Beyond the beaches in Thailand: 6 top tips on finding adventure

Peel yourself off the sun lounger in Thailand to be rewarded with rainforests, secret islands, wild elephants and oodles of space for trekking, caving and kayaking…

Team Wanderlust
19 March 2020

Thailand’s sugar-sand beaches, lapped by clear water and shaded by palm trees are without a shadow of a doubt some of the most beautiful in the world. But if you peel yourself off that sun lounger, you’ll be rewarded with thick pockets of lush rainforest, undiscovered islands, the chance to see elephants in the wild and oodles of space for trekking, caving and kayaking.
Luckily, Flight Centre’s experts are on hand with some top tips on how to experience Thailand’s wilder side…



Khao Sok National Park

1. Harriet Jenner on Khao Sok National Park

Trek in Northern Thailand to meet hilltribes (Shutterstock)

Countries visited: 28
Favourite place: Bangkok
Top tip: If you want to see a side of Thailand far removed from the bright lights and bustle of Bangkok, then Khao Sok National Park in the south of the country is for you. Home to the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, here you can experience a truly untouched part of Thailand. Whether you’re kayaking down the Sok river, climbing mountains, exploring caves or seeking out rare wildlife, a trip here means you’ll be able to see Thailand at its most authentic and adventurous.


Discover Thailand’s quieter islands such as Koh Yao Yai (Shutterstock)

2. Jade Albert on trekking in Northern Thailand

Marvel at the waterfalls in Khao Yai National Park (Shutterstock)

Countries visited: 10
Favourite place: Chiang Mai
Top tip: To gain a real understanding of Thai culture and values, embark on a guided trek in Northern Thailand. This two-to-three day walk takes you well away from the typical tourist path, where you will visit hilltribes and be surrounded by jungle and the chatter of birds.
During the trek, you’ll pass wildlife such as monkeys, sleep in a traditional village and be treated to tasty, home-cooked meals – perfect for refuelling after a long day of walking.


Visit the spectacular Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai (Shutterstock)

3. Liz Cairns on hidden islands

Walk with elephants in Elephant Hills

Countries visited: 39
Favourite place:Krabi Province
Top tip: One of the best things about Thailand is that it is so easy to travel around, meaning you can see multiple places on a single trip. For example, if you’re in Krabi, it’s very easy to catch a boat from the mainland to explore the many islands that are scattered across the Andaman Sea.
Two of my favourites are Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. These mountainous, rugged islands are home to small fishing communities, a rainbow of birdlife, verdant views of the floating karsts and encourage a laid-back way of life.


4. Dawn Brown on Khao Yai National Park

Countries visited: 18
Favourite place: Bangkok
Top tip: Although only two hours from Bangkok, the rugged Khao Yai National Park seems a million miles away from the glittering capital.
Translating as ‘Big Mountain’ National Park, this 2,000 sq km mountainous green forest certainly lives up to its name. Spy a wide array of wildlife, from elephants to king cobras. Whizz across 50km of cycling track. Visit Khao Luk Chang Bat Cave to see millions of bats streaming out into the night sky. After a day of activity, cool off in the iconic Haew Suwat Waterfall, before spending the night in a forest bungalow under a starry sky.


5. Lucinda Hill on Chiang Rai

Countries visited: 21
Favourite place: Chiang Mai
Top tip: Chiang Rai – around a three-hour drive from Chiang Mai – is about as north as you can get before crossing the border into Laos and is a great location for culture seekers. With many temples strewn across the province, you could wander around them for days, but arguably the most spectacular of them all is Wat Rong Khun.
The crisp, white exterior of this place of worship sets it apart from the rest. On closer inspection – once you’ve crossed the bridge adorned with outstretched stone hands – you’ll discover that the walls are covered in thousands of shards of mirror that reflect the sun, giving the temple its alluring, heavenly glow.


6. Yohan Foong on Elephant Hills

Countries visited: 32
Favourite place: Phuket
Top tip: When seeing elephants it’s very important to do so responsibly. A great ethical option is Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park. This sanctuary is Thailand’s equivalent of Africa’s safari camps, where you will stay in a luxury rainforest tent surrounded by wildlife.
A stay here not only means you’ll be helping to protect the elephants that live here, but you will also learn about them and observe them in their natural habitat – a humbling experience to say the least.


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