The great outdoors
Cool weather brings camping cheer
If you have felt the crisp, cool Bangkok mornings, then you're probably aware that the cool season is about to kick-off. While we may not have four seasons in Thailand, we definitely have camping season. The slightly lowered temperatures means this is the perfect time to spend a few days in the mountains surrounded by nature instead of skyscrapers. The word "camping" may give rise to a few assumptions -- roughing it out in the wild, having to rely on your wits and limited resources, being out in the open with the possibility of dangerous animals lurking about, sleeping in a tiny cramped tent, and worse of all, having to go to the "toilet" in a hole in the ground. But it's 2018 and there ways to go camping without having to suffer such discomfort.
We've compiled a few places all around the country so you won't have to do the work. Take your pick from a luxurious experience called "glamping" to something a little simpler. Whatever you feel like, one of these places will cater to your whims and fancies.
TE MATA GLAMPING
If you're not comfortable roughing it out with only a tent and a few resources, then glamping may be the best choice. Glamping, which is literally "glamorous camping", lets you experience camping with the comfort and amenities of a hotel or resort. Te Mata Glamping offers you a luxurious stay with their cheapest room -- or should we say tent -- priced at B6,500 for two. The biggest tent, the Te Mata Royale, can house seven or more people for B22,000. Now while it may seem steep for a few nights in a tent, a glance at their photos and the extras offered shows that you're definitely getting your money's worth. The tents are decked out with comfortable beds and furniture that's sure to make your chill sesh in the tent a blast. These luxury tents are fully-equipped with rain showers, TVs and of course, Wi-Fi (because let's face it, you're gonna want to IG this). So yes, you may be in a tent, but it's one heck of a swank tent. You've also got a fire pit where you can gather around to chat and drink, have a BBQ or share ghost stories (is there such thing as glamorous ghost stories -- "glost stories"?), you can customise your breakfast, pick a few fresh veggies from the organic garden or bike through nature. If you prefer something faster, ride an ATV. All of this while being surrounded by fantastic mountain views.
3199 MOUNTAIN CAMP
3199 Mountain Camp at Kanchanaburi is a seasonal camp with a different theme every year. Last year, they had a gypsy theme so the tents and everyone's outfits reflected that. This year's theme is "Shade of Paradise" and will kick off on Nov 20. The usual trappings you would expect from camping are here: nature, BBQs and even boats. But the one thing that sets 3199 Mountain Camp apart is the live music on the campground every Saturday to get the party going. Think of it as a cleaner, more comfortable and compact version of Coachella. Their cheapest package, which includes a tent that accommodates two with a buffet breakfast and dinner, is priced at B1,990 per night.
CAMPINESS CAMPING AND FARMSOOK
1013, Tambon Mae Win, Amphoe Mae Wang, Chiang Mai www.fb.com/Campiness 092-267-7873
Heading up north, Campiness is a viable destination for a distant escape from the urban jungle. Located in the mountainous, forested area of Chiang Mai, Campiness ("camp" and "happiness" combined), has different tents arranged on a grassy field surrounded by trees and, if the season is right, mountain mist that makes you feel as if you're in Silent Hill but in the country. You have the choice of residing in a tent on the ground, the smallest of which can accommodate two and is priced at B2,200 on a weekday low season. If you and your fam or buddies want one huge tent to yourselves, Campiness has you covered with the Family Canopy that houses eight people for B8,000 on a weekday low season (they've only got one of these so if you want it, book it now). For an "elevated" experience, a number of "TreeCamps", which are a tad more upscale than the on-the-ground counterparts, are priced at B3,500. All tents have private bathrooms so holes in the ground, fear not. They've got a farm-to-table breakfast where you can pick your veggies, eggs and mushrooms, and you can also order a BBQ set to cook at their designated areas (some tents have their own BBQ grills). You can also go ziplining and bamboo river-rafting, which are nearby. Don't worry, there's transportation that takes you to these locations.
CAMP CHIANG MAI
CAMP Chiang Mai is only open for a certain time of the year or "season" as they call it. The campground is lit up at night with stringed lights and the same goes with your tent. You have the choice of privacy with your special someone in a tent for two priced at B1,750 or if "the more the merrier" is your motto, a Gang tent for four is available at B4,200. Aside from taking in the peaceful sounds and sights (or more accurately, updating your social media with nature pics with hashtags like #peace and #tranquillity), you can also go ATV riding, ziplining and top it off with a BBQ at night.
PONGYANG JUNGLE COASTER AND ADVENTURE
There are those who camp because they want to relax, chill and escape the stress that city life brings. There are those however, who go camping for the sense of adventure, and if adventure is what you're after, then this is it. Hey, it's not called "Pongyang Jungle Coaster and Adventure" for nothing. You get the conventional camping experience here: tents are priced B1,500 for two with breakfast and breathtaking views. They've also got rooms but we're talking camping here. The Pongyang Jungle Coaster and Adventure, however, is a place to get your blood pumping. For starters, they're the home of Thailand's first jungle coaster where you can dip and wind through the... well, jungle at high speeds. But that's not all. You can fulfil your dreams of being an action star with their vertical drop, cruise above the trees with their 800m zip line, and a whole lot more in their many jungle stations. They've got two activities' packages to choose from priced at B2,000 and B2,200. What you can be sure of is that a stay in Pongyang Jungle Coaster and Adventure will be an adrenaline booster. g