September sees Thailand at its greenest, and despite it being also the wettest month of the year, it is also a great time to get out and get active, or at least start planning one’s adventure holiday for next month when the sun comes out in force. There are plenty of adventure activities in the kingdom to keep one busy and full of adrenaline for months at a time and here is just a sample of the best:
Rock Out: Thailand is home to some of the best sport climbing in the world. Leading the way are the famed cliffs at Railey and Tonsai beaches, just outside of Krabi. Nowhere else in the world can one climb such outstanding and challenging routes in just a swimsuit while gazing out at the emerald waters of the Andaman just below. Best of all, one doesn’t even need to bring equipment, a climbing partner, or even know how to enjoy the thrills, as Railey is well stocked with ropes, harnesses, instructors, or even rope guns for a day if you know what you are doing but don’t have a friend. King Climbers has been guiding and bolting routes here since the beginning, and can show you the ropes.
Now beach weather on the Andaman in September is pretty wet, so if you are heading north and still want to climb, make sure to check out Crazy Horse Buttress in Chiang Mai. This area, in the beautiful Mae On valley 40km east of the city is home to a thriving rock climbing scene. The rock at Crazy Horse is limestone karst, a sharp and gripping rock formation, with a lot of vertical and overhanging bits of rock to challenge even the most devoted rock guru. Climbing grades range mostly in the 6b range (French scale), which are usually best for advanced beginners and intermediate level climbers, but with over 160 routes now established, there are climbs for all levels. The knowledgeable folks at Chiang Mai Rock Climbing have been leading routes here and developing the site into an international climbing paradise.
Get Wet: Naturally, Thailand is a mecca for water sports. Kayaking offers a fantastic way to get close to marine life and natural beauty, and there are many great locations to choose from, although the most calm and enjoyable conditions are to be found during the winter months. In the Andaman, one can go kayaking in the mangroves around Phanga Bay exploring various sea caves and tunnels. A bit further south near Krabi, one can go out to Koh Hong, which means “room” island, known for its secret passages leading into freshwater caves and lagoons, along with sheltered white sand beaches and minimal tourist traffic, perfect for paddling. For a true paddle experience, the natural marine park islands of Koh Adang and Koh Rawi just off of scenic Koh Lipe in the far south have some of Thailand’s most beautiful water and untouched spots. Further inland, if sea kayaking isn’t your thing, why not try an easy jaunt down the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, passing underneath the famous Railway Bridge on your way downstream.
If you find kayaking a bit too slow or want to head up north into the mountains, the rainy season is prime time for whitewater rafting. Grades tend to be Class III and IV for the most part, suitable for anyone going out with a trained rafting guide. The best rapids in the country are found on the Mae Taeng River near Chiang Mai, and the Mae Chan and Pai rivers also offer some exciting paddling. Asian Oasis runs rafting programs out of their eco resort and ethnic hill tribe adventure spot, The Lisu Lodge, Siam Rivers offer a variety of trips, and Flight of the Gibbon also gets you out and wet on the mighty Mae Taeng.
Get High: For the ultimate in adrenaline and adventure you might want to check out Flight of the Gibbon. Asia’s premier jungle experience consists of three kilometers of ziplines, which are strung high above the jungle canopy, allowing participants to experience nature at its heights, with great potential for wildlife spotting along with a huge buzz of excitement. There are abseils, down from tall trees, sky bridges, and plenty of platforms up high from which to enjoy the views. Well trained “sky rangers” ensure that the utmost safety standards are kept as well as being informative and entertaining guides and to keep your head from getting too far into the clouds. Flight of the Gibbon runs challenge courses and single or multi day zipline experiences from its beautiful facility bordering the Chompoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Chonburi, as well as from their northern location near Chiang Mai, where one can rock climb, mountain bike, or go rafting as part of the program.
Located at Flametree Restaurant in the Walking Street Plaza, Railay West Beach 194/5 Moo 5, Tambon Saithai Krabi 81000 Tel: (075) 662 096 (075) 819 466, (081) 787 8923 www.railay.com
Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures- Guiding/instruction as well as climbing trips for all levels 55/3 Ratchapakhinai Road
T.Phra Singh A.Muang
Chiang Mai 50200
Tel: (053) 207 102, (086) 911 1470
Kayaking & Rafting:
River Kwai Canoe and Travel Services 11 Mae Nam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi Tel: (087) 0019137
18/58 Rasnadusorn Rd
Phuket 83000 Tel: (076) 241519, 081 7974855 www.paddleasia.com
7th Floor, Nai Lert Tower, 2/4 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel: (02) 655 6545-8
17 Ratchawitee Road Prasing, Amphur Muang Chiang Mai, 50200 Tel: (089) 515-1917
Zip Line Adventures and more:
Flight of the Gibbon
Tel: 053 010 660, 089 970 5511 www.treetopasia.com/