« Seven adventure activities to try in Thailand

Added June 28, 2012

Girls in a tuk tukThailand is a popular holiday destination for those who want to experience its tropical climate, lovely beaches and relaxed pace of life. However, the country has much more on offer, including a variety of adventure activities. Here is an overview of some of the most popular adventure activities available.

For any type of adventure activity, a certain level of fitness is required. Activities such as gentle sea canoeing or flat trekking require little previous experience, although general good health and fitness will help, especially in areas of higher altitude. For more strenuous activities such as rock climbing and white-water rafting, previous experience may be required as well as a good all-round standard of fitness and absence of medical issues.

For those looking to explore the hidden beauty of Phuket, there are a number of deserted islands and lagoons easily reached by kayak. Wildlife that can be spotted here includes monkeys and lizards. Kayaks in these areas are available for rental to experienced kayakers. For those with limited or no experience, kayaks can be rented along with a guide.

Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park provides the opportunity to explore its natural landscapes and emerald-green waters. Cheow Lan Lake is a man-made lake in the middle of the mountains and dense rainforest. Animals that can be found here include bears, leopards, elephants and water buffaloes. It is also home to the world's largest flower, the Rafflesia, that can grow to more than 80cm in diameter.

Mountain biking is another popular adventure activity. With many routes available, it is something anyone can do. There are opportunities to rent mountain bikes and you can choose to ride with a tour guide. Not only are these guides locals, but they are also able to perform emergency bike repairs and help with any other problems that can occur.

Mountain biking offers the chance to see the countryside and there is a variety of accommodation options, from hotels to staying with local families. The Pong Kon Sao Mountain Bike Trail is in Saraburi (around 120 km from Bangkok) and is one of the easier trails in Thailand, although there are some difficult sections.

The 1.2km descent on this course can be ridden in less than 90 seconds, but it is not a feat for the fainthearted. Although this area is known for its downhill racing, it is also good for general mountain biking and riders can explore the National Park.

Touring Thailand on foot is probably the best way to experience its landscape up close, however. The mountainous regions of northern Thailand are popular destinations for those looking to go on a trek. Here you can explore Doi Chiangdao, the country's third-highest mountain and the surrounding area that consists of jungle, wild rivers and waterfalls.

In southern Thailand, Kaho Sek National Park is home to the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. There are also many animals and trekkers may see tigers, leopards, gibbons, elephants and many others. For those looking for an activity that is more relaxing, then elephant trekking is growing in popularity.

There are many trained elephants available to take visitors through villages and forests. Some companies offer the chance to a book a long trek through the jungle. Elephant trekking can be combined with other activities such as mountain biking and it is available in a number of destinations, including Chiang Dao District, Mae Kok and Kanchanaburi.

Diving is another attraction for visitors to Thailand. The Andaman Sea is popular, as is the Gulf of Thailand. Off Koh Kraden Island there is the wreck of a Japanese destroyer and there is the opportunity to see large sea horses, giant morays and a wide selection of corals. Koh Ma is a shallow dive where you can view unusual fish such as the shrimp fish that hangs upside down in the water. As with other adventure activities, diving is available for everyone from beginners to fully certificated experienced divers.

Rock climbing is also popular. There are routes available for both beginners and more advanced climbers. In coastal regions, there are many routes available that start from the beaches and also islands such as those in Phra Nang Bay which provide opportunities for quieter climbs.

Railay and Tonsai are not only some of the most beautiful beaches in the world but they are also the best places to experience rock climbing. Located in the south-western province of Krabi, they offer guided climbing and also the opportunity for younger family members to get involved.

Rafting in Thailand is also available to anyone, from beginners to Level 5 advanced white-water rafters, especially during the rainy season of June to October. Pai River in Mae Hong Son is a famous route. Travelling from Ban Nam Kong, it takes around five hours to complete and goes through rainforests, waterfalls and fifteen sets of rapids.

Chaing Rai Province is another rafting destination and many enjoy travelling down the Mae Kok River. In Umphang District, the Huai Mae Klong is an attractive route, winding through jungle and a number of rapids. There is also the chance to raft from Thi Lo Su Waterfall.

With all of the adventure activities on offer, Thailand is not just a country to visit for its beaches. Booking a flight to Thailand also gives its visitors the opportunity to experience adventure in its seas, on its rivers, though its jungles and even on its mountains. Booking a flight to Thailand

Gaz Morris