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Outdoor Travel  and Day Tours 

Umphang bird watching & wildlife sanctuary

Thailand is also ideal for outdoor trips.
The variations of trekking and hiking tours in the limestone hills passing by dark rivers breaking through lush jungles and trekking through bamboo forests with elephants are enormous in southeast Asia. If you like to know more about outdoor adventure  culture and history visit the Bangkok National Museum .  

But what is also important in Thailand's outdoor areas you can afford it because here are relative cheap vacations available. Which, of course is primarily related to the fact that the average earnings are currently under $ 400.- per month and not trimmed to "high end". Summa suramum you can afford a decent vacation here especially since the flight prices have gone down enormously in recent years and yes the country functions quite good although the electricity is fluctuating a lot which creates problem sometimes.

One of my favorite spots (no beach) destination are the jungle hills  south of Mae Sot in the border area to Myanmar. When I went to Mae Sot a couple of years ago and saw some pictures of the place which is Umphang I immediately felt to travel there and have a couple of day trips with bird watching and rafting in the brown rivers which I did afterwards and since then I came back at least two times per year because the nature around with the waterfalls including the largest in Thailand is somehow magnetic it makes you come back and back again.

How to get to Umphang from Bangkok?
The best is to get to the Mor Chit bus terminal in Bangkok and take a bus to Tak from there take a van to Mae Sot  and change again to another minibus for Umphang cost all together about Baht 1000,- one way. It needs to stay overnight in Mae Sot.

Dont take a bus / van which runs into the night there are just too many accidents. There is no problem because of changing the car since the buses come and leave from the same terminal about every hour in Tak. To Mor Chit better be before 8 am (take the BTS / taxi) there are also direct big buses to Mae Sot from there, but no need because all coaches from Bangkok to Chiang Mai stop at Tak and it is easy to switch there. To stay overnight anywhere try the booking icon above that's the best available.

It would make sense to rent a scooter in Bangkok and do the trek in the wilderness on your own but be aware it is extremely dangerous to drive in Thailand not only here because everyone thinks he / she is the only driver in the universe and wont care about other. Actually when touring Umphang the wildlife sanctuary should be on your short list,

That makes Thailand the worst road travel accidents countries after Zimbabwe and Libya. Many people mix up the area around with Sangkhlaburi which is a small town in Kannchanaburi Province southeast from here.

But there are no roads linking which needs a 600 km detour via Tak and Mae Sot just check the Umphang Thailand

Other great mountain destinations in the region are here.

Thailand Vacation Deals

Travel via Tak
umphang rafting
Tak bus station
At the Tak bus station pictured here all buses between Bangkok and the northwest includding Chiang Mai and Sukhothai stop here there is no airport actually its not needed.
umphang trekking
Umphang Trekking
The wildlife refugee is ideal for trekking with all parameter it needs. Such as rivers waterfalls and wildlife in the jungle.

Start with a road trip from Mae Sot to Umphang

This is a roller coaster ride to the south along the border to Myanmar up and down steep valleys and ever winding roads just 

Passing Karen refugee villages at about half distance to finally reach this perfect place for trekking and rafting in the hilly tropical jungle. Rafting on the river and visiting one of the biggest waterfalls in Asia plus the wildlife sanctuary and more.

This is an ideal destination for holidays and to switch off the upper region to free mind and spirit when you like a similar environment but in the water Phang Nga Bay is also a top southeast Asia travel destination.
Thailand outdoor tourist places
No beaches only wild green nature for all kind of adventure trips such as trekking in the tropical jungle  hiking bamboo river rafting caving and other outdoor activities.

The Umphang wildlife refugee is located here in the wild mountain jungle wilderness of the border. Probably one of the best outdoor destination in the country but it is very difficult to reach since some self-declared "environmentalists" blocked the forestry department in Bangkok to extend the road from Kamphaeng Phet near Nakhon Sawan here are many places to visit with a similar environment Thailand travel has many ways.
The Mae Sot jungle trekking area is still quite untouched because the last skirmishes on the Myanmar side did not happen so long ago which means an ideal outdoor activities place. Although it is total peaceful on the Thai side some Karen groups still fight with the regular Myanmar army about upcoming things they don't like in the moment (2016). Currently, they can't agree how to blackmail the traveler and trucks between the border and Yangon. The regular army has many road blocks and on each everyone passing must pay the problem is the also several Karen groups want to "milk" the traveler. Before it was politics now it's materialistic.  

This is what the local people told me, that means an almost 500 km detour which naturally most people try to avoid the road down to the place is simply dangerous.  The thing is, more tourists would bring more money into the region and the local people would have a better living, now some misguided "greenies" block their fellow countrymen to have a better living. Not much wildlife is visible but with the right gear (see the ads below) interresting perspectives are visible.
Outdoor activities available are diverse such as trekking  rafting  visiting waterfalls and more.  Often people mistake the place up with Doi-Inthanon Pai Mae-Hong-Son Mae-Sariang and Khao-Sok but all this has nothing to do with it, that's at totally different locations hundreds of kilometers away elsewhere.

Kayaking & canoeing plus elephant trekking is available almost everywhere Actually Thailand travel has many varieties. Rock Climbing is popular in Krabi province at the limestone cliffs of Ao Nang' s and Railay Beach east & west that's really spectacular. 

Taking a walk through wild Thailand such as here can enrich lives. It costs very little and has a great spiritual effect because it just makes everyone somehow happy. This is one of this places which makes sense to visit in Thailand because it shows that there are more destinations than beaches only in the country. Green nature spots and other places to visit are real attractions in Thailand.

Exploring caves in Thailand is very exciting but do it only with an experienced guide since from time to time flash floods are coming down and there is no escape and the adventure tour will be deadly. Although there ia no much wildlive at Umphang birding is interesting because of the border region where the nature was left alone for several decades of insurgency. One of the best rafting tours in southeast Asia is in the Umphang area only dont do it during monsoon time since that can get dangerous because of flash floods.



Rafting at Umphang

What will happen is visible on the video here . You can do the trip single or go with a group it is always filled with fun and adventure. Here is plenty of time to enjoy the scenic beauty as it unfolds around you in the pristine jungle environment.
Most activities are soft outdoor adventure 
Photos of Rafting
Keep one thing in mind since adventure tours are often touching the risk zone think first if there is a risk.

Even when the guide tells "no problem" most Thais always say "no problem" when they sniff money but very often they do not think enough this is very relevant ob this kind of tourist places.

The last time I remember was in a flash flood case during a caving trip in Khao Sok national park when a few people died just because of pure careless behavior. 

Aso sign posts etc. are often not correct means you get stranded especially when you are without a guide. The best is to take a guide from the National Park HQ of that place it cost almost nothing so it's not worth to play "Indiana Jones".
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Namtok Pha Charoen

The Tee Lor Su Waterfall (right) & Namtok Pha Charoen Waterfall (left)

Namtok Tee Lor Su Waterfall
The first beautiful waterfall when coming down from Mae Sot is Namtok Pha Charoen and the area around was proclaimed a national park on November 8, 1994, covering a total area of approximately 855 square km. 

This is a limestone waterfall originating from the flow of a creek into the lake before cascading down 97 levels. It runs all year round and is most beautiful towards the end of the rainy season (about December). This is the largest waterfall in Thailand.

The Namtok Tee Lor Su is located in the Wildlife Sanctuary and has no Address because the jungle has no address but it is the largest waterfall.

Mae La Karen Refugee village before north of Umphang
Beyond the first "waterfall" come a few Karen refugee villages to the right is "Mae La" from where a lot of them found a new home in the USA. 

The second falls are the Thee lor su cascades.

The falls are pictured above right  that’s a cluster of several streams pouring their wet load down. All that is very close to the Myanmar border, the small village closely with has around 3,000 inhabitants, mainly Karen, Mon and Thais.

Almost all tourists come to this area for rafting, trekking, sightseeing and maybe some elephant rides. Sometimes there is a shortage of cash at the money changers / Banks.

An interesting place in the jungle with terraced paddy fields, banana groves, fruit plantations and Karen refugee villages / camps.
mae la refugee camp
If you want to know something about the real situation of the refugees take a river rafting tour, you will find that practically all people related to tourism are Myanmar's and tell you what's really going on not the biased UN and NGO stuff, they are all profiting out of this by financing through the EU taxpayer.

Umphang is a district in Tak province south of Mae Sot / Myawaddy a rough terrain with hills, forests, ever winding roads, caves, big and small river and small wildlife ideal for a jungle trek.

People around are mainly Karen

Myanmar Karen got some education including speaking English almost no Thais in that area speak it and usually has only rudimentary education that's the reason why the tour and hotel operator employ the guys from across the border. Coming to this remote area means outdoor adventure, the good news is, it's a peaceful environment. Don’t believe these media reports which constantly telling about fighting at the border, there is nothing they just make money with this. There is no fighting unless some Karen guys attack the Myanmar military which might respond to it, the real almost civil war has faded away already more than 10 years ago. Just enjoy the raw nature, do a hike, maybe some backpacking through the lush Thailand rain forests, but be aware don’t do it on your own, always take a guide with you, he or she are always Karen.

Raw nature & among other rafting adventure
Umphang elephant trek
After rather flat and hilly a green surrounding at the village limestone formations with spectacular beauty surrounds us, in silence, we glide downstream, the rapids are cutting the brown water after every bend new surprises.

The cold stream full of sediment drives the raft beside rapids and waves. Steep limestone walls, sharp bends, and a waterfall from time to time are a challenge for our guides.

Best elephant tours are through Karen hill villages along the river and visiting waterfalls.  

Umphang Rafting
Thailand Outdoor also means camping 
Thailand Myanmar Widerness Photos
Maybe this information will help you to avoid some painful experiences, and better enjoy your first few trips to become great outdoors.

A good idea would be, visit an outdoor shop and have a look around what kind of camping equipment and camping gear are on display, there is usually also somebody you can ask. After this basic orientation make a checklist.

Relative to your trip you need different camping equipment so it makes sense to do a little upfront planning. This way you will also quickly be able to separate things which are critical to your trip and maybe drop other gear which cost money but are not really needed.

Get familiar with your camping gear before you leave is very recomendable on a visit in Thailand.

If you have bought new equipment such as a new tent lights cooking and other gears try them out before you start your camping trip. Imagine trying to set up your new tent when it gets dark. This is basically also advisable for any new stuff you buy, try it out when you still have time to go shopping tomorrow and ask.

A very basic is to set up your tent before dark.

At least at this first day make sure to arrive at the campsite early enough to have enough daylight to set up your tent and other equipment. This will keep trouble away and keep in mind that in the forest it gets dark much earlier.
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Have fun with Thailand camping in wild outdoors.

Camping can be a really refreshing lift to life, but roughing it may not come without some sort of price means a "survival pack" wouldn't be bad. Adequate preparation is a must and may prevent your trip into the wilds from becoming a disaster.

Some idea on camping for fun in the outdoors but to be honest Umphang is a wild jungle territory spread over Thailand and Myanmar which is perfect safe when hiking arond maybe with a guide as some other places in southeast Asia but I would not recommend to do camping there its just to dangerous,

Good preparation and functioning campsites could be the difference from enjoying the trip or ending in disaster. First get a idea of the area you want to camp in. Look at the environment and available natural resources. The area you go to will determine what supplies and gear you will need to take with you.

When you know where you will be going on your camping outdoor trip you have to select the right tent. What type of tent you select will have a direct impact on how comfortable and dry you will be if it rains. 

If you want to have it more comfortable get a tent with windows, ventilation and waterproofing. After you purchased the tent, practice setting it up a couple of times, his will give you an idea of what tools you will need to take with you. 

This will also give you a idea about the handling and usage of your tent. You may also need to take some spare parts for the tent incase of breakage or damage to some parts. Certain outdoor equipment and outdoor gear you better take with you, no need for special survival equipment or survival gear when you are on a casual camping trip. 

For your outdoor camping a good camping sleeping bag is a real asset, check for a lightweight sleeping bag with some natural air exchange because if its not a good material you will easily start sweating.  

When you have your tent prepared look for the food you will take with you on your outdoor camping tour. What kind of food and drinks will you need on a daily basis? Will you preparing meals cold or hot? In general, pack some moor food for any emergency that may arise. Some snacks wont hurt either since you will need lot of energy on your trek.

Next what about the weather, is it cold, hot, wet, dusty or ? weather also can change suddenly. Pack appropriate outdoor clothing and look after good shoes, boots or sport shoes. If you go on your outdoor hike in a area where snake are use boots. Some good sunscreen is necessary when there is water, snow or beach around and get some bug repellant too.

A good emergency kit is as necessary as food and water on your trip. Some items to consider are: flashlight with extra batteries, a whistle, maybe cell phone, waterproof matches, bottled water, map and compass. A small wood cutting tool, maybe a small radio and according where you go trekking a bear pepper spray, better 2 cans, a knife with some attachments, a few meter nylon rope, and a first aid kit. The first aid kit should contain at a minimum sterile gauze, antiseptic wipes, adhesive strips and bandages, butterfly closures, scissors, pairs of disposable latex gloves, a snake-bite kit, alcohol and any prescribed medications that you may usually use. Since most Thai people wont think about tomorrow dont count on it that anyone has anything aroud for an emergency.

Always tell friends or family members where you are going and your expected time of return.
Some more ideas for a safe camping tour:
* Do not camp or hike alone.
* Do not leave your camping gear unattended.
* Put up your tent or your RV in a bigger area to avoid getting blocked in case of emergency.
* Carry a can or two of bear pepper spray when hiking.
* Tightly seal all food and garbage in a double layer plastic garbage bag and keep it high enough to keep the animals away.
* Avoid bright colors clothing, perfumes and aftershave cologne, this helps to keep the bugs away.
* Wear light colored clothing that covers your body and a hat to help protect you from ticks.
Have a look here for some camping and survival equipment that may fill your needs. Thank you for looking.

Always carry a emergency kit with you

A Elephant ride
A elephant ride is a typical short Thailand adventure tour and stick to what the guide tell you it happen every year that some tourists get killed when the elephant gets nervous,
Caving in Thailand 
Since the country has many limestone hills it is somehow perforated like an Emmenthaler Cheese and because of this caves are plenty large wide nderwater and also in the mangroves.
Trekking in Thailand
Thailand camping alternative
Thailand is ideal for trekking since there are no real high mountains but plenty of green vegetation around just use good schoes its often very slippery. Keep in mind the Bamboo jungle. Broken bamboo poles are sharp and think what happen when you fall into one of them
When on a tour in Thailand or Myanmar a good alternative idea to camping could be to find a monastery somewhere near (there are many it only needs to ask where) and try to stay there the people are very friendly usually without problem. When you leave dont forget a small donation keep in mind that Buddhist monasteries mainly live from donations.

Birdwatching and wildlife refugee

Around here the birding fever might get you infected and you will always find yourself looking for new viewing spots here are some tips where to find them.
This is a prime birding land, why? Where there are bugs beetles worms birds have happy days but as usual, sometimes it's difficult to see them which should not be a big problem with someone has a bit experience in birding.
Birdwatching Gear
Photos of Tak Province

Umphang wildlife sanctuary.

Camp out with local tribes (Karen) and see their lifestyles, their culture, food, and costumes. This is a real Thai adventure destination and is amazed by the raw mountain jungle nature the area around. There is a wildlife sanctuary south of the city and around there you will find the reason why adventure travel is so popular. You will experience something really different, with a different twist as what you’re life usually has to offer and birding.

This is a unique and exciting tour destination may not be for everyone since you need a good physical condition, but the outdoor adventure can be managed to a certain extent even for people who are not so fit or handicapped. There are a plenty of helping hands around who are pleased to help you for a little extra fee, since here almost everything is quite cheap, around $ 10,- can go a long way. The average income is around $ 7,- per day, sometimes even less. Also older people can try that out and have a marvelous time. The Umphang wildlife sanctuary is a exciting place for everyone.

Actually there is no much wildlife to see around except birds and elephants.

You too could be the one to head out on this adventure trip, there's nothing stopping you. The beaches are only about a day away; a adventure trip could easily be combined with a great southern beach vacation, but first enjoy this waterfall, the biggest in Asia. Around are also trails for mountain bikers of varying skills, or maybe do a quad tour or caving. Actually, it is very similar to Myanmar adventure travel .

For adventures, it is in an ideal setting right in the border wilderness with plenty of still virgin jungle areas, scenic rivers and the biggest waterfall in Asia plus river rafting, jungle trekking and everything around which is called outdoors, except beaches. Hidden in this remote area is a Thai gem in the wilderness, unfortunately, some environment fanatics in Bangkok did everything to block the forestry department to build a shortcut, now a detour of over 500 km is needed and the local people suffer because only very few traveler come because of this.

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  6. Hilly drive around Mae Sot Myawaddy
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Tags: Outdoor adventure tour Umphang Thailand