Land Of Smile, Country of sun, sand, sea, service… still looking for something extra? Here are some real-deal activities you can do in Thailand to test your outdoor skills.
Welcome to the towering limestone cliffs of your dreams. While there is established climbing all over the peninsula, the best and greatest concentration of routes is found on Tonsai, a cove just down from Railay West. This is also where you’ll find the climbing groups — both local and foreign.
Features: Famous for bolted sport climbing with challenging, overhanging routes and bouldering opportunities in caves, shorelines, and on the sea, stacks only reachable by boat (known as “deep water soloing”).
Best time to go: Visit from November through April.
Diving in Koh Tao
There is no doubt that Thailand boasts some of the most spectacular diving sites in the world, with famous paradise islands and scenic coastlines attracting millions of beach hoppers and professional divers each year. Thus, there are many places which offer diving courses so getting a scuba certification at an incredibly low price level should be noted on your list for Thailand. The best place to get a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification is in Koh Tao. You will find dive shops all over the island, offering everything from beginner to advanced courses.
Features: Wrecks, corals, tropical fish, warm water, killer visibility, and plenty of post-dive entertainment.
Best time to go: July through September for the best visibility.
Sailing the Andaman Sea from Phuket
Just offshore of Phuket lies some of the best cruising in the world. Plenty of boats-for-hire sit waiting in the marinas, ready to whisk you off on the trip of a lifetime. If the sailing bug gets you good, consider signing up for a lesson from Royal Yachting Association-certified captains who will show you the ropes (quite literally) over an afternoon or multi-day lesson.
For a multi-day adventure, inquire about trips to the rugged and untracked Tarutao National Marine Park. The idea of switching off the engine, hoisting sail, and letting Mother Nature do the work sounds like a dream come true.
Features: Calm and shallow seas along with reliable outfitters make finding a reputable boat easy. Everywhere your sail will be gorgeous. Two words: Uninhabited islands!
Best time to go: Avoid monsoon and book your boat between November and April.
Jungle trekking around the small town Pai
Northern Thailand is home to some of the best jungle treks in Southeast Asia, and the tranquil town of Pai is certainly the top choice. Pai is only about three hours drive from Chiang Mai. The area has scenic trails, stunning waterfalls and hot springs, and tasty local food. While Chiang Mai may put some pressure on your budget, Pai is the laid-back alternative, thus its popularity with backpackers and nature lovers for the last decades.
Features: Waterfalls, rivers, open grassy fields flanked by steep jungle mountains.
Best time to go: March is Pai’s most comfortable month to do trekking with cool weather and splendid views along the trails. The rainy season starts in May or June can also be a fantastic, tourist-free time to visit, as the rains bring out lush tropical foliage.
Exploring Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market
Although this market only opens on the weekend, shoppers still flock here for its super-diverse collections of merchandise. The 35-acre (68-rai) area of Chatuchak is where more than 8,000 market stalls can be found. On a typical weekend, the market welcomes more than 200,000 visitors. Everything you can think of can be found in Chatuchak, from handicrafts, clothing, ceramics, books to pets, plants and gardening tools, antiques and rare collectibles, and the list goes on. Don’t forget the “tea-masters” here, as the best bartender in the world may not impress you as much as they do. And Thai milk tea is super good!
Features: Great food, bargain prices, authentic goods, and sensory overload.
Best time to go: Every stall is open on Saturdays and Sundays (get there early — 9 am or so) but a few stay open all day long. Most vendors close shops around 6 pm.
Discover inside a Muay Thai camp
Watching a real Muay Thai battle for the first time is as nerve-wracking as it is mesmerizing. Your nerves are somehow pushed to the highest level of concentration when beholding how every Muay Thai fighter uses their body limbs as a weapon. You will realize why this sport has become so famous over the world and is now a “can’t-miss” Thai experience. If interested, you also can take this in a more adventurous way by practicing this sport yourself. There are Muay Thai camps in northern, central, and southern Thailand, as well as in big cities, basically anywhere in the country, which provide overnight stays to study the sport more closely. Staying overnight in one of these camps will surely give you the deepest look into this addictive sport.
Features: Get abs like those Spartans in 300 while also learning basic self-defense.
Best time to go: Anytime. This is a great activity for the rainy season.
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