Chiang Mai Jungle Trekking Experience

Chiang Mai jungle trekking

Chiang Mai Jungle Trekking

Many people are looking for Chiang Mai jungle trekking. “Chiang Mai jungle trekking” are keywords people type in on Google search engine. How do we define jungle and is there jungle in North Thailand? One of the most common meanings of jungle is “land overgrown with tangled vegetation at ground level, especially in the tropics”.

Chiang Mai Jungle Trekking
The jungles of Chaesorn National Park. Picture by Frans Betgem

This definition draws a distinction between primary forest and jungle. The under-storey of primary tropical forests is typically open of vegetation due to a lack of sunlight. Because of this it is relatively easy to traverse.  Reginald Le May described the forests of North Thailand in his book An Asian Arcady, published in 1925…..

“Overhead the branches of the giant trees met, shading us from the rays of the sun and keeping the air delightfully cool. The rippling stream, the small cascades tumbling over the rocks, and the song of the birds all combined to make us feel the joy of life, and our spirits respond to the brightness of the scene. Many have sung their hymns in praise of the forest life, but it is only those who have actually come under its spell that can realise the peculiar fascination and beauty of a tropical forest.”

Chiang Mai jungle trekking
Big trees near Mae Kampong village. Picture by Frans Betgem

The undergrowth in some areas of tropical forests can be restricted by poor penetration of sunlight to ground level. If the leaf canopy is destroyed or thinned, the ground beneath is soon colonized by a dense, tangled growth of vines, shrubs and small trees, called a jungle.  Where the primary forest has been opened through natural disturbance such as hurricanes, or through human activity such as logging, jungles may exist within, or at the borders of, tropical forests. The successional vegetation that springs up following such disturbance of rainforest or seasonal tropical forest is dense and impenetrable. This is called a ‘typical’ jungle.Tropical seasonal forests, such as in North Thailand, are commonly referred to as jungles of this type. Having a more open canopy than rainforests, seasonal forests may have denser under-storeys with numerous lianas and shrubs making movement difficult.

Jungle also typically forms along forest margins and along stream banks, once again due to the greater available light at ground level. The vegetation is sometimes sufficiently dense to hinder movement by humans, requiring that trekking guides cut their way through.

Chiang Mai jungle trekking
Jungle in North Thailand. Picture by Frans Betgem

Rainforest doesn’t have a dry season. Rainforest can be found close to the equator. The wettest forests in Thailand you can find in the deep south near the border of Malaysia.

The forests of North Thailand are seasonal forests. There are evergreen forests and so-called dry deciduous forests (forests that shed leaves) in the north. North Thailand has a long dry season that starts in the beginning of November and lasts until the beginning of May. It rains sometimes in the beginning of November and as early as during Songkran, the Buddhist New Year. Tropical rainforests are characterized by a warm and wet climate with no substantial dry season: typically found within 10 degrees north and south of the equator.

Some of the best areas to enjoy jungle trekking are Chaesorn, Doi Suthep/Doi Pui and Doi Inthanon National Parks. These parks support deciduous dipterocarp, mixed deciduous and bamboo deciduous forest and, at higher elevations, evergreen forest. Join us on one of Chiang Mai jungle trekking tours.

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