Outdoor Recreation in Southern Thailand
By Miss Lollipop
Renowned as a country full of cultural and natural attractions, Thailand also offers great opportunities for outdoor and adventure activities. In particular, Southern Thailand is a narrow peninsula, flanked by the Andaman Sea on the west and the Gulf of Thailand on the east. It is blessed with warm, clear waters, tropical islands, white beaches, and lush jungles. It is thus a real paradise for all visitors who love to challenge themselves with outdoor activities. Besides, thanks to Thailandีs warm weather, you can enjoy water-sports and adventure activities such as white water rafting without shivering. Here we would like to introduce to you some interesting activities as follows:
The Andaman Sea is one of the world's most beautiful sailing destinations. Hundreds of islands, bays and lagoons, with crystal clear water, fabulous coral and white sandy beaches are waiting to welcome sailors. An annual event, the Phuket King's Cup Regatta is Asia's biggest and most popular regatta.
The rapid development of sailing activities in and around Phuket has been due to the natural beauty of the area, the warm climate throughout the year, the readiness of equipment and facilities for the sport, and countless other attractions in Phuket for the sailors. Yacht charter companies can be found at Chalong Bay, Patong Beach and in Phuket town. As there are many small islands off the coast of Krabi and Phang-nga provinces, they are ideal places for sailing too.
Canoeing & Kayaking
If you would like to be embraced in a tranquil atmosphere of pristine forests and the mirror-clear water, you should consider canoeing or kayaking as your choice. Canoeing is an eco-tourist activity which allows you to exercise while enjoying the natural beauty. Featuring many limestone rocks, caves and lagoons, Phang Nga Bay is one of the most popular sea kayaking and canoeing destinations in southern Thailand.
Recommended places are:
- Phang-nga: Ko Hong, Ko Phanak, Tham Lot at Phang Nga Bay
- Krabi: Tha Pom
- Surat Thani: Cheow Lan Lake
Snorkeling and scuba diving are the most popular activities in the Andaman Sea. There are many interesting snorkeling spots around its numerous islands. For sea lovers who canีt swim very well, snorkeling is a great way to enjoy the wonderful marine life. Some top snorkeling destinations are:
- Phuket: Similan Islands, Coral Island, Laem Ka Beach, Laem Sing Beach
- Krabi: Ko Lanta, Phi Phi islands
- Phang-nga: Surin Islands, Ko Tachai
- Surat Thani: Ko Tao
Being in the embrace of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, Thailand offers some of the best diving sites in the world. Its numerous islands are among the finest in the world and run all along the coastline. Most of the scuba diving destinations are on the west coast of the Andaman Sea. The most famous ones are the outstanding Similan and Surin Islands. They are world-renowned due to their crystal clear waters, colorful coral reefs and prolific marine life. On the east coast, in the gulf of Thailand, the best diving location is undoubtedly Ko Tao. Due to its favourable location and reliable infrastructure, Phuket has become the centre of diving activity of Thailand. Recommended places are as follows.
In the Andaman Area:
- North Andaman: Diving sites in Similan Islands National Park and Surin Islands National Park, Phang-nga Province
- South Andaman: Diving sites in Noppharat Thara-Phi Phi Islands National Park in Krabi, Lanta Islands National Park in Krabi, Tarutao National Park in Satun and the sea off Krabi and Phang-nga.
In the Gulf of Thailand:
- Upper Part: Diving sites in the sea off Chumphon, Tao Island and Pha-ngan Island.
- Lower Part: Diving sites around Kra and Losin islands
There are many rock climbing areas in Southern Thailand, and they offer routes for both beginners and expert climbers. Most climbing is centered round East Railay, Ton Sai and Phra Nang beaches in Krabi province, where there are dozens of routes within easy access from accommodations. Surrounded by the beautiful limestone cliffs, Railay Beach is the most popular rock climbing spot. Beginners can contact many operators to try a climb with instruction and climbing gear at reasonable rates.
Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani province is an amazing place. It features the ancient rainforest, limestone mountains, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, and clear river. Sok River is a best place to enjoy a bamboo raft ride. It is a splendid, relaxing way to enjoy the beautiful views of the river surrounded by lush vegetation. You can take it easy and let a local paddler take you to absorb the beautiful scenery of the luxuriant tropical rainforest and the river. The water is so clear and cool that you canีt resist jumping into it to swim.
Upon a visit to Thailand where elephants are in abundance, you should try elephant trekking. Riding on their back, the jumbos will carry you to climb hills, ford streams and lumber through the jungle. You can experience elephant trekking at several places but most elephant camps are located in the North. Recommended places in the South are Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani and Khao Lak -- Lamru National Park in Phang-nga. Anyway, there are many elephant camps in Phuket province that offer elephant trekking too.
Apart from these, you can enjoy many other sports and outdoor activities in Southern Thailand such as trekking, mountain biking, windsurfing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, and golf which are no less interesting. No matter what activity you choose to do, please collect further information and consult your travel agency who can arrange everything for you.