Thailand boasts a diverse landscape from sea to jungle, with an array of outdoor activities to suit all fitness levels and interests. There are many ways to get out there and explore the mountainous countryside and tranquil islands, whether you do it on foot, underwater, or on the back of an elephant.
Hiking in Kaeng Krachan National Park
Thailand has no shortage of national parks, but the largest and one of the most beautiful is Kaen Krachan. You can tromp your way down paths circling lakes, waterfalls, and mountains, depending on your level of physical fitness and the amount of time you have. If you’ve taken cheap flights to Thailand with the mind to see Asian elephants in the wild, this is one of the few places to do it. A dizzying array of colourful birds and 57 mammals can also be found. Hikers who want to set up camp in the mountains may have to charter vehicles from the park headquarters, but many other sites can be reached on a day trip from Phetburi.
The Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea are teeming with sea life and rainbow-tinted coral reefs. Those wanting to get down in the water to make friends with the spritely fish can do so with scuba diving day trips and tours. Most of these originate in Phuket, but once you are you will find no shortage of scuba diving excursions. If you’re feeling bold, you can even swim with sharks.
Visitors with a hankering to get underground can take advantage of cave exploration opportunities. Some of these serve as Buddhist monasteries, such as the area around Tiger Cave Temple near Krabi, or the Mountain Cave Temple International Meditation Center. The Chiang Dao Nature Resort is home to some of the most notable and easily accessible caves, including the 2 km long Tham Ki Mi. To get to most of these it’s best to hire a guide or sign up for a caving tour, unless you have spelunking experience under your belt already.
If you weren’t lucky enough to spot elephants in the wild in Kaen Krachan, you can take a prearranged elephant ride. These may vary from short half hour tours around the elephant pen, to treks through the forest lasting several days. There are several options near Chiang Mai in particular, including the Maesa and Chiang Dao Elephant Camps.
With the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea lapping at the shore, you may be tempted to get out there and explore the water from the surface. Sea kayaking expeditions allow you to see a different side of Thailand, from the point of view of a vessel, while enjoying the warm sun and placid turquoise waves. There are numerous kayaking companies located in Phuket and around Krabi, which offer day trips as well as longer excursions. Some of these will take you to the fascinating sea caves at Ban Bho Tho and Phang Nga, which feature ancient cave paintings.
James writes for Skyscanner.net, a flight comparison site who compare flights to Bangkok and all over Asia. For more information about Skyscanner check out the Skyscanner flight search app for Facebook.
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