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Adventures in Thailand > Hiking (Trekking) & Camping
 

Hiking (Trekking) & Camping

   
 

About Hiking & Camping in Thailand

Thailand is definitely one of The best places in the world for hiking and camping as there are an abundant number of national parks in the country. It should be slated that Thailand has the largest areas of protected forest areas in Southeast Asia and therefore hikers will find lots to do here. There are almost 50 national parks in Thailand; this number includes marine parks. These parks are managed and run by the National Parks Division of the Royal Forestry Department, and all offer great cottages and guesthouses. For those who prefer to camp out in the wilderness, national parks do allow visitors to pitch tents within specified areas.

Unlike the rest of the country, you will find that the parks are relatively cool all year round with temperatures averaging 30 degree Celsius. In fact, at year's end (November - December during the cool season) parks can be quiet chilly. Of course, being the tropics, these parks are also very humid (humidity here is almost 99%). A constant complaint for campers is that most washing never really dries even in the sunniest days due to the high levels of humidity.

Within Thailand's national parks are also great waterfalls, which are a great stopover point for trekkers and bikers alike. Among the more famous and fantastic of them are Erawan Falls (probably the country's most famous waterfall) located in Erawan National Park in western Thailand.

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How to get started?

Depending on your interest, the national parks offer a great number of activities within the protected areas. To fill your time in the parks, you can go on jungle treks, trekking and wildlife observation, bird watching, mountain biking and river rafting (this includes bamboo rafting and white water rafting). Each national park within Thailand are managed independently therefore it is best to consult a travel company specialising in ecotourism and adventure travel to identify the best itinerary for you.

Being in Thailand, jungle treks by elephant back is also an interesting option. Some tour operators also provide interesting treks past tribal communities especially in northern Thailand where visits and home stays within hill tribe families can be arranged. On rare occasions, some travel operators offer rides on ox-carts through small villages in the outskirt of national parks.

Hiking & Camping Destinations

Central Thailand

Nature treks in Thailand are as diversified as its 5 different regions. Within central Thailand where Khao Yai National Park is located, vegetation are typically lush tropical forests with a large number of wildlife particularly wild elephants, red bull, gaur and horn bills. Khao Yai offers nighttime animal watch trekking as well as viewing platforms.

The overwhelming 18-tiered Tho Thip waterfall in Kaeng Krachan National Park is also located within the central region and is best visited during the rainy seasons from July to early October. During the cool season between November to January, treks to the highest peaks will be rewarded with an awe-inspiring view of a sea of thick mist and fog. This can be viewed within Khao Yai National Park at Lonely Peak (Khao Yai's highest peak).

Western Thailand

Thailand's national parks are well endowed with great waterfalls which are a great slop-over point for trekkers and bikers alike. Among the more famous and fantastic of them are Erawan Falls (probably the country's most famous water fall) at Erawan National Park.

A noteworthy itinerary is provided by some operators that combine an interesting route to national parks. For instance, cycle or travel by mini van to Phetchaburi province from Bangkok, followed by a short sea canoe experience across the bay to get to Sam Roi Yod National Park (which is also accessible by road). Upon arrival to Sam Roi Yod, take a 1.5 hour trek to the Tham Phraya Nakhon, a cave located at the top of the hill. The cave has a large opening which lets in a stream of light upon, Khuha Karuehat - an antique Gazebo constructed by King Rama V.

Northern Thailand

Vegetation in the north is less congested when compared to a typical tropical rain forest. Here cool to temperate-weathered vegetation can be found such as the Wat Chan Pine Forest located in Chiang Mai at Wiang Ping. Also located here is Mae Ya Waterfall in Doi Inthanon (Thailand's highest mountain), dropping more than 25 metres at the southern end of the park.

Treks to the highest peaks during the cool season will take you to a view of a sea of thick mist and fog. Virtually all peaks in northern Thailand enables viewing of mist however, noteworthy view points for this spectacular sight are Doi Inthanon National Park, Huai Nam Dang National Park (Kiew Lom View Point), Mae Wong National Park, (atop Mokochu Mountain), Phu Chi Fa in Chiang Rai and lots more.

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Northeast Thailand

In the northeast, parks offer bizarre sand, stone outcrops. Of particular interest is the Mukdahan National Park where outcrops resemble mushrooms, nails, naga heads, stone castles, etc. In Chaiyaphum's Pa Hin Ngam National Park, visit the "Edge of the World" for more weird outcrops. Perhaps more interesting is Sao Chaliang in Pha Taem National Park in Ubon Ratchathani where apart from outcrops, are prehistoric paintings by ancient hunter-gatherers drawn on cliffs overlooking the Mekong River and Laos dated as far back as 3,000 years.

Southern Thailand

Within southern Thailand, national parks are typically more dense with mangrove swamps and wetlands. Here lies Phru To Daeng or Phru Sirindhorn in Narathiwat, which is one of the world's largest peat swamps. In Khao Chong Wildlife Development and Conservation Promotion Station in Trang, pleasant walking trails through streams and waterfalls are part of the attractions.

Best time to Hike & Camp

Depending on your interest, visits to the national parks can be awe-inspiring especially during the cool season during November - February when trekkers are rewarded with a view of thick mist. However, if you prefer having stopovers at waterfalls, this is only possible during the rainy season of July - October when the falls are at their most intimidating. There is no bad time to hike or camp even if it's during the rainy season or the dry season, this is because exhaustion from jungle treks is minimal due to the dense foliage from the tropical rain forests that keep temperatures within parks a cool 30 degrees Celsius and below. However, hiking and camping during the rainy season can be dangerous as areas with waterfalls are susceptible to sudden water swells that pour down the falls. All national parks do have a warning system of sirens and flashing lights to warn hikers and swimmers of this. These warnings MUST be heeded and should not be taken lightly as these systems are in place for your safety. Be sure to vacate the waterfall whenever you hear the siren.

References / Service Provider

Visit the National Park's website at www.dnp.go.th where in depth information on each park is provided, including activities available. This site is a great resource for research on what to do and where. Another great website that must be visited is www.umphanghill.com; where Umphang National Park's various sights and activities are listed. Other private sector websites worth visiting are www.lisulodge.com, www.thaiecotours.com and www.wildwatchthailand.com

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Source : www.tourismthailand.org

 
Thailand private tours, Bangkok private tours, Chiang Mai private tours, Ayutthaya..., ..., Thai private tour guide,
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