Here is a list of the top spots for camping in Thailand which will provide you with a really memorable experience while you gaze at the starry night sky and ponder on the bigger and deeper questions (or maybe plan the next adventure?):
1. Doi Inthanon National ParkDoi Inthanon National Park is a whole package of adventures with amazing waterfalls, lush greenery, clear starry night sky, pleasant breeze and not to forget, cloud laden mountain peaks. Sounds like straight out of a Disney fairytale, doesn’t it? This place will make you want to stay forever, that is the magic it creates.
Location and how to reach: It is located just two hours away from Chiang Mai. There are a few ways of reaching there. You can either book a tour organised by any local tour agency, rent a car or motorbike and drive to the park. You need to have your international license to drive though. So be prepared with it if you want to enjoy the views.
Entry fee: The entry fee is THB 300 per person for foreigners, THB 150 for children and THB 20-50 for Thais. The Royal Twin Pagodas have a separate entry fee of THB 40 per person.
Opening Timings: 5 AM to 6 PM
When to visit: It is open all year round but the best time is mid-November through mid-February characterised as the cool season.
- Visit the waterfalls and the highest peak in Thailand, the Doi Inthanon.
- Watch the sunset
- Head to the Twin Pagodas and view the beautiful flower gardens at an elevation of about 2000 metres.
- Take the walking trails for trekking
Tip: It can get quite chilly there, so make sure to keep blankets and warm clothes if you stay the night. Also, if you stay for the night and leave early the next day, you don’t have to pay for the day you leave.
2. Khao Yai National ParkKhao Yai National Park is the second-largest national park in Thailand and a UNESCO heritage site. It is particularly famous for a large number of Asian elephants and a huge variety of flora and fauna. Camping is allowed in the camping grounds surrounded by forests. Because of its beautiful sceneries and landscapes, this place is one of the most popular spots for camping in Thailand.
Location and how to reach: It is located on the route to Nakhon Ratchasima from Bangkok. It is about 200 km from Bangkok. You can get to the nearest place Pak Chong via the train route or via buses to Korat. Once you reach there, you can take a songthaew to reach the park. You can even get a tour package or rent a motorbike.
Entry fee: The entry fee is THB 400 for foreign tourists, THB 200 for children under 14, THB 40 for Thais. There are additional fees on bicycles or private transport ranging from THB 10 to THB 50.
When to visit: October-February
- There are numerous waterfalls like Heo Sai Waterfall, Haew Suwat Waterfall etc.
- The best activity is, of course, hiking. You may need to get a guide as it is rather easy to get lost because the trails are sometimes not clearly marked.
- It is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. You will encounter a lot of animals during your stay. You can find Siamese crocodiles, wrinkle lipped bats, gibbons and majestic elephants.
Camping grounds: There are two camping grounds available, Lam Takhong and Pha Kluay Mai. These come with a lot of facilities like showers, electricity, toilets and parking spots. You can rent camping equipment for THB 150- THB 225 with additional fees for other equipment like grate, charcoal etc. Deers are common visitors.
Tip: Do not leave food out in the open and refrain from using flash when clicking photographs of animals.
3. Kaeng Krachan National ParkIf you love butterflies, this might be your place. Kaeng Krachan National Park is the largest National Park in Thailand. It is famous for hundreds of species of butterflies. It is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna like deer, elephants, barking deer, birds etc.
Location and how to reach: It is located in Phetchaburi and Prachuap provinces. The best way to get there from Bangkok is with a transport service like a minivan. It will take about 3 hours to reach the park.
Entry fee: THB 200 for foreign tourists, THB 100 for children
When to visit: November to March
- Pranburi and Thor Thip waterfalls are very beautiful and a must-see.
- Visit the reservoir where you can take a boat trip.
- Huang Chang cave is also a great site with deposits of stalagmite.
- Catch a glimpse of Hornbills or green tit. It is quite a haven for birdwatchers.
Camping Grounds: Ban Krang campsite is about 15 kms from the entrance of the park and is surrounded with tall trees. Panoen Tung is another campsite which is quite pleasant with a stream nearby. You will be able to find a secluded area easily as it is quite big.
4. Phu Tub BerkOne of the most surreal places in Thailand, Phu Tub Berk is a beauty. Watching the sunrise at this place is the closest you can feel to nature. It is the highest point of the Phetchabun mountain range at an altitude of 1794 metres.
Location and how to reach: You can rent a car or bike to get to the place. The roads can be pretty steep, so make sure this is not your first time driving on a mountain.
When to visit: Due to its high altitude, the weather is cool all year long. However the best time to visit is July-October when you can see the morning fog. The rays of light piercing through the fog is spot on.
Entry fee: THB 500 for adults and THB 250 for children
- Explore the mist, vast cabbage fields and visit the Phu tub Berk temple.
- There are vast spreads of flowers too.
- Watch the breathtaking sunrise.
Camping spots: This place itself is a camping site with various restaurants and markets. Toilets and baths are easily accessible. This place is very popular with tourists and photographers. You can also pay for simple lodges and accommodation services with prices of about THB 1250 and above.
Tip: It can be really cold at night, so ensure that you have some warm clothes with you.
5. Similan IslandsLocation and how to reach: The fastest way to reach Similan Island from Bangkok is by taking a bus to Phuket and then taking a boat ride. You can even take a domestic flight to Phuket. Depending on your port, you can either go to Phuket or Khao Lak. Make sure you know this beforehand. The boat ride needs to be booked in advance.
When to visit: October-May
Entry fee: THB 500 for foreign tourists, THB 50 for Thai tourists, THB 20 for children
- Engage in a lot of water-based activities there like scuba diving.
- Similan offers diving at all levels from 2 metres to 30 metres.
- Visit the enormous rock reefs! There are more than 200 species of corals for you to see and huge canyons and caves for snorkelling.
Camping spots: Camping can be the cheapest way to stay here as the only other option are bungalows and they can be quite expensive.The campsites can be found on the islands of Koh Meang, Koh Similan and Koh Tachai. The price of the tent can be around THB 500 and can fit 2-3 people easily. You can enjoy the wildlife in the morning and have a memorable experience.
Tip: The best time to visit the Islands is between February and March when the seas are calmer and the weather is perfect. Scuba diving and snorkelling are the best during this period as the water is clearer.
6. Khao Laem National ParkSituated in Bangkok, it is located to the northwest of Kanchanaburi province, near the Sangkhlaburi district. This national park is a paradise for camping in Thailand for wildlife enthusiasts and was made to honour the 60th anniversary of King Bhumipol Adulyadej on December 5, 1987. The epitome of floral and faunal diversity, Khao Laem National Park is surrounded by deep fertile forests and sunken temples, this national park has a lot to offer. Khao Laem is also famous for its serene houseboat experiences that shouldn’t be missed at all.
Location and how to reach: The park is located in Kanchanaburi province. You can get to Kanchanaburi via trains which run from Bangkok Noi station in Bangkok. There are buses available too and they are the cheapest options available. You can even take metered taxis which are certainly the quickest way. So depending on time or money constraints, you can choose between them.
When to Visit: November to February
Entry fee: THB 200 for adults and THB 100 for children
- Walk around the forests of the national park to explore the diverse range of flora and fauna.
- Visit the mesmerising waterfalls.
- Visit mon bridge and indulge into activities like kayaking, canoeing, rafting in the Khao Laem lake
- Buy some souvenirs from the Mon market.
- Visit the Bodhgaya pagoda, the sunken temple, and other mystic shrines.
7. Doi Khun Tan National ParkDoi Khun Tan has a relatively less busy and relaxing environment. It is one of the oldest parks in Thailand. The longest rail tunnel of Thailand also traverses through the park. It is home to a lot of species of wildflowers like orchids, gingers etc. and is very diverse botanically. The difference in elevation leads to a vast variety ranging from pine trees at an altitude above 1000 metres to oaks and bamboos at the lowland elevations. Fauna includes porcupines, wild boar, weasel, Siamese hares and many more species.
Location: Mae Tha District, Lamphun
Entry fee: The entry fee is THB 100 for adults and THB 50 for children.
Opening timings: The timings are 6 AM to 6 PM
When to visit: There are 3 main seasons, rainy, summer and cold. The best time to go would be during the cool season which is around November- December.
- Explore the woodland and enjoy the waterfalls.
- Photographers will have a blissful time in this park as there are a lot of gorgeous locations to click photographs.
Tip: Before going camping in Thailand here, make sure you inform the park officials. Also, this park is more adventurous for those people who like to travel on an off beaten path. Try not to travel alone and visit with a group.
8. Doi Suthep Pui National Park
This is one of the most accessible parks in Thailand. There are a lot of options like cycling, hiking, trekking to go through the park. The climate is cold, and nearly 2000 species of flora and 300 species of animals and birds are present, so grab your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the treat!
Location: Huai Kaew Road, Amphoe Pakkret, Nonthaburi, Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
Entry fee: THB 200 for adults and THB 100 for children. There may be additional charges for some attractions.
Opening times: 8:30 AM to 4: 15 PM
When to visit: The weather is cool all year round so you can visit anytime.
- Visit the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple and Bhubing Palace and the Huey Kaew waterfall.
- For camping, you can visit Yod Doi Pui campsite which has various basic facilities like restaurants and a visitor centre. If you need tents and other camping gear, they are also available for THB 225 per night.
Tip: It can get quite cold, so sleeping bags are recommended. You can also rent mountain bikes. Another campsite is Mon Tha Than which has a waterfall and a few bungalows too.
9. Ob Luang National ParkOb Luang National park is located on the Thanon Thong Chai mountain range. It offers incredible landscapes with a zig-zag river flowing through it. Rafting can be done on the river, and a beautiful human-made bridge connects both banks. This park is best for a relaxing trip for camping in Thailand.
Location: Hot District, Chiang Mai
Entry fee: THB 200
Opening time: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
When to visit: Open all year round
- Op Luang Canyon is a famous attraction which has been carved out by the Mae Chaem river.
- There is a hot spring called Thep Thanom in the west side.
- Waterfalls include Mae Bua Kham, Mae Chon and Mae Tia and all are equally beautiful.
- Tham Tong is a granite and limestone cave. Another cave is Tham Tu Pu which features stalagmites and stalactites.
- You can even do a bit of climbing to reach various locations.
10. Mae Ping National Park
Mae Ping is a haven for bird lovers. It is a habitat for various colourful birds, animals and a wide variety of trees. The lake has floating houses for accommodation and camping sites are also present. This beautiful national park is filled with steep mountains and is at an elevation of 900m above sea level. This makes it all the more a favourite amongst adventure seekers who want a thrilling time camping in Thailand.
Location: Mae Lan, Li District, Lamphun
Entry fee: THB 100 for adults, THB 50 for child
Opening time: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM Daily
- Waterfalls and caves can be spotted at many places in the park.
- You can see barking deer (Indian Muntjac), sambar deer, rabbits and gallus in Thung Kik, located east of the park.
- Kaeng Koh lake is the main attraction with floating raft houses.
11. Ob Khan National Park
Ob Khan has been an underrated destination for a lot of years, but people are slowly rediscovering it. It is an excellent place for swimming and hiking and is pretty cheap for camping. Do not be fooled; being cheap doesn’t mean it is not exciting or adventurous enough. It is a perfect spot for picnics and camping with family and friends. It is a great place to take your children, mainly as the hike is more comfortable and it is a lot of fun to float down the river in tubes!
Location: RO Pho Cho Chiang Mai 4037 Rd, Tambon Nam Phrae, Amphoe Hang Dong
Entry fee: There is no entry fee.
Opening times: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
When to visit: The park is great all year round except during the rainy season which is from mid-May to early October as there is mud everywhere and banks might be flooded due to heavy flow of the river.
Activities: There is a 2 km hike that follows the canyon to where the river widens again. Swimming is a fun activity to do here. This is the perfect place to just cool down and relax.
Tip: This place is usually jammed with locals on the weekends, so try to visit on a weekday. Also, it is difficult to find bathrooms and toilets, so carry toilet paper with you and enough food because it is quite possible that you would not find any food joints or stalls here.
Permit for Camping in ThailandMost of the places we have do not require a permit to camp. The entry fee is sufficient to be considered as a permit. But do contact your tour operator before going camping at any of these places as they will provide you with all the required licenses and information when going.
Essentials When Going Camping in ThailandWhile there are so many things which you should be carrying with you for the trip, there are some necessary items without which you won’t be able to call your little adventure, a camp:
1. Tent, poles, and stakes
2. Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
3. Extra tarp or canopy
4. Sleeping bag for each camper
5. Sleeping pad for each camper
6. Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
8. Extra blankets
10. Headlamps or flashlights (extra batteries)
12. Lantern fuel or batteries
13. Folding shovel
Tips And Tricks For Camping In Thailand1. A guided overnight trek is an excellent option if you love hiking and are running short on time. These include a lot of things other than hiking, like visits to local shops, elephant rides, regional cuisines etc.
2. Ask the park officials about locations where you are allowed to camp as it can get a bit confusing primarily because of language restrictions.
3. Always carry sufficient amounts of water and food supply as there is no guarantee that you will find shops to eat inside the parks and sites.
4. Carry a medical kit and some warm clothes as it can get quite cold at night at many locations.
5. Keep a flashlight with you and never leave food outside your tents as it can attract wild animals.
These top 6 destinations for camping in Thailand are excellent getaways to rejuvenate and build stronger connections with nature and life. Who knows, maybe you will find the answers to your deepest desires right here, in the “Land of the free”. Bon Voyage!