For many travellers to Thailand, beyond the desire to be immersed in the culture, traditions and natural splendour of this south east Asian Kingdom is the drive to enjoy their preferred adventure sport. The beautiful yet unfamiliar surrounds enhancing the experience. All the adrenaline and action seekers out there will therefore be pleased to know that Thailand has a lot to offer.
Here are some of the more popular adventure sports to be enjoyed while travelling in Thailand.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Scuba diving is Thailand’s most popular water sport with the country a haven for divers – whatever their level of experience. Dive with whale sharks and manta rays, or simply take to the crystal clear waters and be mesmerised by the abundant and colourful ocean life. Explore the miles of coral reefs and dive a shipwreck or underwater cave – if experience allows. The east coast offers year round diving while the west coast is best between December and April. If you prefer to snorkel, that is always an option, or you could take your PADI accreditation course and stay on to get some hours under your belt. Popular locations include the renowned Similan Islands, Surin Islands, Hin Daeng, Hin Muan, Koh Tao and the blue waters off Koh Samui.
Mountain Biking and Cycling
Give conventional transport a skip and hit the road on two wheels. Mountain biking is extremely popular in Thailand and there are many different options from which to choose, from rides lasting only a few hours to full day excursions and overnight tours. Consider exploring bustling Bangkok on a three-hour bike tour for an in depth look at otherwise inaccessible parts of the amazing city.
Step into the wild and onto one of the unmarked trails of Thailand’s many national parks. The recommendation is that you allow at least a three-day trek to see mountain ridges, rainforests and experience camping in the beautiful Thai wilderness. There are English-speaking guide who can be booked to guide you and arrange all your food and camping needs. All you’ll need are good hiking shoes, extra dry socks, a sun hat, light waterproof jacket and a sense of adventure.
White Water Rafting at Kaeng Hin Poeng, Prachin BuriWhite Water Rafting
White water rafting in Thailand offers rapids ranging from level one to five. For an opportunity to maximise on the setting try a rafting expedition amongst rich tropical forest where wild animals roam free and rivers flow past bamboo camps. When considering where to go white water rafting, check on the class and level of rapids as well as the season, white water rafting is not available all year round. You can go rafting for as long as 6 hours or even do an overnight trip. Popular areas include Pai, Chiang Mai, Chumpon and other places in Northern Thailand.
Increasingly popular, you can enjoy kiteboarding in Thailand with the magical combination of wind, sunshine and waves easily found. Just one step ahead of wake-boarding, the controlled kite zips you around on the waves as though you are flying. The ideal times is between November and April with Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan of the most popular locations. If you’d like to learn to kite-surf there are numerous kite-surfing schools that will have you out on the water and confident within only three days.
As home to some of the best rock climbing in the world, adventure enthusiasts in the know annually make their pilgrimage to scale its massive iconic limestone cliffs. One of the motivations drawing them is the sheer variety of available rock climbing sites. From simple bouldering to challenging climbs over vertical cliffs, making it a rock-climbing destination that has something for everyone, whatever your level of experience. There are also a number of man-made walls in places like Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and other large cities if you’re still honing your skills.
Skydiving in Thailand
Perhaps not for everyone although certainly an activity that will draw the enthusiast to the skies for an aerial perspective, there are jump points in both Bangkok and Pattaya. Most of these companies are Western run, with safety the priority at all. Thai Sky Adventures situated near Nong Kho Reservoir offers tandem jumps as well as full certification courses and the option of simply going out for a fun jump. The weather in Thailand is consistently good, which means that generally speaking, you can go skydiving on any day of the year.
If you’re feeling brave visit the highest Bungy Jump in Thailand in Pattaya where an excellent team of jump masters will harness and guide you to this adrenalin peaking activity. Apart from this highest jump site, there are surprisingly plenty of other places where you can get your bungy fix – from Koh Samui to Phuket and Chiang Mai.
For a curated list of accredited adventure sport operators in Thailand, see Action Sport Asia.