Thailand's National Parks
National Parks Thailand
Thailand has now designated many areas as national parks or wildlife sanctuaries to protect its fauna and flora. Legislation was passed to enable this in the 1960s and now Thailand has many national parks, including marine areas which have been given national park status to protect their coral reefs and marine life. There is usually an entry fee to enter a national park and development in national park areas is restricted. This applies to many of Thailand's islands, slowing down tourist development.
Camping is often permitted in certain areas within a national park. Some of them have bungalows or government-run accommodation where you can stay. Otherwise, find somewhere to stay within easy access of the park you wish to explore.
Conservation is a concern so if staying in a national park, please do not leave any rubbish, build fires, or harass local wildlife. If diving or snorkelling, do not touch anything under the water. Much of the world's coral reefs are becoming damaged, admittedly mainly from fishing practises such as dynamite fishing, but divers should respect the marine environment by keeping their distance from a reef, and not feeding or touching underwater animals.
Endangered species in Thailand include the elephant, the tiger and the dugong (sea cow). Elephants used to work on farms and in the logging industry but logging has been banned reducing the need for elephants in Thai industry. There are some wild elephants still and there are elephant sanctuaries you can visit.
Generally national parks in the north of Thailand might be a bit cold during November to February. The rainy season is from May to October - national parks would be at their most lush after the rainy season and that would be the best time to see waterfalls or do river trips as the rivers can get a bit low by the end of the dry season. Some national parks would be inaccessible during the rainy season. Marine national parks such as Tarutao National Park or Koh Similan would be affected by this.