A country known for its beautiful beaches, friendly locals and opulent Buddhist temples, Thailand is a popular travel destination for culture vultures or those looking for a little rest and relaxation during their vacation. There is another demographic however that is perfectly suited to the land of smiles and that is the adrenaline junkie.
Not far from the crowded beaches of Phuket, awaits isolated turquoise lagoons, an intricate network of caves just waiting to be explored and secluded beaches perfect for a night’s camping beneath the stars. The only caveat to reaching these beautiful locations? They are accessible only by kayak. From picturesque lakes to hidden lagoons, Thailand is home to a number of idyllic spots that are perfect for exploring by kayak.
The location close to Phuket is Phang Nga Bay, a relatively undiscovered spot that leads kayakers through the emerald waters of the Andaman Coast. En route, as travellers paddle through the waters, they will pass by rainforests and local wildlife – including monkeys, birds and lizards. A number of tour operators in the area offer excursions into the waters making the area accessible even for first time kayakers.
Those who want to avoid the tourist crowds can kayak independently or hire a private guide, and opt to venture towards the off the beaten path island of Koh Yao Noi – a peaceful and tranquil island in the middle of the bay.
If you have the opportunity to visit Phuket, consider taking a day trip to the nearby Khao Sok national park. With a man-made lake, gigantic limestone rock formations that jut out of the sea, and the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, the national park is a place of immense beauty. You could spend days here treading the various hiking trails and soaking up the scenery. For the adrenaline junkies however, this is a great place to canoe, or try inland rafting at the Cheow Lan lake.
Aside from the motorbikes and vespas that narrowly whizz past you while travelling in South East Asia, a popular way to get around Thailand is via bicycle. A number of tour operators offer “Thailand by bike” style tours. However with a little research and preparation, what’s to stop you from doing the same trip independently?
Essentially you could travel pretty much the entire length of Thailand via bicycle if you so wished. However, there are some areas that are more scenic and pleasant than others. Keen cyclists will enjoy the challenge presented to them by the Mae Hong Son hills loop. Departing from Chiang Mai, this route leads cyclists through the highest mountain peaks in Thailand and to the peak of Doi Inthanon – Thailand’s highest mountain.
A more pleasant and simple introductory trail is perhaps the Khao Yai wine trail where Cyclists can enjoy predominantly flat terrain, picturesque vineyards and a tipple or two of fresh local wine along the way.