Four sites to choose from
A park this vast has a selection of places to camp at along with a couple of spots with basic bungalows—all care of Kaeng Krachan National Park.
Kaeng Krachan National Park offers four scenic campgrounds set beside the reservoir at Park Headquarters; deep in the lowland jungle at Ban Krang; high up in the mountains at Phanoen Thung; and near Pala-U Waterfall. Limited numbers of basic park-run bungalows are also available at Headquarters and Pala-U. Read on to find out which of these locations will suit you best.
Simple bathroom blocks with cold-water showers and both squat and Western toilets are set close to each of the campgrounds. Park-run restaurants open daily at each location except for Pala-U, where the eatery stands a few kilometres down the road closer to the waterfall. Park staffers are posted at visitor centres near every accommodation zone.
At Ban Krang and Phanoen Thung, electricity from solar-powered generators is switched on only from around 18:00 to 22:00. Campers are asked to stay put in the immediate vicinity of these campsites from 18:00 to 05:00. Electricity at Headquarters and Pala-U stays on 24 hours a day.
It’s fine to arrive unannounced and set up your own tent for 30 baht or grab a park-issued tent along with sleeping bags, mats and pillows, at any time. While it’s unusual to see more than a few tents pitched on weekdays, big groups of Thai campers do shuffle in on weekends and holidays. This is especially true in the cool months of December and January.
Booking in advance is essential if you want to stay in one of the cabins at Headquarters at any time of year—they were even full on a Tuesday in late May. To reserve one you’ll have to file a bank transfer through the confusing DNP website or perhaps call the park directly (link and phone number below). Otherwise you could go for an air-con room at Kanyapa, a privately run budget resort located next to Headquarters.
Rim Nam Kaeng Krachan (Park Headquarters)
A handful of cabins and a few campgrounds rim the east bank of Kaeng Krachan Reservoir, a short walk behind the Visitor Centre at a scenic spot with lake-and-mountain views. Baan Kraeng Krachan is only a kilometre or two to the north, making this a good choice if you don’t want to stay too far away from restaurants and shops outside of the park. But don’t expect to see much wildlife apart from herons and brahminy kites fishing in the reservoir.
The cabins occupy a tree-lined hill behind the southernmost campground at Headquarters. Some are made of concrete and others wood, but they all come with fans, firm beds, hot-water bathrooms and porches. Larger cabins also have fridges and dining areas. All of these rooms were designed with families and groups in mind—with even the smallest sleeping four.
Ban Krang Camp
This campground spans a shady field rimmed by dense jungle and streams. We spotted a harmless green snake and a macaque while here, and the immediate vicinity is terrific for watching birds and butterflies.
One camper recounted how an elephant took a crap all over his tent, forcing him to move it into the Visitor Centre. If that unnerves you, camp up at Phanoen Thung where elephants, gaurs and other large mammals are less common. Ban Krang Camp is centrally located and has the largest spread of park facilities beyond Headquarters. It’s also much easier to access than Phanoen Thung.
Khao Phanoen Thung Camp
Accessible only by hiking or steering a four-wheel-drive vehicle up the rough upper road, this remote campground sits on a ridge at nearly 1,000 metres above sea level. Campers pitch tents on a square of grass behind the small Visitor Centre. A longhouse for park staff obstructs the views directly from the campground, but you don’t have to walk far to enjoy a breathtaking vista.
While this is the most remote campground in the park, the area gets busy every morning when truckloads of Thai travellers arrive to gaze over the “sea of fog.” Members of the Thai royal family occasionally holiday at their residence 800 metres to the west. Expect a smaller restaurant with more limited options than Ban Krang. Bring warm clothes, and be aware of the times when you’re allowed to drive up and down the mountain each day (details under orientation.)
On a couple of visits to Pala-U Waterfall we’ve never seen a tent pitched at the small campground near the ticket checkpoint, and few travellers seem to take advantage of the fan-cooled bungalows found here either. While the setting is quiet and scenic, we wouldn’t stay here unless we were arriving late in the day and wanting to hit the waterfall the next morning. You would need your own vehicle and bringing some of your own food would be wise.
Address: Park Headquarters, Ban Krang, Phanoen Thung and Pala-U, Kaeng Krachan National Park
T: (032) 772 311;
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º37'46.82" E, 12º53'2.42" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
Plus 10 to 30 baht for pillow, mat and sleeping bag; 30 baht to set up your own tent.
|250 baht||250 baht|
|Bungalow fan private bathroom|
Only at Pala-U
|1,000 baht||1,000 baht|
Fan-cooled quad bungalow. At Park Headquarters; larger rooms cost 1,800 to 3,000 baht.
|1,200 baht||1,200 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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