Most people associate Thailand with tropical beaches, and rightly so — who doesn’t want to walk on hot soft sand barefoot before taking a dip in the clear water? I know I do. However, you may be looking for other things to do as it can be quite boring to get rid of sand from between your toes all vacation. Luckily, Thailand has a lot more to offer. How about:
1. Hiking in northern Thailand
Beautiful valleys north of Chiang Mai. Photo: worldexpeditions.com
Despite the fact that most tourists travel to southern Thailand, Chiang Mai in the north is perhaps the most beautiful city in Thailand. Surrounded by mostly jungle-covered mountains and valleys, hiking is hugely popular with many arranged trecking tours to choose from. How about the 5-day trekking tour to remote hill tribes with World Expeditions.
2. Going for a round of golf
Loch Palm Golf Club in Phuket. Photo: phuketgolf.net
Thailand boasts excellent golf courses developed by big names such as Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo. Phuket is one of the primary golf destinations in Thailand with resorts like Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort. As far as the best time of year for golf in Thailand, the high season (December – March) is lovely with many sunshine hours and light breezes.
3. Going on a sailing adventure
The five islands of Koh Haa. Poto: gadventures.com
Sailing across the Andaman Sea or the Gulf of Thailand is an adventure out of the ordinary. One of the best ways to explore the islands and hidden bays is via catamaran — something G Adventures are more than happy to provide you with.
4. Learn how to cook Thai-style
Silom Thai Cooking School. Photo: bangkokthaicooking.com
Cooking schools are becoming increasingly popular among tourists, and there are a whole lot of schools to choose from like Silom Thai Cooking School in Bangkok, where an instructor takes the students to a nearby market to purchase the ingredients needed.
5. Treat yourself to a spa and wellness day
Banyan Tree Spa. Photo: marinabaysands.com
Thailand is a world-famous destination for spa and wellness treatments and was voted World’s Best Spa Destination by World Spa Awards in 2015. If you want to combine a hotel stay with luxury-class spa in Bangkok, (who doesn’t want that after a long flight?) you should check out Banyan Tree Bangkok.
6. Visiting a national park
Haew Narok Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park. Photo: tontantravel.com.
There are 127 national parks in Thailand, many of them with tigers and elephants roaming free. The most famous national park is Khao Yai National Park with over 50 km trails of hiking. It is one of the best national parks for wildlife watching, and seeing wild elephants on the road — sometimes angry at the cars — is a relatively common sight.
7. Stay at a meditation temple
Wat Sriboonruang. Photo: templeretreatthailand.com
Meditation has become more and more popular to get rid of stress and anxiety, or just to increase concentration and creativity. There are many temples in Thailand offering everything from a 2-day Buddhism and meditation course to a month-long meditation retreat. Here’s a list of some retreats and courses in Thailand.
8. Sweat at a Muay Thai training camp
Suwit Muay Thai Camp. Photo: muaythaicampsthailand.com
Who doesn’t want to be Jean-Claude Van Damme for a moment and travel to Thailand to learn the art of Muay Thai? Whether you do it to avenge your brother or because it’s a fun thing to do, many gyms welcome you. Suwit Muay Thai Camp was the first Muay Thai camp in Phuket and has been around for over 25 years.
9. Hook that monster fish
Julian’s Golden Prize Carp. Photo: gillhamsfishingresorts.com
Would you like to catch a monster fish while on vacation in Thailand? Gillham’s Fishing Resorts in Krabi boasts a 12-acre lake stocked with 52 species from around the world including monsters like Arapaima 250 kg (560 lb), Mekong Catfish 135 kg (300 lb), and Chao Praya Catfish 70 kg (160 lb).
10. Exploring temple ruins
Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya.
Visiting temples in Thailand is a pretty obvious thing to do, but visiting temple ruins is a different story. One of the more famous is the UNESCO World Heritage site Ayutthaya Historical Park 80 km north of Bangkok. In 1767, the former capital Ayutthaya was almost completely destroyed during the Burmese invasion, and the ruins still stand today.