When is the best time time to visit Thailand's National Park's?
Every year I ponder this a little a more as the common view is that the best time is December, January and February. Indeed trekkers all over Thailand are all eagerly awaiting the winter season so their camping and trekking can begin. This annual pilgrimage to the forests by many is based on one factor in my opinion and that is because it is the cool season. But is it it the best time to visit a national park in Thailand?
Well not really. I should state at the outset that the best time depends on what you want to see, achieve or witness on your trip BUT if you want to witness the forests at their most magnificent then September, October and November are my choice every time. Why? Because the forests are at their verdant best, in full growth and with an abundance of food available for all the animals. It is also the time when the rivers, streams and waterfalls are in flow. Plant life is in a mad frenzy to put the conditions to full use and expand their species with amazing spurts of growth and colonization.
Some will say that its leech season also, but I would counter that December, January and Feb are tick season. Whilst leeches may be an annoyance they have never done me any harm. Ticks however have landed myself and a trekking buddy in hospital. Indeed one friend took 5 months to recover from a tick bite to the neck and had repeated hospital sessions.
My own experience of the dry season is that, unless you are sitting up by a water source, mammals and insects are much harder to find and tracks are hard to come by, identify or date. Deciduous forests drop their leaves and look stark and bare. The forest floor crackles under foot due to the dryness and effectively allows animals to know your presence and avoid you. Sweat bees will annoy the insect intolerant. The streams that give life to the forest are all but gone and dust is all that remains.
For me it has to be the wet season. It may be much more difficult to trek in the rainy season due to the weather and humidity but it is a much more rewarding experience when you get to value more the diversity and natural ecosystems at work in the forests, indeed the forests truly earn the mantle "jungle" at that time of year.
I am sat on my porch, staring at blue skies and a golden sun, warmly anticipating the joys that the dark and foreboding rain clouds of the wet season will bring. Another cycle of life to appreciate and enjoy.