Adventure Awaits Hiking in Thailand Mountains
Exploring a country rich in culture, with endless beach options, and platefuls of decadent traditional cuisine… Many travelers to Thailand can’t be blamed for failing to look past the smoke and mirrors of modern tourism. Just beyond the surface of Thai nightlife, thrilling festivals, and hours baking on sandy beaches, adventure awaits hiking in Thailand!
Gifted by Mother Nature with some of the earth’s most magnificent peaks and valleys, the mountains of Thailand provide breathtaking vistas and natural wonders, as well as a healthy challenge for tourists with stamina to spare.
Six Hiking Experiences in Thailand’s Mountains
1 – Khao Pom, Ko Samui
Thailand’s most popular island destination also happens to be home to one of the country’s most delightful hiking regions, the Khao Pom mountain. Dressed lavishly in jungle wilds, the Khao Pom mountain is riddled with hiking trails, giving adventurers opportunity to explore the island in any given direction.
A roundtrip of Khao Pom takes the average hiker around 4 to 5 hours to complete, with extraordinary summit views of the surrounding jungle and ocean. Hikers can reward their efforts with a trip to Ko Samui’s local temple, Wat Phra Yai, where they can enjoy colorful sights and sounds, as well the spoils of the marketplace and food stalls.
2 – Kamphaeng Phet
Further inland lies the restful province of Kamphaeng Phet. Kamphaeng Phet is known for little more than it’s banana farming, its mountain ranges, and it’s deep and ancient historical sites.
The Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park lies sprawled across both sides of the rolling Ping River. The historical park protects numerous temple ruins in various states of preservation, and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the “Historic town of Sukhotai and associated historic towns.”
Although the hiking terrain itself is considered modest, and far less magnificent than Thailand’s other mountains, the ancient ruins make for a fascinating look into of some of the country’s ancient eras.
Weary hikers can reward their traversing with an affordable visit to the nearby Phra Ruang hot springs, which offers naturally-heated ground water reaching between 45 and 65 degrees Celsius.
3 – The Big Buddha, Phuket
Without having to stray far from civilization, tourists can take a partially urban hike from the popular Karon Beach, up to the world-famous Big Buddha. The enormous idol, coated in pristine white marble, towers over the region, attracting worshipers and tourists from miles all around.
The hike to The Big Buddha weaves through vine plantations and teasing ocean breezes. The narrowing trails are surprisingly tranquil, considering that the sacred site is one of the country’s most bustling tourist destinations. The views of the beach from The Big Buddha’s regal seat are truly idyllic, and as picture-worthy as the statue himself.
Following the leisurely hike to pay homage to the giant icon, travelers can wind their way down to enjoy a sunset cocktail on the popular sands of Karon Beach.
4 – Elephant Caretaker Village, Chiang Mai
Taking a short shuttle out of Chiang Mai, true nature-lovers can visit the Elephant Caretaker Village for a very special encounter with one of earth’s sacred creatures, the Asian Elephant. These gentle giants have been rescued from abuse and neglect, and given the gift of a peaceful life in the rolling forests of Chiang Mai and the surrounding Thailand mountains.
Visitors are welcomed to hike into the wilderness alongside a guide and elephants and to bathe with the gentle beasts in natural – and rather muddy! – watering holes. Elephant rides are not offered here, but visitors can participate in conservation efforts, such a re-greening the forests by planting new trees. (by special arrangement)
5 – Dragon Crest Trail, Krabi (Tab Kak Hang Nak)
The region of Krabi is a hiker’s dream, with terrain that is dressed in lush mangroves and colossal limestone karsts. Much of Krabi’s wilderness areas are also declared national parks, so hiking conditions are well controlled, with clear trails leading to breathtaking waterfalls, hot springs, glistening pools and even hidden caves to explore.
The Dragon Crest Trail, or Hang Nak Mountain Trail, is a popular Krabi hike for it’s spectacular vistas at the summit, where you can clearly see Krabi’s beaches and the valley below. This climb is a modest 3.7 kilometers to the top – about three hours for an average hiker – but provides endless reward with panoramic selfie opportunities all around! Apart from the gorgeous mountain-top views, the hike itself is a delightful climb past trickling streams and the occasional wildlife sighting.
If hiking Thailand’s mountains doesn’t finish you off, freshen up at your accommodation, and then join in for a world-famous Krabi Pub Crawl, to put the cherry on top of your Krabi adventure!
6 – Beach Hike, Anywhere on Thailand’s coast
While Thailand’s mountain parks are teeming with official trails, highlighted by peaks and valleys, and decorated with riverines and jungles, we’d definitely recommend kicking off heavy boots in favour of taking a stroll on any of Thailand’s endless beaches. With the ocean’s spray falling on your skin like dew, and sand exfoliating the feet, a gentle march along Thailand’s shore qualifies as both a workout, and a beauty therapy consultation.
End your beach hike with a sunset yoga session, whether a simple ten-minute farewell to the day, or an intense hour-long salute to the dipping sun.
Thailand is a Mountaineer’s Paradise
The beautiful thing about Thailand is that no matter where you decide to travel, the nearest mountain is never far. With it’s dramatic terrain, rolling and jagged, drenched in jungles and water features, Thailand’s mountains offer an adventure for any tourist, whether an experienced mountaineer, or a novice wanderer.
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