A Getaway to Ob Khan National Park

Ob Khan National Park, Thailand.

Here's yet another place to escape the bustle of Chiang Mai: Ob Khan National Park, about 40 minutes to an hour from the old city. The drive is simple, and thankfully has a sign or two in English, and you'll know you're in the right place once you're surrounded by beautiful forests and rocky cliffs. Please take note that it is very difficult to find accurate directions online unless you can write in Thai, so I've had a little trek through Google Streetview and found the exact route to the park. Take a look at my Ob Khan National Park Directions map below:

View Ob Khan National Park Directions in a larger map

My boyfriend and I first found ourselves at the park to test out our new camping equipment, and soon we were coming back for longer stays and camping further into the wilderness. There's nothing better than setting up tent near a gentle stream, surrounded by bamboo trees and sandy pits to make your fires.

The first time we went, we tried to speak to a woman sitting in an office, although we weren't entirely sure what the office was for exactly, or who this woman was meant to be. After a long while of exchanging nonsense, which included us repeatedly pointing out our own tent and camping equipment, and her insisting we still needed to rent one, we paid her 50 Baht just to get out of there. To us, the conclusion was that there was no fee to camp at the park with your own gear, and sure enough, no one checked up on our whereabouts, or asked us for any more money during our stay.

On top of that, there is no entrance fee to this park, unlike many others, and nor is there a charge for parking. The bathroom facilities are better than others I've seen in Thailand, with hot showers that are kept very clean. There is also a small cafeteria-type place which sells Mama's noodles, crisps, and soft drinks, but doesn't provide any cooked meals. It really is just you and your foil-wrapped potatoes at this place, so don't forget to bring anything you might need. The convenient thing is that water and beer can be kept relatively cool by lodging them in between rocks in the stream. You can go off exploring at 10 am in the hot sun and come back in the cool evening to find your drinks are still cool themselves.

At Ob Khan, there are plenty of things to see and do during the day, if you ever get tired of just relaxing in nature. There is a pleasant trail which winds along next to the river, and there are quite a few isolated areas to picnic and swim along the way. There are also waterfalls, viewpoints, and a few interesting birds and creatures to spot. Also, the park is sort of like a hidden gem in the sense that it's usually quite empty. We've seen a camp of churchgoers there once, and another time there was a large group of Fine Art students from Chiang Mai University, who sat around quietly sketching the beauty of our surroundings. All in all, it's an undisturbed, peaceful place to waste away a few days, and come back to the city refreshed and revitalised.

A view of the river at the start of the nature trail.
Lost in the trees.
Alongside the river.
Late afternoon.
On the way back to camp.
A view of the same spot of river in the late afternoon.
Our fire as the moon rose.
Perfecting the art of cavemanship.
Relaxing outside the tent in the early morning.
A natural bamboo awning near our tent.
It was during the dry season at this time - still very beautiful.
A little bridge that led to our campsite.
Perfect for swimming.


  1. I cannot believe that such a short distance from the city you have this beautiful National Park: two questions? The journey took you and hour and 40 mins approx; was that by car or bus? When you go hiking, is it safe to leave all your stuff at the campsite?

  2. Hi there! No, we travel by motorbike here! There isn't really a local bus service in the city, let alone to places like Ob Khan which is not well-known. And on every camping trip we've undertaken in Thailand, we have never felt uneasy leaving our belongings at our campsite. Lovely!

  3. Thanks for that: good to know there are beautiful safe places and I find that motorbikes are quick and easy if you travel light.

  4. Is it really an 1 and 40 minutes away? My friends told me it was about 30 mins from the old city once, but ive never been able to find this place (haven't tried THAT hard though to be fair). I think I'll try again with your map! Thanks for posting this ;-)

  5. Hey there! If you're on the right route then yes, it becomes quite a bit longer with all the twists and turns, but it is also a typo, as it's meant to be 40 minutes to 1 hour. Thanks for pointing that out, and I hope you get there one day. It's a lovely place =)

  6. When the rainy season stops i'll get my ass over there i think ;-)

  7. Thanks for this great recommendation. My partner and I have been living in Chiang Mai now for 3 months and are always looking for new and exciting things to do. We went for the afternoon today and enjoyed hiking and swimming.