Thailand is the number one backpacking destination in the world. Annually the country receives millions of adventurous travelers. Hardly a coincidence of course; Thailand offers so many possibilities that even people like us, who’ve seen so much of it, are a long way from claiming to have seen and done it all. Which is why we decided to make this awesome list of the 10 most fun outdoor activities in Thailand. Why don’t you join us?
1. Rock climbing at Tonsai Beach
Thailand’s most spectacular beaches are the ones at Railay in Krabi province. The impressive limestone rocks, stretching out hundreds of meters from beyond the surface of the water, are popular among rock climbers the world over. Ton Sai Beach is especially popular among adventurous backpackers that are interested in learning rock climbing or those who are looking for a slightly more challenging stay. Take private lessons on the beach or go Deep Water Soloing, a form of solo rock climbing that involves climbing cliffs above the water and without a rope. Don’t be surprised if you end staying here for more than a week…
2. JUMP JUMP!
Sure, there are lots of places where you can jump out of a plane at 4,000 meters altitude. But if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush during your Thai holidays, you can go skydiving at Thai Sky Adventures above Pattaya. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or if you’ve done it before. The staff speaks good English and the company adheres to western standard safety regulations. Unfortunately they also adhere to western prices. One jump can easily cost you 10,000 Thai Baht. But the experience is priceless!
3. Hiking through the jungle
With more than 120 National Parks, Thailand is rightly considered by many as a great place for adventurous jungle treks; something we highly recommend. We participated in several of them. Here’s a list of the most beautiful parks:
- Khao Sok National Park: with its breathtaking scenery, this is without a doubt Thailand’s most beautiful nature park. Stay the night in a cabin on the lake, spot some gibbons and explore caves.
- Thung Yai Naresuan National Park: only a handful of tourists know about this authentic part of Thailand. Go on a multiple day jungle hike and spend the night as a guest of one of the local tribes.
- Erawan National Park: the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand can be found near Kanchanaburi. Organize a day tour of your own and swim underneath one of many magical waterfalls.
- Khao Yai National Park: only a two hour drive from Bangkok is Thailand’s oldest national park; a great place for spotting wildlife like bats, crocodiles, wild elephants and the great hornbill.
4. Scuba diving & Snorkeling
Getting your PADI (diving certificate) in Thailand is about as easy as shopping at your local supermarket. Courses are offered all over and are particularly cheap, and popular, on Koh Tao.
Together with like-minded people you can earn your certificate in four days by taking the PADI Open Water course. Costs are about 10,000 baht and include theory lessons, exams, training in a swimming pool, technique training and four open water diving sessions where you’ll go as deep as 18 meters. The course concludes festively with the awarding of the certificates and dinner on the beach. Ban’s Diving Resort on Koh Tao is particularly highly regarded!
5. White water rafting
Before getting on the rubber boat and braving the Mae Taeng River alongside your tour guide, make sure you’re wearing a helmet and that you have a paddle. Only two hours north of Chiang Mai a day full of adventure awaits you. Tours provided by Siam River Adventures have an excellent reputation. Safety comes first, the tour guides are professional and speak English, transport is well organized and lunch is included in the price.
From July until March rafting tours are available every day. During the months of August until October Mae Taeng River has been known to burst its banks, making it too dangerous to go rafting.
6. Mountain biking in the mountainous north
As a loyal Go To Thailand reader, you may have picked up on the fact that we love the north of Thailand. The kind people, the culture and the mountainous landscape are unique. Riding through the mountains on your motorbike is a lot of fun, but if you prefer more of a physical challenge then renting a mountain bike might be a good option. Guided tours, on mountain bikes, of Chiang Rai’s highlights and surroundings are available.
7. Surf like a pro
Surfing in Thailand? That’s right! From April until November the beaches on western Phuket are deserted. For the average tourist it’s low season, but not for surfers! Kalim Beach, Kamala Beach, Kata Beach, Nai Harn Beach and Surin Beach are the surfing hotspots, with Surin Beach being the only one suitable for more experienced surfers. Rent a surfboard on the beach or take private lessons!
8. Ziplining through the jungle
YEEHAAAAAAAAAH! Float through the jungle, over tree tops and rice fields suspended on a cable, some of which are about 1 kilometer long. Expect two fun filled hours of jumping, climbing and trying to balance yourself! We did the Flight of the Gibbon and the Eagle Track Zipline. We especially recommend the latter in Chiang Mai!
9. Kayaking through the mangrove forest
Exploring the Thai coastline on your own is amazing! The best place to go kayaking on open sea is Phang Nga Bay, near Phuket. However, we prefer the lesser known Tha Lane Bay, near Ao Nang. The mangrove forest here is full of wildlife and spectacular rock formations, making it a great place for it. You can see an awful lot in a short space of time by kayak.
10. Caves, Waterfalls, Hot Springs and Canyons
If there’s one place in Thailand that offers the perfect conditions for participating in outdoor sports, it’s Pai. Pai has surprisingly much to offer adventurous people. There’s a huge number of waterfalls to visit that you can have all to yourself, but also impressive caves, Lod Cave being the most famous. And what about all the different hot springs? There’s also a big canyon where you can walk around for hours. Rent a motorbike and go on an adventure!