueak, the highest peak of the parks.
- Other landmarks in the region of the Park are:
- the viewpoints from the park headquarters to Khao Chang Phueak
- Jok Ka Din waterfall
- Pilok Mine
- the scenery right next to the border across Burma
There is a big camping area with woodsy toilets and shower facilities in the park’s headquarters.
There are 3 excellent viewpoints across the mountain jungle
You can pitch your tent right next to these viewpoints.
Tarzan tree houses are also available in which you can stay overnight, are high up and give excellent views across the thick jungle.
Between November and June, the best time to camp. After June, the excellent views are often blocked by a mist that comes with the rain, and from July to October heavy rain can hit the park.
Khao Laem National Park
Khao Laem National Park is located in the province of Kanchanaburi. Camping here offers the opportunity to camp next to the enormous reservoir of Khao Laem.
There are two campgrounds, one at the headquarters of the Khao Laem primary park and one at the viewpoint of Pom Pee just across the highway. Pom Pee viewpoint is by far the best place with wonderful views and miraculous sunsets right next to the basin.
The district of Sangkhlaburi is just 35 km south of Khao Laem and is an unavoidable destination for any camping journey or visit to the region.
Sangkhlaburi is a diverse cultural town located close to the Myanmar border and has an enormous teak bridge across the reservoir.
Also, there are several old sunken temples to explore on boat trips or kayaks that were lost when Khao Laem Dam was constructed in 1985.
Thi Lor Su Waterfall
Thi Lor Su is the biggest and most magnificent waterfall in Thailand.
The falls are in the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary in the southern Thailand province of Tak. The waterfall extends over 300 meters across its peak during the wet season, plunging 200 meters down enormous calcareous cliffs.
The distant place of Thi Lor Su makes it famously hard to reach, but it adds to the entire adventure.
You can drive most of the way (4wd) during the dry season and walk the final 1.5 km path leading to the falls.
Most individuals tend to join guided tours including rafting along the amazing Mae Klong River, hiking, and camping. Access is even more restricted during the wet season, roads are shut down and a mixture of river rafting and jungle trekking is the only way to get there.
Viewing this incredible waterfall and pristine natural environment is well worth the effort.
The campground is 1.5 km from the waterfall.
Umphang town supply guides, tents, camping facilities, food and beverages to the tour company or to your solo hiking project.
There are on-site bathrooms, showers, and washrooms, along with a convenient store that sells beverages and snacks.
Khao Sok National Park
The winner for me, if there was a real contest to sort out the best camping in Thailand
The national park of Khao Sok is located in Surat Thani Province, Thailand. Being South Thailand’s most famous mainland national park destination,
Khao Sok is a rainforest with plant and wildlife diversity.
In my personal opinion, it is the most amazing natural environment you can see in Thailand!
It is one of the few larger national parks in the nation that are comparatively readily available by public services from neighboring Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, Surat Thani, and Ao Nang.
The park’s primary attractions are iconic!
- Calcareous mountains
- Accessible waterfalls by walking through the lush jungle
- Spread raft houses over Khao Sok Lake
- Streams of which Sok River is the most popular
The Headquarters is conveniently situated a short walk from the region where most hotels are positioned. In the Headquarters region, there is a camping ground, visitor center, restaurant, and toilet and shower facilities.
The restaurant is run by a resort on the edge of the park, but there are plenty of restaurants and stores just outside the park.
With a river running through it, the region is quite spacious.
You can access many of the waterfalls in the park by hiking along the dirt road that begins on the campground’s east side. On the north side of the campground, there are also some paths, one leading to the Sip-et Chan Waterfall.
Much more information at:
Doi Khun Tan National Park
In this little-visited national park, a huge teak, bamboo, oak and pine forest contains at the Khun Tan Mountain. Wildlife such as Siamese hare, porcupine, fox, and wild boar are sheltered in the forest, but hikers are much more probable to see some bright butterflies, colorful insects, and exotic orchids.
Remarkably, Thailand’s longest train tunnel is home to this national park! The trail of 6 km to the top of the mountain is mostly tree-shaded and easy to walk.
At frequent intervals, there are viewpoints and rest stops and if it rains, hide under an enormous banana leaf! If you leave Chiang Mai early, you can go the 12 km up and down the path in a day, but sleeping overnight away from the lights of the town is a gratifying experience.
Doi Suthep Camping: A Mountain Retreat above the City
A trip for a couple, or a fun journey out of town for a group of friends, this is a romantic getaway. Eat, drink, and play guitars under the stars on the mountain after a complete day of culture is what people expected.
Fortunately, the tents are already up so you won’t have to fight with poles and insane manuals of training.
From this lofty point of view, you will see all of Chiang Mai below you. It’s amazing, particularly at night when the town is illuminated like Christmas.
Being on the mountain in relatively silence above Chiang Mai’s nightlife provides a viewpoint experienced by few travelers. Candles generate an atmosphere that is brilliant. Safeguard them on dropped logs by melting the tops before lighting the wick and not having them too close to your tent.
Ob Khan National Park: a jungle swimming and self-leading walk
Ob Khan is about an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai, but it feels like hundreds of miles from town. Despite free admission, this national park is a rare sight for foreigners.
It’s a wonderful escape because it gets too much when pushing the night market and cramming into Zoe in Yellow.
Butterflies and dragonflies are attracted to water, which probably explains why there are so many at this National Park. There have been rumors in a tiger sighting a while back in the local journals, but you are probably more likely to stumble across BLAH than a tiger.
There is a kind of marked path to follow along the river and into the forest. The clean Mae Khan River that runs through Ob Khan National Park’s majestic rocks is a wildly distinct beast from the sluggish Ping River that runs through the town.
The water in the quieter parts is smooth, transparent and ideal for swimming, but be careful where the river rages. Dragonflies and butterflies gather around every other corner around the water.
Phu Kradueng Mountain
Your campsite seems to be hemmed in by spectacular mountain landscapes on all sides in a territory that we generally associate with flat plains and paddy fields of emerald green.
However in the highlands of Loei province, a nice 547 km from the Thai capital, lying on the west edge of Northeast Thailand, you’re able to experience an unforgettable outdoor life. Here, spectacular landscapes and hills trump the usual recipe of colorful golden temples, historic towns, and hypnotic urban experiences.
It’s your first encounter at more than 1,000 meters above sea level with a Thai camping experience away from the well-trodden routes that most visitors take.
Condensation settles on your tent canvas, muddled from yesterday’s walk, dribbling down the flap in an unpredictable descent to your already humid trekking shoes.
At this national park, you will enjoy daybreak with the grass and wildflowers are coated in dew and a flight of birds glides across the small valley of the campsite looking for nibbles in the morning.
Before another day of discovery, you stare at the beauty of nature and contemplate a warm breakfast.
Last but not least, and still in my least!
The Surin Islands are terrific for staying overnight, you get to see the islands of Surin and it is a snorkeling spot during the best time of the day when there are fewer people.
Surin Islands shallow reefs and vibrant marine life make it the perfect place to spend a few evenings. There are a few forest walks on the islands, monkeys, bats, you’ll get to see a lot of wild animals.
However, by far the best camping location is a quick longtail boat ride to Ao Mai Ngam in the vicinity of Ko Surin Nuea (please tell your speed boat crew where you prefer to stay or they may be supposed to drop you in Kong Khad).
Nestled in a quiet bay with a tiny but idyllic powdery coral sand beach, Mai Ngam’s camping place is one of those locations that makes you breathless.