Planning the itinerary for your Thailand holiday is just as important as packing your suitcase or choosing the best airline to fly with. Thailand is a paradise for first-time travellers in Asia for many good reasons.
It’s tourist-friendly, it’s one of the best places to learn about Buddhist culture, infrastructure in Thailand is very developed, scrumptious food abounds, there are endless incredible beaches, and you’ll be able to pick from numerous activities depending on your travel style and preferences.
In this article, we’ll give you five suggestions for outdoor activities that will make your Thailand holidays extra special… so special that you’ll want to come back.
1. Hike In Northern Thailand
Thailand is well-known for its beaches, which are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia. But when in Thailand, don’t miss out the opportunity to explore a jungle or venture higher to the mountains. Apart from a great outdoor experience in a lush green wild nature, the landscape views are incredible.
We’ve taken a few hikes in northern Thailand, which are some of the best places to lace up your hiking boots and head into the wild. Keep in mind that hiking paths in Thailand are not marked, so you will need to hire a local guide who knows the area and its flora and fauna very well. That way you won’t get lost, and you will leave the Thai jungle as a jungle expert.
The places you should check out are the Doi Inthanon National Park, Pang Mapha district, the areas around the cities of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, or Kantchanaburi.
2. Explore Thailand On A Bike
There are definitely more scooters than bikes in Thailand, but don’t be discouraged to hop on two wheels without an engine. You can easily rent a bike in all big cities around Thailand and explore both urban and rural areas at your own pace.
Not confident enough to bike around independently? Then book a trip with an experienced guide who will take you on a day biking trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, or from the city of Chiang Mai to the green and serene village of Pai. Or if you prefer a higher altitude, consider biking up to Doi Inthanon in the north.
We biked through the Thai countryside near Chiang Mai passing by corn fields and ginger farms, local markets and sleepy villages, which was such a different experience compared to the busy urban streets of Chiang Mai.
For all the cross-country bike lovers, you might like to spend a day at the newly opened Downhill and Cross-Country Bike Park in Chiang Mai.
3. Discover The Incredible Underwater World
This will be a totally new world! Well, at least it was for us. We’ve taken a few islands hopping trips on the southern islands of Krabi and the remote island of Koh Rok near Koh Lanta, which have remained some of our top travel experiences.
New colours, shapes, textures, and such extraordinary breathtaking beauty. That’s what you’ll most probably feel when snorkelling in Thailand. The best spots to go for this unique adventure are Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Koh Surin, or Koh Tao.
Make sure you include a snorkelling experience in your itinerary in Thailand, otherwise you’ll miss out on saying ‘hi’ to Nemo here!
4. Visit An Elephant Sanctuary
The Thai elephant is a national symbol, and also one of the most popular animals of tourism in Thailand. You’ll find a plethora of tour operators inviting you for a riding trip through the jungle. This is what you should avoid at all costs.
Be a responsible traveller and look for a harmless encounter with the elephants. Do your research, find a trustworthy operator, which doesn’t offer elephant riding, but will let you bath them, feed them and learn about the elephants of Thailand. We can highly recommend the Elephant Nature Park or Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary.
5. Learn About The Unique Hill Tribes
The Thai culture is incredibly rich, and you could easily live in the country for years and there will be still so much to learn about their history and cultural peculiarities.
One of them is the community of Hill Tribes in the mountains near the Thai-Burmese border. There are tribes that live their lives secluded from any interaction with outsiders, which means it’d be difficult to find them since they live in remote mountain villages.
Some tribes are more willing to share their privacy, and host travellers in their modest bamboo bungalows for a fee. Supporting locals financially will help them to send their children to school, or to buy petrol so they can carry the crops on a motorbike from the rice fields to the villages. Respectful interaction will be the key to learn about these communities.
We visited the White Karen tribe with a local guide who made sure we didn’t cause a disturbance, and who gave us an insightful introduction to their lifestyle and culture.
The Bottom Line
The activities mentioned above are only a tiny part of the many, many outdoor activities you must try when visiting Thailand. The country also offers adventures for adrenaline junks like rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, rock climbing, cave exploring, you name it. All you have to do is be ready to have a great time.