Thailand has been known as a nature adventure destination by travelers since the seventies, when backpackers found a jungle travel tour north of the kingdom. Thailand now provides a variety of eco adventure recreation in all parts of the country.
The most popular treks in northern Thailand because of its natural beauty. Deep forests, rivers and waterfalls, hot springs, forested mountains and rice fields are dream sights for travelers. The northern part is also rich in cultural diversity with tribal villages which can be experienced by tourists during trekking. Thailand also offers several national parks and wildlife reserves throughout the country where treks can be arranged.
Pai and Chiang Mai are two destinations where many trips begin in northern Thailand. Many travel agents have treks for periods ranging from three days to one week. Each group consists of two to twelve trekkers and local English-speaking guides. German, French or Japanese guides must be ordered in advance if needed. An overnight stay is arranged in hill tribe villages in the dwellings, mostly bamboo huts. The food is cooked by a guide, with the help of travelers who want to learn to cook local food with Thai ingredients.
Umphang on the Burmese border near Mae Sot is also famous for its waterfalls. Ti-Lo-Su is the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia during the rainy season and offers beautiful views. Riding an elephant can be arranged for two days, including one night in the forest with pachyderms. In the first part of the Wa river, white water rafting can be enjoyed on a bamboo raft, while the second stage must be passed by a rubber boat to get to the Ti-Lo-Lee waterfall.
One amazing trip is a 3-day barge cruise between Bangkok and Ayuthaya where travelers experience stops along the bank of the river Chao Phraya to ride bicycles. That way, they can discover the rural villages with local factories, splendid temples and appetizing food markets. The visit of a school to meet Thai students in their classroom is a kind of experience too. The trip ends in Ayuthaya, former capital of Thailand from 1350 to 1767, where over four hundred temples and monasteries can be visited.
The south of Thailand has seen a growing number of visitors in the last twenty years, and has several national parks for eco-adventure trips. The exploration of Khao Sok, the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, which is located at one hundred fifty kilometers from Surrathani, is not to be missed. The park has extensive wildlife with elephants, tigers, leopards, bears and gaur in mountainous landscapes with limestone cliffs. Stay is arranged in tree-top houses and raft houses on the Khao Sok lake.
From trekking and riding elephants in Chiang Mai, bamboo rafting in Umphang, to riding bikes to rural and river cruises in Ayuthaya, Thailand has a nature adventure tour for anyone who wants to enjoy sports activities in a beautiful landscape.