Bushcraft – Pai-Northern Thailand

by kaiconfusion

About outdoor camping in the rainforest of Northern Thailand.
Learning self reliance and survival skills building and cooking with bamboo.

Our last two trips to Pulau Kapas and Taman Negara were a very long time ago so we were more then ready for the forest!
This time we headed out for a forest near the Permaculture farm Tacomepai near Pai in Northern Thailand.We went to the same places that we had gone to, for two days and one night for a survival training during our PDC course at Tacomepai in July this year.

bamboo lean to shelter


Our gear: two machetes, Bushcraft knife, small pot, crusader cup, two multifunctional ponchos, two water bottles, lighter, flint, blanket, cord, simple first aid kit, clothing, …
(more about gear HERE.)
Our provisions:
3Kg brown rice, 3Kg sticky rice, 250g peanuts, chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric, fermented soy crackers,   lemons, salt.

Wild edibles
: plenty of bamboo shoots

We spend 8 days in the forest building shelters, cooking with bamboo and enjoying the solitude and sublimity of the forest. It is rainy season in Northern Thailand in July so we had to expect a lot of rain…


first night

The first day we went really simple but had a nice fire going. On the first day we were accompanied by good friend Net originally from Bangkok though living and studying in Canada who also took the PDC course.

IMG_4454poncho shelter rainforest Thailandponcho shelter rainforest Thailand

2nd & 3rd night

Two nights we spend in the hut we had built at the Permaculture Design Course at Tacomepai.
The roof was leaking like hell. Good that we could patch them with our ponchos.

bamboo forest shelter hutbamboo forest house - survival shelter hutbamboo forest survival shelter hut

4th night

On that day we went for a longer hike so I only started building at around 4 p.m. I had to be quick and finished building
this shelter just before nightfall and in time of the really heavy rain this night so we stayed reasonably dry.

survival platform bed bamboo sheltersurvival platform bed sheltersurvival shelter raised bed

last 4 nights

After a night of heavy rain and the river we slept close by to, turned into a raging torrent we went looking for a spot
to stay until we had to leave the forest so we wouldn’t have to work so much everyday and make proper camp.
That day we had a lot of rain and the building went a little bit slower this time. Our stuff got wetter and wetter and with wetness comes cold all of which really challenged Kathies nerves…
So I again finished building before rainfall and managed to light a fire so we could sleep comfortably and start drying up.

IMG_4662IMG_4664IMG_4753outdoor survival lean to shelter raised plafrom bedIMG_4756outdoor survival lean to shelter raised plafrom bedIMG_4672 outdoor survival lean to shelter raised plafrom bedIMG_4656IMG_4757



It is not the best photograph in the world but it must do.
Most streams and rivers that are in constant flow and not
used by other humans or livestock further upstream from
your position, should be safe to drink. However it is always
better to go extra safe! There are several methods on how
to make water safe for drinking.
One of the most primitive ones which also doesn’t provide 100%
safety, is to simply dig a hole next to the water source.
Once you dig under the water level, the hole will fill with water
and be filtered through the sand and gravel that it seeps  through. You have to let it sit for a little while until it is clear and good to drink. Of course if the water is not contaminated it is the healthiest water there is straight from the forest! (more about water HERE.)


Fire is essential for being outdoors. It is giving us warmth, light and protection. With it we can cook our food and water and it dries us if got really wet. Of course in the rain season in a rain forest it can be hard to light a fire and just bringing a lighter but no knowledge about fire making won’t really help much. There are many tips and tricks on fire lighting much more in the FIRE page.
A few simple tricks are: – bringing a candle which you place under your tinder bundle,
– putting a wooden platform under your fireplace so the fire doesn’t touch the soil when you light it                                                                                 – collecting preferably dead standing wood which then has to be split up in various sizes, from tiny wood shavings to                                                   big split logs will assure you to have fire with some practise and experience.
The inside of dead would stay dry even in the rain and can therefore be lit in opposite to green living would which is full of water from the inside!

Food/ Cooking:

Whilst the PDC course at Tacomepai, we had the chance to go in the forest with some local elders which showed us
their traditional Bushcraft knowledge. The plants they eat and the ones they use for healing, how to use bamboo and many things more…
By going in the forest Kathie and I were able to practise some of the new skills that we had learned.
On the photos Kathie is weaving a sticky rice steamer from very fine split Bamboo pieces. The pot is also a piece of Bamboo. You have to cut a big size Bamboo and cut off two sections top and bottom closed. You then open one site and
carefully break a hole in the wall that separates the sections from each other. The bottom section is then filled with water and the woven rice steamer gets stuffed in the top . You then will it with sticky rice close it with green leaves and place right in the fire. Depending on how well your fire is burning the rice will be ready to serve!

IMG_4547survival cooking - rice steamed in bamboo potIMG_4548IMG_4549      IMG_4542IMG_4502survival cooking - rice steamed in bamboo pot survival cooking - rice steamed in bamboo pot IMG_4653
From our PDC days in the forest cooking with bamboo pots. Filled with water and sticky rice to steam over the fire.
No need for pots and pans!








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