An incoming new year means a new you, and what better way to kick start your resolution than with a hike through some of Thailand’s most beautiful landscapes? Whether you are looking for something a bit more challenging or simply want to stroll somewhere without breaking a sweat, Bangkok has the trail for you. Here are the best hikes in and around the city.
Khao Yai National Park is about three hours or so outside of the city, and it is certainly worth the trip. This is Thailand’s first official national park, and it was even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is an abundance of hiking trails throughout the park, with one to three-day trekking trips available for those who really want to explore Thailand’s jungle. In addition to the treks, there are six hiking trails that tourists can venture down at any time. They range in distance and can be anywhere from two to eight kilometers in length. Tourists have to get permission from an officer working at the park before venturing down any one of these trails, however. Those looking for an easy, leisurely circuit should head down Kong Kaeow Nature Trail in Khao Yai, which begins at the Visitor’s Centre.
Located just under two hours from Bangkok is Nam Pha Pa Yai, near the historic city of Ayutthaya. In addition to hikers, it accommodates rock climbers and cyclists. Nam Pha Pa Yai is a great place to stay for a night or two, as it is home to a climber’s camp, equipped with naturalistic lodging options, including tents and tree houses.
Located about an hour and a half from Bangkok is Saraburi, one of the less visited provinces in Thailand. It is here hopeful hikers will find Khao Sam Lan National Park, a place that is home to mountains, valleys, and waterfalls just waiting to be explored. Sitting at about 330 meters high is the highest peak where visitors can hope to get a glimpse of the monkeys, pheasants, and birds that call this park home. It’s also home to seven waterfalls, some of which visitors are able to swim in. The waterfalls are intertwined with the hiking trails, which can take a few hours to walk in their entirety. The entrance fee is a quite respectable ฿100.
Kaeng Krachan National Park is the largest park in Thailand, and it is home to a variety of wildlife, from elephants to leopards all residing in its evergreen forests. Two rivers originate in this park, the Pran Buri and Phetchaburi, which are two of the main reasons the area is so full of wildlife. It is located along the border of Myanmar, so it is a bit of a hike (pun intended) from Bangkok – about a three-hour drive. This park is a good choice for those who enjoy bird watching, because this is often listed as the best bird watching location in Asia. Those who do not want to take on the national park solo can opt to hire a tour guide. Guided or not, you can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife, including gibbons and reptiles. The guided tours are about three days in length.
Krok E-Dok Waterfall in Saraburi takes home the prize of being both the highest and largest waterfall in central Thailand. Made up of seven different falls and standing at a whopping 700 meters high, the waterfall is certainly a spectacular sight and a great stop-off point for those who need a break from hiking in Thailand’s hot climate. The path is a bit overgrown and the entire hike is certainly a challenge, so hiring a tour guide can make the journey a bit easier to navigate. Those who hope to see this waterfall should be well-equipped to be on the trail for almost an entire day, if not longer.
From a stunning temple to a vibrant local market, there are several reasons to visit Ko Kret. This island is about 15 kilometers north of central Bangkok and is home to the oldest settlements of the Mon people. Because of this, your hike will consist of a number of noteworthy sights along the way. Instead of gibbons and elephants, those hiking the five-kilometer trail will find handmade terracotta pots among other man made wonders and, of course, peace and quiet. The local people live entirely different lives than those in Bangkok.
Many visitors go to Kanchanaburi for the history, while others go for the seven-tiered waterfall located just outside the city. Those hoping to hike will want to head to Erawan National Park but instead of diving into one of the shimmering blue lagoons, head to one of the few trails surrounding the water. The trails are limited, and chances of seeing wildlife are slim, as they do not take hikers deep into the jungle like in Khao Yai, for example. Regardless, Erawan National Park is a great place to spend the day, whether you are hiking, swimming or both.
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Those looking for an alternative and unique way to hike in Bangkok should head to Rock Domain Gym. The gym is home to some 1,100 square meters of climbing space, all of which is indoors, providing climbers a great escape from Bangkok’s often brutal heat. Unlike some of the other hiking destinations on our list, Rock Domain Gym is located closer to the city. This climbing haven is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.