What are the Rules When Jungle Trekking in Thailand?

Monitor lizards are just one of the many species of wildlife you may see jungle trekking in Thailand


Jungle trekking is a popular pastime in Thailand. Whether in an unprotected jungle or a national park, tourists come from all over the world to go trekking. The best jungle trekking in Thailand is in northern Thailand, around the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai areas, although you can jungle trek just about anywhere. One thing you must remember if you come to jungle trek in Thailand is there are certain rules and these rules must always be followed.

Like any country in the world, Thailand’s jungles and national parks are ecologically fragile, so it’s vital trekkers treat the jungle with respect and don’t do any damage while they’re there. The rules for jungle trekking in Thailand are quite basic, so follow them and you’ll have no problems at all.

Always Follow the Trekking Route – Thailand’s jungles are vast places where you can easily get lost, hurt or even killed. Thailand still has wild elephants, wild tigers and hundreds of kinds of poisonous snakes so, when you’re in the jungle, make sure you don’t stray from the trekking route that’s been marked out. If you’re with a guide too, always follow him or her and don’t branch off on your own, as you could live (or not!) to regret it.

Don’t Catch Animals or Insects – Thailand already has a thriving illegal wildlife trade. Please don’t add to it by capturing small animals or insects, even just to look at. They can be easily injured, even if you don’t mean to do it, and later on could die from that injury. And taking an animal or insect out of the jungle is against Thai law. Don’t do it.

Don’t Pick Plants, Take Leaves or Branches – While it might seem only a little thing to take a plant, put a few leaves in a plastic bag or stuff a couple of branches into your backpack, please don’t. If everyone who passes through Thailand’s jungles while trekking took just a small thing, Thailand’s jungles would soon have even more damage than they already do.

Don’t Collect Stones, Rocks, Minerals or Earth – Another rule while trekking in Thailand is that to be able to take stones, rocks, minerals or earth out of Thailand’s jungles, you need a special permit. So digging up a bit of earth, or collecting a stone or two is not only best avoided, it’s also illegal. Thailand is becoming very protective of its jungle as the modern world encroaches on it more and more. Treat the jungle with respect and just enjoy the view.

Be Careful with Fires – If you’re going to cook food with a small fire while you’re trekking, make sure you only light a fire in the designated fire areas and also double check it’s been extinguished properly before you move on. Every year, there are problems with fires in Thailand’s jungles and national parks, so please make sure you’re not one of those that cause them.

Don’t Throw Garbage Around – Some of Thailand’s jungles and national parks have garbage thrown around, especially as waterfalls, which attract a lot of tourists and local Thais too. Don’t be a follower and chuck your garbage on the ground too.

If you’re in a national park, the park office will provide a plastic garbage bag for you to collect your own trash. If you’re trekking in a jungle with a guide, take your own plastic bag and dispose of your trash properly when you leave the jungle.

Don’t Make Loud Noises or Play Music – Thailand’s jungles and national parks are places of peace and quiet. Don’t make a lot of noise crashing through the undergrowth while you’re jungle trekking in Thailand. And please don’t play music. Remember, there are many exotic animals and wildlife that very rarely come across people, and you don’t want to scare the beejesus out of them if they do.

Be Aware of Wild Animals – Thailand’s jungles still have thousands of wild elephants, wild tigers, monkeys, gibbons, deer and many other animal species. Some of them can be extremely dangerous (elephants, tigers and monkeys especially), so if you suddenly come across one, don’t think you can wander over to pet it.

Especially with elephants and tigers that will charge or chase you, stop where you are, stand still and don’t make any sudden movements and, for heavens sake, don’t run. Most of the time, the animal will wander off by its own accord, and you can carry on with your trek.

These few simples rules of jungle trekking in Thailand will ensure you have a wonderful but safe time. Thailand’s jungles are gorgeous and well worth the time spent traveling through them. Just be safe while you do so and take care of the jungle too.