Lonely Planet Writer

Strict ticket limits will soon be in place to protect Thailand's national parks

Thailand plans to control the amount of people who can visit their national parks by placing strict limits on the amount of entry tickets sold.

Thailand's national parks could be under threat from too many tourists.
Phu Kradueng National Park Image by Plamuekwhan/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will soon phase out ticket sales at national park entrances, instead limiting them to online and in convenience stores. The department is currently developing a system that will allow a set amount of tickets to be sold. Once the number of visitors hits capacity, no more tickets will be issued until some people leave the park.

The plan is to roll the new system out to the most popular of Thailand’s national parks in the near future as they expect large numbers of visitors during the high season. The director-general told the Bangkok Post they were not concerned about a potential loss of revenue, instead focusing on conservation.

Khao Yai National Park is one of Thailand's most popular national parks.
Elephants in Khao Yai National Park. Image by Bigman365/Getty Images/iStockphoto

In addition to the new ticketing system, park rangers will also be trained in first aid and the Department plans to station ambulances at five of the most popular parks in case visitors fall ill or become injured. An estimated 13 million people visit Thailand’s national parks every year. There are 127 of parks in total and 50 will be upgraded by the end of 2016 with improved facilities and accommodation.

Limestone cliffs dominate landscape of Ao Phang-Nga.
Limestone cliffs dominate landscape of Ao Phang-Nga, one of Thailand’s national parks. Image by Catherine Sutherland/Lonely Planet

Recent research named Thailand one of the best countries in the world for protecting its unique wildlife. Earlier this year Thai officials banned visitors from four islands in Phuket and the Similan Islands Marine National Park in order to protect them from further environmental damage.