Thailand Travel Guide


Thailand Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration

PureTravel Says: “Thailand's tourism industry continues to grow at an incredible rate, yet the country still manages to retain its culture and history with the ancient and modern existing in harmony side by side. There is opportunity to find virgin land in this country, adding spice and adventure to your holiday tour. From the Thai cuisine that is famous worldwide, to mountains studded with Stupas and forests, islands of limestone like those of the Andaman Sea, exotic tropical beaches and quiet tribal villages, Thailand offers them all. For the lovers of history, it is a land of great significance. Upholding their system of monarchy, Thailand has countless palaces and temples that can leave you bedazzled. The country is the perfect spot for a holiday destination, irrespective of whatever preferences you might have. From trekking to snorkelling and scuba diving along with places for meditation and facilities of eco-tourism, Thailand provides you with a platter of adventure that is as delightful as its cuisine.”

Holidays Highlights

Thailand shares land borders in the north with Burma, Laos in the north and eat and Cambodia in the east. To the south is the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia and to the far south lies Myanmar Burma.

Thailand shares maritime boundaries with Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand situated in the southeast and also with Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea on the southwest side.

Scuba Diving - Thailand is one of the best spots in the world for all scuba divers. With beautiful diving sites and crystal-clear water, Thailand also boasts of the best instructors, in multiple languages and great training rates. The best part is that a certification of diving from these institutes, affiliated with international dive schools, allows you to go diving to any scuba diving spot in the world. In the more famous of these diving sites, where water clarity is the maximum, you can find coral reefs, dolphins, manta rays, flying fish and even whale sharks, making the diving sessions even more interesting.

Snorkelling - With the brightly colored coral reefs submerged just under the water surface, Monkey Bay and Hin Klang are favourite snorkelling sites. Fish swim within just about an inch from the divers’ masks under the water and you can see a rainbow of colours of such fish darting near the water surface.

Walking & Trekking - Walking and trekking is a great activity for all ages and all abilities. The duration of treks can last from a single day to a week depending on your personal preferences. Trekking here is not only an adventurous and exhilarating experience but also a mind-soothing one because you get to witness the fresh green beauty of the Thai forests on your way uphill. Besides trekking on feet, Thailand also provides you with the option of Elephant Trekking.

White Water Rafting - White water rafting is a sport that has been gaining a lot of popularity in the northern regions of the country. This is most popular mainly after the monsoon, from June to October. This is a time when the rivers overflow with water and become the ideal conditions for white water rafting. However, some amount of rafting is also common in the central region of the country.

Rock Climbing - Rock climbing is also popular in central parts of the country like Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary are the best places to climb. Mountains running through Phetchaburi, Kanchanburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan have spectacular deposits of limestone and the climb can be a psychedelic experience.

Mountain Biking - Mountain biking has become one of the more adventurous yet relaxing sports among the youth. Thailand is great for biking because of its spectacularly preserved nature and wildlife. It offers a combination of excitement, exercise, knowing the Thai culture and a journey through history.

Wind Surfing - Thailand has become a great destination for wind surfing which is practiced and enjoyed on most of the beaches of the country like Krabi, Phuket and Samui. Wind surfing is exciting, exhilarating and a perfect sport for all the adventure seekers.

Island Tours - Taking a tour of the island cluster in Thailand from Krabi is a great way to enjoy both the ride and the marine flora and fauna. During the peak season, half-day tours are conducted to the Phra Nang Beach, Tap Island, Chicken Island and the Poda Island. There is also the added attraction of snorkelling off the islands and cliffs, overlooking the exotic marine life like sea anemones, clown fish and beautiful and unscathed corals.

Historical Tours - The best way to get to know this fascinating south-east Asian country is to witness the grandeur of the Thai kings and their palaces. The history of the land spreads from the North and the Northeast to the Central and South of the country.

When to Go

Thailand's monsoon season runs from July and lasts through to November and can be extremely uncomfortable and humid. The best time for a trip is between November and February when both the weather and the beaches are at their best. The waters also have maximum clarity during this time making scuba diving and snorkelling more fun. This is also the time for all the major Thai festivals.

Top Tips

- Use authorized guides for trekking and activity adventures.
- Opium is illegal and prohibited in Thailand.
- The mountains and forests are home to mosquitoes so ensure you carry mosquito repellent.
- If rock climbing rocks, it is advisable to have a guide accompanying you.
- Wear sun blocks while rock climbing as the strong sun can daze you and can prove to be dangerous.
- Do not go wind surfing in stormy weather.
- Always have life jackets on while wind surfing.

Holidays In Focus

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving is a popular activity in Koh Chang, Krabi and Koh Samui. According to scuba divers, findings prove that the water clarity in Koh Chang is as much as 65 meters on quiet days. In Koh Chang, Bang Boa is the most popular beach as a hopping port. It takes about an hour to ninety minutes to reach Hin Rap, Hin Luk Bat, Koh Gra, Koh Hai and Hin Kadung notably remain the best locations both in terms of clarity and profuse marine life. Koh Tao, Sail Rock and the National Marine Park are excellent spots for diving in Koh Samui. These are just a few minutes off from Samui and located in the Gulf of Thailand. The visibilities of these sites change with the season but in general, believably the Andaman Sea is best to dive during the period from October to April while May to September is the hottest period in the Gulf of Thailand.

Snorkelling

Witnessing the colorful coral reefs and breathtaking marine life on the water surface is definitely something you would not want to miss while in Thailand. Besides the Money Bay and Hin Klang, the Maya Bay, Pi Leh Bay, Phi Phi Don East Coast, Shark Point & Long Beach, Tonsai Bay Westside, Mosquito Island and the Bamboo Island are some stunning locations for snorkelling. While Maya Bay has exceptionally clear water, the Pi Leh Bay has a charm of its own with its surrounding cliffs. Phi Phi Don East Coast and Tonsai Bay have plenty of beaches where snorkelling just outside the shoreline can offer much excitement. The Shark Point is famous for housing a variety of fishes. Nevertheless, it gets dangerous during the swells prevalent May to October. Bamboo Island has corals all around while the Mosquito Island, remaining a little unexplored, has some snorkelling spot to its east.

Walking and Trekking

Besides trekking on foot in the areas of Chiang Rai, covering Amphoe Mae Suai, Amphoe Mueang and the banks of the Mae Kok River, elephant trekking offers enjoyment in Phuket or Koh Chang. In Koh Chang, basically, there are two well- defined trekking routes on the elephant back. The two routes are one to a pomelo orchard through a rubber plantation and the other to a valley in land and to the further north where visitors can give the elephants a bath while they get their souls drenched in the beauty of the Nag Yom Waterfalls. In Phuket, the trek on elephant back is really a part of the elephant conservation project that also allows you enjoy the safari tour and trek.

Rock Climbing

With some very renowned rock-climbing clubs like the Bangkok Rock Climbing Club and the Thailand Rock Climbing Federation, along with practice walls, rock climbing is more of a craze than just a hobby in Thailand. Besides spots like Prachuap Khiri Khan, Kanchanburi and Phetchaburi, there are also rocky cliffs on the Railway Beach in Krabi. This spot in fact is renowned among professional rock climbers and enthusiasts for providing over 7,000 routes for climbing and caves, overhangs and limestone cliffs for exploration. There are more of such rocks as we move on to the south and in to the cluster of islands. Chon Buri in the Eastern coast is also easily accessible and a good spot for such adventures.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking gives adrenaline rush and is at its best during the months of November to February in the hilly northern regions. There are companies who conduct special biking tours with experienced guides and vehicles carrying overnight equipment and food.

Island Hopping

Island tours are very common and the most interesting part of the island tour on speedboats is when you get to check out the Phra Nang Beach where you can find the abode of the Princess Cave, a shrine built according to the legend of the princess who bears lingams and phallic symbols of every possible size. Many of the tour conductors arrange for a couple of rounds of snorkelling during the tour.

Historical Tours

A walk through the streets of Chiang Mai can be an enriching experience. Gorgeous examples of Shah and Burmese architecture predominantly are visible in the Chang Phuak district while the ruins of the Khmer Empire from the 11th and 12th centuries remain in the northeastern parts of the country. The Prasat Hin PhiMai, which is the largest sandstone sanctuary in Thailand, boasts of a classic design from the Khmer age.

Moving to the central plains of the country, you may find the gates of the tallest Buddhist monument across the globe and the first preaching ground of Buddhism in Thailand, the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom. There are many historical parks like the Si Satchanalai, Lop Buri and Sukhothai, each of which has a different and a very interesting history attached to them. In the south, you can find the remains of the Srivijaya architecture from the 13th century. One of the must visit structures is the Phar Borom That Chaiya, which is in an absolute perfect structure, even to date. The Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Hua Wiang of Surat is also one of the most prominent architectures by the Srivijayas.

Classic Itineraries

- Trekking to the hills in the north, on foot or on elephant back, witnessing the beauty of the forests and the tribal villages in perfect sync with nature.
- Scuba diving in places like Koh Chang, Krabi and Koh Samui.
- Snorkelling in Money Bay, Hin Klang, the Maya Bay, Pi Leh Bay, Phi Phi Don East Coast, Shark Point & Long Beach, Tonsai Bay Westside, Mosquito Island and the Bamboo Island.
- Mountain Biking.
- White water rafting in the hilly rivers.
- Rock climbing on Prachuap Khiri Khan, Kanchanburi and Phetchaburi and the rocky cliffs of Railway Beach.
- Wind surfing on the beaches.
- Taking a historical tour across the country.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are a total of five World Heritage Sites in Thailand; three cultural and two natural properties;

- Historic City of Ayutthaya
- Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns
- Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries
- Ban Chiang Archaeological Site
- Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

Southeast Asia Travel Resources

Vietnam adventure travel guide
Cambodia adventure travel guide

By Julie Bowman

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