Five memorable experiences in Thailand
Thailand is a hugely popular destination with backpackers, and for good reason! This Southeastern Asian nation is bursting with experiences to soak up on your travels. It's not all beaches either, whilst the white sand and crystal-clear waters are an undeniable attraction, there is so much more to Thailand than beach life.
It’s time to ditch the hammock (ok, maybe just for a few days) and explore everything that holidays to Thailand have to offer. These five memorable experiences offer a great place to start. Remember, adventure only happens outside of your comfort zone…
1. Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary
It’s really important that you do your research when it comes to excursions and activities involving animals. Many are out there to simply exploit animals and earn a quick buck from tourists. Avoid any ‘sanctuaries’ where animals are made to perform tricks and instead, seek out a truly authentic centre such as the Elephant Nature Park. Here you’ll be able to get up close to beautiful elephants who have been rescued and rehabilitated. Genuine sanctuaries such as this rely on visitors to keep afloat, and it’s a simply wonderful opportunity to visit Thailand’s national symbol in real life.
2. Explore ancient ruins and national parks
The diverse landscapes of Thailand are truly a sight to behold, and there are plenty of interesting national parks, World Heritage Sites and hikes to enjoy on your trip. Be sure to add Doi Inthanon National Park to your itinerary, this is a stunning park and home to Thailand’s highest peak. Other points of interest include Khao Yai National Park, Khao Sok National Park, and Sai Yok which features several breathtaking waterfalls and caves. If you’re seeking old ancient ruins, then a visit to Phanom Rung Historical Park, home to ruins dating from the 12th century should definitely be high on your list.
3. Enjoy the sunrise from a hot air balloon
Sunrise and sunset are when Thailand truly thrives! Why not enjoy the beautiful views of Thailand's parks, temples, and beaches from the sky? Chiang Mai offers several different hot air balloon experiences, float into the clouds as you gaze into the warm tones of the sun rising on a new day. The perfect romantic experience to enjoy with your partner, this will definitely be one for the Facebook photo album. Tours usually set off around 6am, yes, it's a little early but well worth getting out of bed for!
4. Splash around at Songkran festival
Celebrate the start of a New Year at Thailand’s Songkran festival, also known as the biggest organised water fight in the world! Prepare to get soaked with this traditional activity that is sure to give you a few laughs, and perhaps a transparent t-shirt. Both locals and tourists get involved in the exhilarating action, so expect the streets to be armed with water guns and hoses. Thai New Year is mid-April, so if you happen to visit around this time, just don't expect to come out dry!
5. Eat local produce at the floating market
The floating market is a must-do experience for all Thailand visitors, and the best way to enjoy delicious local produce. The Damnien Saduak floating market is a popular choice and packed with wooden boats selling fresh fruit and veggies. It’s loud, it’s colourful, and it’s definitely memorable. Makes a change from heading to your local Tesco, doesn’t it? Just be sure to head there early morning as the market gets very busy and crowded in the afternoon.
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