I spent a lot of time in hiking in Thailand, and was often rewarded with some truly stunning views and amazing interactions with the local people. My favorite trails took me to enchanting hill tribes, sapphire blue waters, impossibly green valleys, and some of the tallest peaks in the country. Here are some of my recommendations when you want to strap on your hiking boots in Thailand.
Ban Ruam Mit
This relatively unexplored city lies right by the Kok River. Nearby hillside villages consist of multiple communities, but many of them are Karen. Although this area doesn’t get a massive amount of travelers like the neighboring city of Chiang Rai, many visitors like to make a visit to the Ruammit elephant camp. Ban Ruam Mit is located next to the river, and this makes it an ideal place to hike along with well-marked trails.
You can feel both thrilled and terrified at the same time on this daredevil hike. After driving to Khao No, you will be welcomed by a family of monkeys near Limestone Mountain. Make sure your hiking snacks are tucked away in your bag. Otherwise, you might find them missing by the end of the hike. There’s a steep climb with plenty of rest points if you need to take a break, and you’ll know you’re almost finished when you see a seated Buddha at the end of a stairway. Nights at Khao No also offer sightings of bats streaming out of their caves in hordes.
Mae Sa Valley
Chiang Mai is often called Thailand’s northern capital. Many people are attracted to its mellow vibe, temples, and delicious food. Venture beyond the city limits and there are a number of hikes worth checking out, as well. Mae Sa Valley is almost nine miles away from Chiang Mai, and it is often overlooked for other day trip destinations. With a botanic garden and waterfalls, this spot offers plenty to do and see as well as a decent hiking trail. Ignore the tourist attractions and head directly for the hike rambling through the valley. Plan on spending at least a day here and leave enough time for the drive back to Chiang Mai.
Kew Mae Pan, Chiang Mai
Kew Mae Pan is located in Doi Inthanon National Park. Known as “The Roof of Thailand,” this is a favorite among hikers. Grab your hiking boots and be ready to walk–the top is 2,220 meters above sea level. The path to reach the lookouts is a short, circular nature trail, which shouldn’t be too challenging for experienced hikers.
There are plenty of gorgeous views to keep you busy taking pictures. After you go near the waterfalls and thick forest, you’ll see open grassland with stunning, panoramic scenes of the mountains and a vast sea of clouds–it’s one of the most scenic areas in all of Thailand. Make sure you walk in single file for the rest of the hike–there’s a steep drop on one side and visit in December in order to see blooming, red azaleas. After completing the hike, take time to visit the Great Holy Relics Pagoda Nabhapolbhumisiri to see the outstanding structures at the summit.
Phu Thap Boek Mountain
If you want an easy hike with dazzling views, Phu Thap Boek Mountain is just what you dreamt for. This place rests in Phetchabun Province, and you can easily drive to this destination on a scooter or with a driver for hire. This mountain is especially famous for its amazing views, though it can be difficult to see anything in the morning because of a blanket of clouds. The best time to hike this trail is from December to January because of the stunning cherry trees that bloom on the hills. Camping is also an option if you are willing to rough it a bit!
Several Thai regions offer exceptional hiking with sandy beaches, elephant sanctuaries, and incredible street food. No reason not to get out and explore Thailand away from the main cities!
Have any hikes you would like to add to this list?