An Adventurous Traveller's Guide to Thailand

Zip lining through the jungle canopy is a popular activity in the area around Chiang Mai
Zip lining through the jungle canopy is a popular activity in the area around Chiang Mai | © lucymaynard144 / Foap AB / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kelly Iverson
4 September 2021

Adrenaline junkies and adventure-seeking travellers should make their way to Thailand for a whole host of activities to choose from. Whether you want to explore unseen Thailand via bicycle or fly through its dense jungles from a zip line cable, there are plenty of ways to let out your inner adventurer while visiting the Land of Smiles.

You can now trek through the Thai jungle with Culture Trip as part of our 10-day trip to Northern Thailand – carefully planned by our team of travel experts and led by trusted local insiders to bring you a hassle-free, 100% authentic experience.

Get scuba certified

Thailand has some of the best diving sites in the entire world and getting scuba certified on one of Thailand’s many islands is incredibly cheap. With accommodation and meals oftentimes included in scuba certification packages, it’s no wonder many travelers specifically head to the Land of Smiles in hopes of exploring the deep blue sea. The best place to get a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification is in Koh Tao. There are dive shops all over the island, offering everything from beginner to advanced courses. Some of our favorites are Chic Divers, Ban’s Diving Resort and Koh Tao Easy Divers. Whether you’ve never been snorkelling or are an experienced diver, Koh Tao has the course for you.

Explore Thailand’s marine life by signing up for a diving course | © Ethan Daniels / Shutterstock

Trek through the Thai jungle

Thailand’s lush jungles are home to some of the best views, diverse flora and rare wildlife in Southeast Asia. It’s these three things that make Thailand a must-see destination for those who want to explore incredible jungle environments on foot. Some of the best places to go trekking include the popular city of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Sariang. You can do as little as a day’s trekking or be hiking through the mountains for weeks at a time, depending on your skill level and the company you decide to book with. Try Pooh Eco-Trekking for a truly ethical adventure, 8Adventures for a range of treks and Trekking Collective for an authentic, locally-led experience.

Wat Tham Pha Plong in the jungle near Chiang Dao in Chiang Mai province | © C.MALE / Alamy Stock Photo

Go zip lining in the North of Thailand

If you don’t feel like trekking through the jungle but still want to see it up close and personal, zip lining is the next best way to see Thailand’s greenery. There’s nothing like taking that initial step off a platform high in the air to fly through the jungle. This is one of the most exhilarating things to do while traveling in Thailand, with group tours and humorous guides sure to make your trip an unforgettable one. Some of our favorite zip lining companies include Flight of the Gibbon, Flying Hanuman and Treetop Tour.

The Jungle Flight zip line and forest canopy tour near Chiang Mai | © Greg Vaughn / Alamy Stock Photo

Stay overnight at a Muay Thai Camp

Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and to say the sport itself is intense would be an understatement. Every limb of a Muay Thai fighter is essentially transformed into a weapon. This popular sport has become a must-see attraction when visiting Thailand and many people buy tickets to sit ringside at one of these fierce fights. Those who are more adventurous can take this one step further by practicing the sport themselves. There are Muay Thai camps in northern, central and southern Thailand, as well as in cities including Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which offer overnight stays to study the sport more closely. For the best Muay Thai camps offering overnight accommodation in Thailand, we recommend Hua Hin Muay Thai Camp, Tiger Muay Thai, Singpatong Sitnumnoi Muay Thai Gym, Sumalee Boxing Gym and Sitmonchai Muay Thai Gym.

Two young Muay Thai fighters practice in the water | © siribao / Shutterstock

Cycle through the country

Whether you find yourself in the City of Angels or exploring the north of Thailand, there are many cycling routes that allow you to see the country in a much more intimate way than you ever could via motorcycle or car. While walking certainly lets you get up close and personal with your surroundings, you can cover greater distances on two wheels. Quiet, rural towns are relatively free of traffic and provide ample routes for cyclists to venture down. More urban areas, such as Bangkok or Phuket, have plenty of sois (streets) tucked in between crowded walkways, allowing you to see these cities and become much more familiar with their vibe.

Whatever city you find yourself in, be on the lookout for shops renting out bicycles. There are a plethora of bicycle tours you can go on, whether you want to see Thailand’s urban interiors or explore its most obscure, countryside villages. For some tour companies to get you started on cycling, try Thailand Treks, Grasshopper Adventure, SpiceRoads Cycle Tours and Kirch Cycling Tours.

A young man cycles along a bridge in Bang Krachao | © David Bokuchava / Alamy Stock Photo

Camp in a national park

You can camp in a number of national parks in Thailand. Try not to camp during the monsoon or wet season though, as that makes sleeping in a tent far less enjoyable! You can camp, or even stay in a bungalow, in one of our favorite parks, Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi. Another national park that recently opened up its green space for camping visitors is Phu Kradueng. We also recommend the beautiful parks of Kraeng Krachan, Doi Inthanon and Khao Yai, all of which allow visitors to camp overnight on their grounds. To be safe, be sure to book your campsite ahead of time.

A tourist tent in the mountains of Khao Yai National Park | © Parichart Thongmee / Alamy Stock Photo

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