If adrenaline is your thing then Thailand is a place where you can get your fix of adventure in graduated doses. Some would say that negotiating the Bangkok traffic on the way from the airport is adventure enough in itself, but if you want to put your experiences on a more organized footing there is no shortage of opportunity. Most developed resort areas on the coast offer bungee jumping, para-gliding, Jet skiing and water skiing. So flinging yourself from great heights or being blasted in to the air or across water at great speed can be easily achieved. Thailand also remains a veritable paradise for those who enjoy the world underwater, whether that’s diving, snorkeling or even submarining in Phuket. It is also a country rich in wilderness areas of mountains, forests and waterfalls which makes trekking big business in the north of the country.
The best season for trekking is between November and February when the weather is cool and the air is clear. Many operators in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Pai offer trekking tours. Often these will be run from guest houses and it’s worth asking around to find one that suits you. A trek usually lasts between three and five days and you will need good boots and a proper pack since the walking can be quite hard especially in the heat. The guide will usually take you through ethnic villages of Lisu, Karen, Meo, Akha and Paduang. All these tribes are different in dress, language and culture and most migrated to the mountainous areas of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam within the last century from China. Also included in a trek will be some rafting and maybe some elephant riding.
If the gentle rafting on a trek is not adventurous enough for you, many operators offer the white water variety. Pai is the best place to go for this and the tours are run from mid June to January when the rainy season raises the height of the water levels. When it comes to two wheeled travel Thailand offers some of the best touring and off road motorcycling in the world. The roads are excellent and pass through mountain scenery of breathtaking beauty. Infrastructure is good with plenty of guest houses and places to eat en route. You can either go on a tour or hire bikes on your own, Chiang Mai having by far the greatest variety on offer. It is important to be an experienced driver and this is doubly true for trail riding. Many operators run tours and to get the best from off-roading, or simply finding obscure routes, it is often better to go with a guide who knows the area.
For those who spurn engines then mountain biking is now really popular and there are many operators who run trips. Whether on the lakes and rivers of the north or the Andaman Sea in the south Kayaking is available in most tourist friendly places where there is water. Tours are even run down the Mekong River. In the south Krabi and Phang Nga provinces offer spectacular scenery with luminous seas dotted with soaring limestone outcrops.
For those who want to get airborne there are a number of ways you can do it. Ballooning is offered both in Chiang Mai and Pattaya between October and March. The views in the North are better than on the coast. Perhaps, whether it’s the sea, the mountains or the jungle, it is the wealth of natural beauty available in the national parks all over Thailand that make it so attractive to the outdoor enthusiast. From the heights of Doi Inthanon in the north to the maritime depths of Surin in the south there are 103 protected areas where you can enjoy an amazing variety of scenery and wildlife. Where ever you are in Thailand there is a wilderness of some sort near by.