Thailand has to be one of our all time favourite countries, especially for backpacking! The variety of things to do from delving head first into the rich culture to exploring the wild jungles and even the inside of an old jumbo jet.. there really is an adventure to be had for everyone! Here we’ve put together our list of the best adventurous things to do in Thailand for backpackers! Of course, it’s only a start! We could go on for days about this wonderful country but here are some of our highlights!
The Best Adventurous Things To Do in Thailand For Backpackers
Explore the Sensory Overload of the Floating Markets
Ok, on the surface shopping might not seem like the most adventurous activity in the world, but forget generic, homogenised mall, this is a whole new local Thai experience of shopping! Exploring the floating markets on one of the traditional Thai long boats, winding its way through the jungle of floating stalls and boats pedaling anything and everything is a whirlwind of colours, smells, sounds and sights. The Damnoen Saduak’s unique floating market makes for a great day trip from Bangkok where you can pick up some amazing unique souvenirs or sample some fresh local produce.
Experience Nature and Culture on a Trekking Tour
Trekking in the Thai jungle, especially in the mountainous regions of the northern area of the country around Chiang Mai is one of the best adventurous things to to in Thailand for backpackers. These treks, lasting anywhere between 1-5 days take you into the heart rural Thailand where you will walk for miles through dense jungle, bathe in incredible waterfalls, sleep in bamboo huts and discover some of the fascinating tribal cultures of the region. Trekking in Thailand is a great way to combine experiencing the beautiful nature and indigenous cultures of Thailand by getting off the beaten track .
Ziplining Through the Jungle and Support the Gibbons
Another fun way to experience the Thai jungle is to get up high in the trees and swing around like the local monkeys!! In Chiang Mai and Phuket the “Flight of the Gibbon” zipline combines an adrenaline ride through the treetops with conservation and protection of the local Gibbon population. Our Chiang Mai experience also combined visits to local communities and tea growing plantations too so not only is it fun but it supports the local communities of people and wildlife too!
Rent a Motorbike and Riding Up to Pai
One of the best adventurous things to to in Thailand for backpackers is to rent a scooter from Chiang Mai and ride up the 762 turn road up to Pai. Not only is the trip an intense and incredible experience on a bike but what greets you when you finally reach Pai is a hippy backpacker heaven. With endless rice paddies, waterfalls, smashed avocados and bamboo bungalows, Pai really has to be experienced to be believed. This tiny and unassuming village in the northern reaches of Thailand is a retreat from reality and pure escapism!
Thailand is home to many of the world’s remaining Asian elephants and a trip would not be complete without experiencing their beauty and majesty up close. Tortured for many years by various industries including tourism and logging the elephants of Thailand have had a rough time over the centuries they have existed here, but thankfully many more people are aware of their plight. Many of these abused and ill treated elephants are now housed at several sanctuaries across Thailand but centred mostly around Chiang mai. Here you can have ethical interactions with this incredible animals including bathing and feeding them as well as learning more about why they should never be ridden. For us just having the privilege of seeing these wonderful creatures up close was one of the most memorable experiences of Thailand and is one of the the best adventurous things to do in Thailand for backpackers.
NEVER RIDE ELEPHANTS!
Be sure to research your sanctuary well and never take any tours that promote riding elephants. They have to be broken and tortured in order to be ridden and as big as they are their frames and backs are not suitable for riding as it causes them excruciating pain.
Fitness and Yoga Retreats
Thailand is the perfect place to take some time out and learn about the ancient practice of Yoga. Whether you find yourself on a beach or in the jungle the laid back vibe of the Buddhist country makes it a perfect place for a fitness, yoga or well being camp. Backpacking can be exhausting both mentally and physically too and there is no better place to take some time to work on your well being. The Phuket fitness camp is a perfect place to learn and try out some of the well being and fitness regimes popular in Thailand. Backpacking isn’t just about cultural experience and having fun but for us it’s about learning how to implement elements of that culture into your lives and outlook to better yourself and this is a great example of that.
Go all Tomb Raider and Discover the Incredible Temples
Thailand is a country of temples, wherever you are in this mesmerising land there will be a ploom of incense gently floating into the sky and the distant chimes of the bells hanging from the temples walls. Buddhism truly perpetuates every element of life here and the stupas and colourful roof tiles of the temples dominate even the modern skyline of places like Bangkok. But one of the most fascinating places to visit is the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. Just a two hour train ride north of Bangkok the crumbling ruins of what was once the grand royal centre of Siam can be explored. With hints of Angkor Wat and Bagan about the place this is a similar experience not to be missed when travelling around South East Asia and is considerably less over run than Angkor too. Step back in time and explore not just the modern temples of Thailand but the ancient ruins taken over by nature.
Explore the Airplane Graveyard of Bangkok!
If you are feeling really adventurous then the outskirts of Bangkok hide an incredible secret! After riding the canal boats, an experience in itself, to the end of the line and walking through some of the more local neighbourhoods of Bangkok you will be greeted by the most peculiar sight… a jumbo jet cut in half in the middle of a field!! No you’re not seeing things, it really does exist and for a small pay out to the somewhat dodgy gypsy family living on the land you can explore a whole host of decommissioned planes, a truly surreal experience and one of the best adventurous things to do in Thailand for backpackers for sure!
This is just a start to all of Thailand’s beautiful and culturally rich attractions and activities for backpackers to experience! Of course, there is so much more to do and we could go on and on about this magnificent country! For the sheer amount of variety and experiences from culture, landscape, adventures, food and the wonderful people and easy transport all in an affordable package there is a reason backpackers flock here!
Have you visited? What Were Your Best Adventurous Things To Do in Thailand For Backpackers
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