Camping in Thailand and in Southeast Asia is generally neither easy nor very practical, due to many factors such as insects, high temperatures and rainfalls (during monsoon season), or even simply because the dorm room prices are as low as 3-6$ per night.
But it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible!
You can still camp on beaches or even private property, after kindly asking the owners for allowance and maybe paying him/her 50-100 baht. If you’re traveling with your bicycle or motorbike, finding the right camping spot will definitely be easier. But take into account that official campgrounds are not widely available.
After much deliberation, I eventually decided not to take my tent to Southeast Asia. Today I think that was a good decision, especially since I was not traveling with my own mode of transportation. And also I could cut down the weight of my backpack to 11 kilograms.
But being a camping lover, I did my research before coming to Thailand. Turns out that camping is becoming more and more popular with Thai people. Camping facilities are available at most national parks and all the camping gear can be rented on spot.
Some of the more popular national parks for camping are Kaeng Krachan (near Hua Hin, with a beautiful lake), Khao Sok (in the South), or Khao Yai (3hrs away from Bangkok).
I decided to go camping in Khao Yai National Park. Click here to read our full Khao Yai National Park travel guide.
The park itself is very well developed, with a new Visitor’s Center, camping sites, cabins and a good number of hiking trails. If you’re not traveling by car or motorbike, the easiest way to get around the park is to hitchhike.
You won’t wait more than a few minutes till you’re picked up by a park ranger, or a friendly Thai family who is likely going on a camping trip themselves.
There are two options as for camping in Khao Yai National Park - Lam Takhong Camping Ground and Pha Kluay Mai Camping Ground, both with toilets, showers and parking spaces.
Renting camping equipment
Tents are available for rent for 150 baht or 225 baht (for 2 or 4 people respectively), accessories such as sleeping bags, pillows, blankets etc. for 15-50 baht each. Tent area fee is 30 baht. You can even rent a stove (30 baht), charcoal (25 baht) and a grate (50 baht).
Booking can be made on the website of the National Park Office, but I just showed up (at Lam Takhong camping ground) and had no problem with getting the equipment and a camping spot.
When camping at Khao Yai National Park, remember that the nights can get quite cold. Make sure to bring some warm clothes such as a sweater and long trousers. Do not leave food out in the open. Barking deers are frequent visitors at the campsites.