A stay in one of Thailand’s national park headquarter campgrounds is a great place to start for those who want to camp in the country. Park rangers are available 24 hours a day and can point out the main tourist attractions in the area for visitors to explore. The following national parks have everything one needs to camp properly, including cots, mats, sleeping bags, tents, and even kerosene lamps available for rent.
Many of the national parks in the country charge an entrance fee, which ranges from ฿200–500. Visitors only have to pay this fee one time, regardless of the number of days they choose to camp.
Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park is only about a two-hour drive from Bangkok, and it is well worth the trip. Inside this stunning campground, visitors will find cascading waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. Guests will sometimes see wild elephants in the early morning and evening crossing the road within the campground. There are also wild dogs, boars, and deer that are known to meander this national park.
Khao Yai National Park is home to two campsites. Lam Ta Khone is the better of the two, and it sits near the visitor’s center. It is a large open camping area surrounded by both a river and lake.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon National Park is found just outside Thailand’s northern capital of Chiang Mai. The park features several fantastic waterfalls visitors can discover along the way to the summit of Doi Inthanon, often referred to as the “roof of Thailand.” The nature trail located just below the summit of Doi Inthanon is one of the country’s most spectacular walks, giving campers plenty of things to see during their unforgettable, outdoor experience in the north of Thailand.
Located about six hours north of the capital is the city of Phetchabun. It remains off the beaten path and is one of the most secluded places to visit, especially for those hoping to go camping. Khao Kho is the best place to do so in the city. This mountain sits at a whopping 1,143 meters (3,750 feet) high, and the reward for those visitors who make their way to the top will be stunning views of the surrounding mountainous terrain. There is also a reservoir in sight, and overlooking all of the amazing landscapes are the campsites; the name of the campground is Phukaew. There are also many mountainous accommodation options here, including hillside bungalows and rooms, a luxurious resort, and, of course, tents and other camping gear available for rent.
Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is best known for its seven-tiered waterfall, but it is also a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts to take to their tents and spend the evening outdoors. Its location is about 45 minutes outside the historic city of Kanchanaburi, and guests can visit the park, rent a tent and mat, and enjoy the stunning surrounds for a few days. There is also an on-site restaurant there for campers to dine in.
Nam Pha Pa Yai
Nam Pha Pa Yai is a great camping destination for those who do not want to venture far from the capital. Within two hours, visitors will find themselves at Nam Pha Pa Yai, found on the Phasak River. It is well known for its great rock climbing, and the area also has tents, tree houses, and other naturalistic accommodation options for those who want to stay a night or two.
The Similan Islands have so much to offer its visitors. The national park, established in 1982, comprises 11 stunning and quiet islands. The Similan Islands also have arguably some of the best dive sites in the entire world, though its camping sites are not half bad either. The islands are located about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) from Phuket, but they are well worth the trip. It is recommended that visitors reserve a tent on the Similan Islands before making the trek out there, as this is one of the most popular camping destinations in the country.
Visitors can camp in Thailand all year long; however, November through March is the best time of year to do so. These are the cooler months out of the year, though for many, it will seem like it is still incredibly hot. Be sure to pack light clothing for sleeping because of this.
Thailand’s monsoon season is from July through October. A cheap tent simply would not hold up to the country’s heavy rainfall, so it is best to avoid camping during this time. If visitors are determined to go camping during the wet season, it is best to get a bungalow or to pitch a tent in a covered area in campgrounds across the country. Also, avoid camping in Southern Thailand during this time, as this region is hit hardest with the rainfall.