Thailand’s vast landscape changes from tropical beaches in the south with some of the world’s most diverse underwater landscapes, to flat farmlands in the central areas, and mountainous regions in the north and northeast. This is not to mention the fact that the Kingdom is also covered in rainforests and national parks which are home to over 260 mammal species including five species of monkey.
From the south to the north there is a different adventure to embark on, and so we have come up with this guide to give you the top 10 things to do to experience an adventurous Thailand.
We have not included elephant trekking, and that is simply because the practice is scientifically proven to damage their backs.
Therefore, we would like to discourage you from partaking in any elephant riding activities in Thailand for the sake of the elephant. However, after reading this guide, you will see that there is so much more to do than elephant riding.
1. Zip Lining
One of the most popular adventure activities in Thailand right now is adventure zip-lining. There are quite a few companies offering the chance to zip through forests 100 feet in the air on nothing but cable line and a harness.
Ziplining adventure companies can be found in Pattaya, Bangkok, and the north. However, if you are looking for adventure plus zip lining, then try heading north to the Flight of The Gibbon zipline facility in Chiang Mai. On their website they say, “immerse yourself in another world”, and that is exactly what you will do.
The rainforest in the north is literally breath-taking, the weather is cooler than anywhere else in Thailand making it perfect for a day out, and while you zip line under the shade of the trees you are likely to come face to face with endangered species such as exotic birds, monkeys and other wild animals.
Another aspect of the Chiang Mai facility that gives it its adventure allure is that along the way you will get to explore northern villages off the beaten track, visit a local restaurant or coffee shop, and really get a feel for Thailand’s rural lifestyle.
10-Day Island Hopping Tour around Eastern Thailand：
2. Liveaboard Diving in the Similan Islands
Thailand is well-known for its plethora of diving spots and attracts people from all over the world looking to get their PADI dive cert.
Now there may be some nice spots to dive, but anyone that has dived in all the spots in the Kingdom will tell you that there is nothing like the Similan Islands.
The variation of diving across the vast area the Similan islands cover is literally out of this world. From colourful coral reefs teeming with sea life to underwater landscapes that boast subterranean rocky gorges with cliff edges leading to deeper waters the Similan islands also offers a diverse diving experience.
If you book the 3 or 4-day liveaboard trips, then you will also be able to include shipwreck diving, cave exploration, and the possibility of spotting a whale shark.
3. Island Hopping In The South East
The southeast of Thailand seems to be the least advertised holiday destination, yet this is where you will find untouched beaches, the fewest number of tourists, and it is incredibly easy to find a beach all to yourself if you are adventurous enough.
While island hopping you will jump from Thai islands to Cambodian islands and back again – and all this adventure is VISA free check free so you will not need to forfeit your tourist VISA if you have one.
To begin your island-hopping adventure you would need to head to an island called Koh Chang. While exploring Koh Chang, you can plan your island-hopping adventure. If you visit all the islands in succession, between each one there is about a one-hour to one hour and a half journey.
- Koh Chang
- Koh Wai
- Koh Khlum (Uninhabited: take a day trip here)
- Koh Kood
- Koh Mak & Koh Kradet
- Koh Kut
- Koh Rang (Cambodia)
- Koh Rong (Cambodia)
- Koh Kong (Cambodia)
- Koh Damlaung (Uninhabited: take a day trip here)
- Koh Tang (Uninhabited: take a day trip here)
- Phu Quoc (Vietnam)
2-Week Thailand Getaway Tour for Couples：
4. Cycling Adventures
One of the best ways to see the countryside in Thailand is to hire a mountain bike and a tour guide.
Almost every province you visit has a mountain bike company with a set of pre-planned routes ranging from easy to difficult and a guide that will take you where you want to go.
The local guide will take you to waterfalls, national parks, viewpoints, temples, and if there are any zoos, crocodile parks, flower parks, snake farms and other tourist attractions in the area.
Some of the more adventurous bike tours offer zip lining and kayaking along the way. One place we recommend for advanced mountain bikers is Pai in the north of Thailand. The mountain biking in Pai is outrageously challenging. The north is also the perfect place for family bike rides in the countryside.
5. Rock Climbing
Both beginners and advanced rock climbers will be impressed with Thailand’s choice of rock-climbing spots.
If you fancy yourself as a climber, then you can begin by booking yourself into one of the many indoor rock-climbing artificial facilities available in Bangkok.
Once you are happy and confident you can then venture out to one of the real-life locations scattered all over the country.
Chiang Mai is an obvious starting point because of its mountainous landscape. However, don’t worry if you are not planning to go north because there is also rock climbing in Railey and Ton Sai.
You can book a hotel in Ao Nang, Krabi and then head out from here to the rock-climbing locations. Other places that offer rock climbing include Phucket and Koh Samui where you will be taken out to small uninhabited islands surrounded by crystal clear waters.
13-Day Essence of Thailand Tour:
If you are looking for an adrenalin rush that will last all day and probably the next, the skydiving will do it.
Thailand is not notorious for its sky diving adventures and so there are only a select few companies offering sky diving to tourists. Make sure to find a professional company that offers full sky diving certification courses or one-off tandem jumps whereby an instructor will be strapped to you as you jump.
7. Camping & Hiking Trips in Thailand
For some, the idea of camping in Thailand can be a little daunting considering the number of snakes and other insects that could potentially make their way into your tent!
However, if you go camping with a pro guide, then they know all the tricks and provide you with tents, so such instances are a rare occurrence.
Once you get your head around the wildlife, camping is one of the best adventure experiences you will have in the Land of Smiles.
The best places to camp are one of Thailand’s many national parks where you can get a 2 to 3 days trip trekking to waterfalls, hot pools, swamps, caves, as well as hidden temples, shrines, and religious sculptures.
Khao Yai National Park is one of the most popular places for campers while Thailand also has marine parks such as the Mu Koh Similan National Park in the Andaman Sea.
2-Week Thailand Getaway Tour for Couples：
8. Permaculture Adventure Trips
If you are looking for a place to learn survival, then Thailand has no shortage of permaculture resorts.
Now when we say resort, we mean a place where you will build your own mud hut to sleep in, wash, and cook using only what nature has to offer – well within reason anyway because there is a little cheating going on as there are shops nearby where you can buy freshwater and cooked meat, plus all these resorts have WiFi.
You can learn how to grow vegetables, fruit trees, forage for food, cook naturally, and live naturally. You will meet an entire community of likeminded individuals all of whom want to learn the Bear Grylls skills of living out in the wild without all the modern appliances.
9. White Water Rafting
Another adrenaline-fuelled adventure in Thailand is white water rafting.
White water rafting trips can last anything between 2 and 6 hours. You also have different levels of rapids to take which start at level one (Novice) and go up to level five (Expert).
If you take the lower level adventure, then you will have more time to take in the scenery as you paddle through dense rainforest, past bamboo camps, and spot some of Thailand’s most exotic wildlife.
Some of the places offering white water rafting are Pai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Nan, Loei, Phitsanulok, Saraburi, and Phang-nga.
8-Day Thailand West Coast Island Hopping Tour：
10. Explore Bangkok's Islands
Bangkok may be a large city, but it also has its very own islands. The two main ones are Bang Kra Jow and Koh Kret. Not many people actually know about them, and often tour companies will only take tourists to one or two locations within these islands and then whisk them off around other locations in Bangkok.
However, if you take the time to stop and explore these islands, then you will be amazed at just how many temples, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks there are.
It is a mystery as to why there are not more tour companies offering trips to these islands that allow you to see the whole island and how the locals connect with mainline city life in the busy streets of Bangkok surrounding them.
Our advice would be to head over by ferry from one of the many ports going to either of these islands, then hire a bike (about 50 baht per bike for an entire day).
You can then have a leisurely cycle around the island and stop at the Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu temples, check out the local floating markets, eat duck for 30 THB ($1) a dish, treat yourself to a refreshing coconut for 20 baht ($0.70c) while taking in what feels like an island resort in the south.
There are also options to stay on the island as there are quite a few homestay options, and more recently a few guesthouses have opened here.
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