Adventure Travel Thailand: Something for EverybodyThailand is the most popular destination in South East Asia. It has magnificent islands and beaches in the south, and jungle and hill tribes in the North. In between are lots of temples, modern and ancient.
Although most tourists arrive here on a package tour, Bangkok is also the travel hub for independent travelers.
One might consider that Thailand is too crowded with tourists. But, that may have a reason. Thailand has the infrastructure, sights, tours, and friendliness to cater for almost anyone. And if you search well enough, you can find unspoiled places, too.
Bangkok, the Backpacker hubThailand, or rather its capital Bangkok, is the major hub for reaching the rest of south east asia.
But it's not only the strategic location, or the international airport that attracts the backpackers to come to Bangkok. It is also the unique backpacker environment of Khao San Road, the largest backpacker community in the world.
Here, there is a place for every backpacker. The young and wild choose the noisy Khao San Road itself, the more quiet ones move a few streets further, where the atmosphere is a bit more laid back, yet has enough activity.
While in Bangkok, waiting for your flight, or investigating where to go next, there are enough things to see and do.
The Floating Market, the Royal Boats, a Snake Farm, the Shopping Malls, and lots of Temples are just a few hot spots to consider when you're Sightseeing in Bangkok.
The Islands and the SouthWhen you go to Thailand to relax on the beach, there are a lot of islands to consider. Some of those have their own character, and attract a specific type of tourists. Others are big enough to accommodate tourists of all kinds.
Most adventure travelers want to avoid the big tourist crowds a bit, so it is better to go to one of the smaller islands.
A good choice is Ko Pha Ngan. This island is nice and quiet, but also features the Full Moon party each month, giving the party animals a chance to go wild.
Moving further South on the Peninsula, on the road to Malaysia, you will have to pass Hat Yai. This town is not very attractive, and you might want to consider to go to Songkla, a much nicer place at the coast.
The River Kwai and surroundingsWest of Bangkok, near the border with Myanmar, lies Kanchanaburi on the banks of the River Kwai. This area has historic significance because of the construction of the railway to Birma by prosoners of war in the Second World War.
The area is famous because of the Oscar winning movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai", about this era. And there are still a lot of remnants of the war here, like the bridge itself, a museum, the cemetery, and the Hellfire Pass.
But there is a lot more to see and do in the surrounding jungle. Many guesthouses organize tours of 2, 3 or more days visiting waterfalls, caves, and hot springs. And there are Elephants to ride, and Tigers to pet as well. On top of the cake, the acoommodation can be either a floating hut on the water, or a house in the trees.
Temples in the Historical ParksThailand is obviously full with temples to visit, both old and new. But those interested in old temple complexes have to go to the two former capitals of Siam, as Thailand was known in the past.
Not far North from Bangkok is the Historical Park of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was also the name of the kingdom which grew to the size of present day Thailand. The city was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, but the temple ruins are still worth a visit.
Further North is the Historic Park of Sukhotai. This once was the capital of a seperate kingdom, to be taken over by the kingdom of Ayutthaya.
The ruins in Sukhothai are better preserved than those in Ayutthaya, and the surroundings are more serene. It you can visit only one of the historic parks, choose this one.
Hill Tribe trekking in the NorthThe north of Thailand is famous for trekkings in the jungle, visiting different hill tribes. Especially the city of Chang Mai is very popular with the adventure travelers and backpackers.
And indeed, when you book a hill tribe trekking tour around Chang Mai, you will not be disappointed. And Chang Mai has interesting sights itself as well.
Yet, of you want to move a little off the beaten track, there are other options as well, like Chang Rai,
Nong Khai or more remote towns.
Adventure Travel offers in ThailandThailand is easy to travel on the off chance. But in the high season places are often full and you may want to book ahead. And if your time is limited, choose a good itinerary and book at a good organisation.
For your convenience, we have collected some of the best tours available on the web:
Culture House focuses on culture exchange and immersions, volunteering and work experiences, eco-tourism and leisure activities. You can compose your own program, with different building blocks for Adventure, Beach, Culture, Diving, Horseback riding, or Volunteer work. Their Hilltribe experience is off the beaten track, and so are all their other packages. You can also choose an Orientation module to learn all about Thai culture in a local village.
GAP Adventures has several good tours in the North of Thailand, visiting the hill tribes around Chang Mai and Chang Rai, and an Elephant Conservation center. They also have trips to Kanchanaburi and to the islands in the south. Check out their tours here.
Kumuka, one of the largest adventure travel experts in the world, has several tours in the different regions described above. They also have a tour ending with the Elephant Roudup Festival. You can find an overview of the Kumuka tours here.
Responsible Travel searches for inspriring holidays from different tour operators, often local. The common denominator is that the tours need to make a difference to the local people and/or the environment. Their selection of responsible tours in Thailand can be found here.
Do you want to Do Something Different?. Here is a collection of things to do in Thailand, mostly daytours are listed, handy if you already have accommodation.
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