Khao Sok National Park – Stay on Floating Bungalows in Cheow Lan Lake

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is one of the best national parks in Thailand. It is located in Surat thani province, about 2 hours from Surat thani or 2.5 hours from Krabi. In the middle of Khao Sok is a huge manmade lake where you can take a Cheow Lan lake tour.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase or booking I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Why visit Khao Sok National Park?

The main reason to visit Khao Sok is because it is an area of natural beauty. The mountains and karsts and the turquoise lake make it a wonderful place to spend some time during your Thailand trip.

Thailand beautiful destinations nature
Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park after staying in floating bungalows on the lake

Where to stay in Khao Sok

There are two types of amazing accommodation in Khao Sok. One of them is to stay at floating bungalows on Cheow Lan lake and the other is to sleep in a treehouse just outside Khao Sok National park. Even better is to combine the two and spend a Khao Sok 2 day tour here. 

Khao Sok Floating Bungalows or Raft Houses

Khao Sok is home to floating bungalows on Cheow Lan lake where you can spend a night or two. The bungalows are floating on the lake, most of them are basic bungalows with a fan, a small bathroom and no electricity in the evening after 6pm. It is definitely worth spending a couple of days on and around the lake. On a clear night you can see the whole of the milky way because Khao Sok National Park is far from any big cities and light pollution. Most visitors stay at the Cheow Lan Lake floating bungalows as part of a Khao Sok overnight tour

photo of floating bungalows inside Khao Sok National Park
Our floating bungalows in Cheow Lan Lake

Khao Sok Treehouse Thailand

Khao Sok is also a great opportunity to stay in a treehouse. There are several options available around the edge of Khao Sok National Park. The most luxurious is Our Jungle treehouse (Agoda) or (Booking.com) which has big beautiful wooden decks and is a great place to spot monkeys from. For a slightly cheaper treehouse version that also offers a pool, then stay at Rock and Treehouse Resort (Agoda) or (Booking.com) which is also fun, a good place to spot monkeys and you can also organise your Khao Sok overnight tour from there. 

treehouse in Thailand near Khao Sok National Park
Staying in a treehouse in Thailand near Khao Sok

Compare prices on Agoda for treehouse in Thailand in Khao Sok by clicking the image below:

Things to Do in Khao Sok

There are many great Khao Sok activities and all of them include spending time in nature. 

Khao Sok Activities : Night Safari

For the more adventurous, take a night safari into Khao Sok National Park and spot sleeping monkeys, snakes, scorpions, deer and other nocturnal wildlife. 

Things to Do in Khao Sok National Park: Waterfalls

Another one of the fantastic Khao Sok activities you can do is Khao Sok trekking up a waterfall. The rocks are naturally ‘sticky’ so that you can walk directly up the waterfall, feeling the fresh, cool water and enjoying the views of the lake. 

waterfall photo in Khao Sok National Park
Top things to do in Khao Sok

Things to do in Khao Sok

Another really fun activity for the adventurous is to explore inside caves in Khao Sok National Park. You can do this as part of your Khao Sok overnight tour. You will have a guide and be given a head torch and taken inside a huge cave, climbing up through it spotting bats, spiders and snakes as you climb. The stalagmites and stalactites are very impressive inside the caves as well. 

photo of cave inside khao sok national park
View from the edge of the cave in Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok Activities : Wildlife Spotting

The Khao Sok overnight tour often offers activities such as an early morning boat ride to spot gibbons and listen to them calling to each other as well as a chance of diving fish eagles preying on freshwater fish inside the lake.  

Cheow Lan Lake – Swimming & Kayaking

From the floating bungalows or raft houses, you can jump in and swim in the warm, turquoise waters of Cheow Lan lake. A great Khao Sok activity is also to take a kayak and kayak around the edge of the lake, spotting monkeys, gibbons and hornbills as you go. 

Photo of Cheow Lan Lake
Views of Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Khao Sok Itinerary

Spend 2-3 days in Khao Sok spending time in a treehouse and an overnight on the floating bungalows. You can get to Khao Sok from Krabi or Surat thani. Khao Sok should definitely be on your Thailand destinations to visit and read here for more Thailand bucketlist ideas.

Getting to Khao Sok : Khao Sok to Surat thani

You can travel to Khao Sok from Surat thani so you can either fly into Surat thani or take a night train to the train station. Your treehouse accommodation can help arrange a transfer. Please note public transport is limited to Khao Sok and the edges of the park. Alternatively leave and head from Khao Sok to Surat thani airport or train station. It is best to organise transport through your accommodation. The journey is approximately two hours.

Leaving Khao Sok : Khao Sok to Krabi

From your Thailand treehouse accommodation or hotel in Khao Sok you can organise a shared minivan for approximately 300-350 baht to take you from Khao Sok to Krabi (Ao Nang) for beach time and to get to the Andaman islands. Alternatively you can arrange a private transfer through your Khao Sok treehouse or hotel. Alternatively take a transfer from Krabi into Khao Sok from Krabi airport. It is best to organise transport through your accommodation. The journey is approximately 2.5 hours.  For my Ao Nang Guide to Krabi read here.

Khao Yai National Park

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One of the best places to visit from Bangkok and experience nature and the jungle in Thailand is Khao Yai National Park. Situated about 2 hours North-East of Bangkok it is a great place to go for a weekend getaway from Bangkok. Khao Yai National Park is the oldest national park in Thailand, and one of the greatest. Home to a healthy population of wild elephants as well as hornbills, snakes, eagles, gibbons, macaques and deer, it is a fantastic place to visit for wildlife lovers. 

Spotting greater hornbills in Khao Yai National Park

How to Visit Khao Yai National Park

Visitors have two options when visiting Khao Yai National Park. Entering the park using your own transport or joining a wildlife tour which includes a hotel pick up. Using your own transport such as a car or motorbikes is great for people who enjoy freedom and travelling separately. However, if you want to see a lot of wildlife and be shown interesting species of flora and fauna then I recommend taking a wildlife tour. 

Khao Yai Things to Do

Bear in mind that Khao Yai is a whole area so there are other activities, outside of the national park to enjoy such as wine tours in a Khao Yai winery, strawberry picking, organic farms and many restaurants. 

Wildlife Tours of Khao Yai National Park

I thoroughly recommend Greenleaf Tours of Khao Yai National Park. They have fantastic, really knowledgeable guides who share their wisdom about nature with you. The Greenleaf tour includes a hotel pick up and drop off, transport during the day, lunch in the park and a hike inside jungle areas for a couple of hours. They can also do private tours which I have also done before when my parents visited Thailand and we didn’t want to do so much jungle trekking in Khao Yai. You can contact them via the Greenleaf Tours website here.

Photo of me inside Khao Yai National Park at a waterfall
On a Greenleaf tour to visit one of the many waterfalls inside Khao Yai National Park

Greenleaf Wildlife Tours

Be sure to ask Greenleaf Khao Yai tours about the bat cave Khao Yai viewing experience. You can go in the evening before your day trip into the park and it is definitely worth it! You can experience millions of bats flying out of their cave at sunset on nearby mountains which is a really magical experience. 

Khao Yai National Park Animals

Along with wild elephants you can regularly see gibbons, hornbills, eagles, snakes, spiders, monkeys and deer while trekking in Khao Yai National Park.  

For a close up experience of animals, consider visiting this amazing rescue centre for an ethical way to feed elephants and other animals. 

Wild elephants at Khao Yai National Park

The best place to see wild elephants in Thailand is in this park. If you would like the best ethical elephant experience then nothing beats seeing elephants in Thailand in the wild where they truly belong. Seeing wild elephants in Thailand is incredible and you have a really good chance of seeing elephants in Khao Yai National Park.   Wild elephants in Khao Yai is one of the best bucketlist Thailand experiences you can have. Read here for more Thailand bucketlist experiences. 

Wild Elephant in Khao Yai National Park

Camping in Khao Yai

The only places to go camping inside Khao Yai National Park are through the national park. At a very cheap rate you can hire tents, sleeping bags, mats and pillows and camp at designated campsites inside the park. Please note it is best to have your own transport when doing this. There is no need to book in advance, you can just ask at the visitor centre. 

Where to Stay in Khao Yai

For Khao Yai National Park accommodation, the only way to stay inside the actual park is to enjoy Khao Yai camping. All other accommodation is strung out along the road into the park which has a range of different tiers of accommodation from budget to luxury hotels in Khao Yai. 

Khao Yai Accommodation : Budget Hotels

There are some hostels and guesthouses nearby to the park. If doing a tour with Greenleaf they also offer some basic accommodation. I recommend Wynnhouse Khao Yai (Book it on Agoda here) for a cheap, clean double room about 20 minutes from the park entrance. 

 

Khao Yai Accommodation : Mid-range Accommodation

For Khao Yai mid-range accommodation I would recommend Botanica (Check out prices for Botanica Khao Yai on Agoda) or alternatively on Booking.com). They have a luscious pool area, great views of the mountains and lovely big rooms with balconies. 

 

Khao Yai Accommodation : Luxury Accommodation near Khao Yai

Khao Yai has a lot of luxury accommodation, some of it further from the park itself so be sure to look into travel times. Compare prices on Agoda for luxury hotels such as the Movenpick here.  

When to visit Khao Yai

The best time of year to visit Khao Yai National Park is during dry season. There are no leeches around so no need to wear leech socks and you have a better chance of spotting wildlife such as wild elephants in Thailand as they come out of the deeper jungle to use the watering holes and lakes. Dry season in this area is from November-April with April being the hottest month. 

Getting to Khao Yai

To get from Bangkok to Khao Yai, you can take a minivan from Ekkamai to Pak Chong. Some hotels will then offer a transfer from Pak Chong to their accommodation. If you are camping in Khao Yai National Park then rent your own transport in Pak Chong such as motorbikes and head into the park. 

Botanica balcony views

Khao Yai National Park Entrance Fees

Like all national parks in Thailand, there is a national park fee. At the time of writing it is 400 baht for foreign visitors, including work permit holders. In the past work permit holders in Thailand could pay Thai price for national park fees but that is no longer possible. Please note park fees are subject to change at any time. 

Bangkok to Khao Yai

To get to Khao Yai from Bangkok, it takes approximately two hours. You can hire your own transport to take you there or take a minivan from Ekkamai bus station. This makes Khao Yai the perfect weekend getaway from Bangkok. 

Deer in Khao Yai National Park

 

Best Local Island Maldives : Fuvahmulah Island

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Fuvahmulah Island

Fuvahmulah is an island and its own atoll, located in the South of the Maldives. The population is approximately 15,000 people and it is known as the only atoll to have one island.  Pronounced more like ‘formula’, it is a local island, not a resort island and therefore Maldivian laws and customs are more applicable here than in resort islands. As on all local islands, alcohol is prohibited and you cannot wear bikinis on the local beaches. However, Fuvahmulah locals are very relaxed and strict dress codes do not apply.  Fuvahmulah is not a well known tourist destination in the Maldives, although it is becoming increasingly popular for its dive sites and marine life.  

oceanic manta scsuba diving
Fuvahmulah – best local island in Maldives for scuba diving with oceanic manta rays

Fuvahmulah Dive Sites

Fuvahmulah is host to a huge range of marine life. In season, you can scuba dive with oceanic manta rays, thresher sharks, tiger sharks and whale sharks. It is also possible to see hammerhead sharks as well as other sharks like oceanic white tips and silver tips at different times of the year and depending how lucky you are. I feel we saw more megafauna in 3 days of diving than most people see in a lifetime.

Tiger Shark Diving Fuvahmulah

Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is famous. It is the best dive site to go tiger shark diving in Maldives. The tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah have been around for a long time. They are used to feeding on the fish carcasses that the fishermen throw off the edge of the harbour at the end of their fishing day. Local dive centres and liveaboards now take advantage of this and feed fish heads to the tiger sharks just before entering the water.

Fuvahmulah Tiger Shark Dive

The ‘tiger zoo’ as the harbour dive site is nicknamed is not without its controversy. Some locals are angered at how this dive site now means that children cannot learn to swim in the safe area near the harbour as they had traditionally always done. Fuvahmulah has strong currents and big waves and other areas are not particularly safe to swim for beginners or young children.

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah


Fuvahmulah Accommodation

Because it is not a well-developed tourist destination, Fuvahmulah hotels are limited although it is a growing industry. I thoroughly recommend this Fuvahmulah guesthouse that we stayed in. Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah is clean, spacious and the staff are very helful (click here to view Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah on Agoda). Ask your Fuvahmulah dive centre for a pick up as it is a short truck ride to the harbour.

Fuvahmulah Diving – Fuvahmulah Dive Centre

There is a well known dive centre called Fuvahmulah Dive School (FDS) who we considering going with as we had many good recommendations. However, we chose Fuvahmulah Tiger Dive as we booked through a local friend and got very cheap dives because of this. One thing I recommend is asking if the dive school gets big group bookings. Some of the diving can be with big groups of Chinese or Indian divers and you may be expected to join dives with one of these large groups. We travelled as a group of 6 divers and therefore requested our own dive guide which was perfect for us. 


Cost of Diving in Fuvahmulah

Fuvahmulah is one of the cheapest places for budget diving in the Maldives – which makes no sense because the diving is so incredible! Expect to pay upwards from $40 per dive depending on how many dives you are planning to do and if you have your own equipment. As usual with diving packages, the more dives you book, the cheaper the cost of diving.  It is also possible to book Maldives diving package deals, with flights, accommodation and diving all organised for you. However, it is cheaper to book flights, accommodation and diving separately. It is also cheap to dive and travel to Fuvahmulah if you have a Maldives work permit as there are big discounts available.

How to travel to Fuvahmulah from Male, Maldives

Fuvahmulah island is located in the deep South of the Maldives, so you can fly to Fuvahmulah from Male, the capital. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes. At the time of writing, two airlines with a few flights a day fly from Male to Fuvahmulah. While the diving can be cheap, the flights aren’t always so compare different airlines to find a better rate, try Maldivian airline and Fly Me and Manta Air.


Best Dive Site in the Maldives

We spent most of our 8 dives on the same plateau, a dive site called Farikede, about 15 minutes from the harbour by dive boat. In terms of the marine life, it must be one of the best dive sites in the Maldives. We had approximately 30 oceanic manta ray sightings, 26 of which the amazing Manta Trust team managed to ID for us and we added 22 new mantas to their database. Read here for more about Manta Trust and the work they do. We also saw 3 whale sharks, one of whom was new to the Maldives Whaleshark Research Programme and we got to give her a name. On our last day we scuba dived with the biggest whale shark I have ever seen (approx 8-10m) and 2 thresher sharks.

The dive site depth ranges down to about 40m and we saw oceanic manta rays near the surface from the moment we jumped from the boat, all the way down to 40m.  The marine life here seemed extremely curious and mantas and whale sharks circled us multiple times, a true ocean encounter.


Diving in Fuvahmulah : Local Boat Dives

We scuba dived from a slow traditional boat, Maldivians call a ‘Dhoni’. The boat returned to the harbour after every dive so surface intervals are spent on land inbetween dives. A couple of times   Click here for my recommendations of what to take on a dive boat. 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Big fans of our dive boat


The best time to dive the Maldives – when to dive in Fuvahmulah

Diving is possible year round in Fuvahmulah. However, most people agree that diving between November and April is the best season for diving because of the chances of oceanic manta rays, whale sharks, thresher sharks and hammerheads. In rainy season, from June onwards the sea gets rough but the chance of hammerheads increases. The tiger shark dive is available year round.


Restaurants and Places to eat in Fuvahmulah

Real Breez restaurant is great because of the large balcony and good food. They serve great local food including vegetarian options and also the Indian cuisine. The cafe by the harbour is also good and it serves local food. I definitely recommend trying Kottu Roshi – a Maldivian twist on the traditional Sri Lankan dish. If you’re vegetarian make sure you say so and make it very clear that being vegetarian includes no meat and no fish as vegetarians are still a relatively new concept to the fish-heavy Maldivian diet. 

Maldives Local Island Travel Tip: Be prepared to wait a LONG time for food. This is not a resort island and we often had to wait over an hour (occasionally 2 hours!) for our food to appear. I recommend adapting to the slower pace of island life and also don’t wait until you are hungry to find a restaurant.


Things to Do in Fuvahmulah

  • Visit Fuvahmulah Thundi – a thundi is a Dhivehi word for the beach at the end of an island. The Fuvahmulah thundi is a large pebble beach on the island which includes a nearby restaurant
  • Visit the lakes – Fuvahmulah is an unusual island in the Maldives because it has freshwater lakes. You can visit and hire kayaks or pedalo boats to spend some time on one of the lakes as part of Fuvahmulah Nature Park.
  • Go to Addu – Addu also has some fantastic diving and it is accessible by boat from Fuvahmulah
  • Hot Spring with Mud Baths – Fuvahmulah has muddy hot springs where you can relax after a day of exciting scuba diving in the ocean

Maldives Liveaboard Diving

It is possible to dive on a liveaboard around Fuvahmulah. As I haven’t dived on a liveaboard I cannot comment on the experience. I will say that we loved being on the island and as the dive sites are all located near the shoreline, it was not necessary to pay for a luxury liveaboard when we could stay in a cheap guesthouse and do budget dives. 

Night Diving in the Maldives

Most Fuvahmulah dive centres do not offer night diving for safety reasons. The currents can be strong and I’d rather not meet a tiger shark at night time!

Have you visited Fuvahmulah yet? How was your experience? Where is the best diving in the Maldives for you?

For what to pack for a Maldives trip read my Maldives Packing List guide here

For what to take on a scuba diving holiday or dive boat trip read my Scuba Diving Packing List here

For more cheap diving in Maldives, read this scuba diving Maldives article here

 

Rasdhoo Island Maldives

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 
Rasdhoo Island Views

Looking for the best local island in the Maldives? Rasdhoo island is an amazing local island to stay on during your Maldives. It has some superb scuba diving, a lovely white sand beach, a range of restaurants and Rasdhoo accommodation to stay in.

Where is Rasdhoo Maldives?

Rasdhoo is located in its own atoll. 

How to get to Rasdhoo?

To get to Rasdhoo from Male airport you can take a speedboat for approximately 1.5 hours from Male or from Male airport. You can book your speedboat through your hotel or island accommodation as this is the easiest way to get up to date information about boat transfers.

It is possible to take a seaplane if flying to Kuramathi resort. Please note seaplanes are very expensive so if you are going to a local island a speedboat transfer is best.

Where to stay in Rasdhoo?

Rasdhoo Stay is a fantastic, budget hotel in the Maldives. The rooms are spacious, clean and well equipped with kettles and tea/coffee. The bathrooms are basic with good, hot water showers. In the garden there are also sunbeds and lots of greenery around and the staff are very helpful and accommodating. For example, I needed to change my Rasdhoo trip date last minute due to a speedboat cancellation because of the bad weather. The staff were very accommodating and did not charge me for the extra night, which I really appreciated. Compare prices for Rasdhoo Stay on Agoda here and Booking.com here.

Balcony Views from Rasdhoo Stay

Things to Do in Rasdhoo

Things to do in Rasdhoo – Drinks at a Rooftop

As a local island in the Maldives, Rasdhoo is a dry island and so there is no alcohol served there or bars available. There is a wonderful rooftop bar and restaurant with lovely beach views where I recommend having a sunset mocktail and enjoying the Indian food they offer at Club Gabbiano. 

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Sunset drinks at Club Gabbiano

Things to do in Rasdhoo – Excursions from Rasdhoo Island Maldives

There are many day trip excursions available around Rasdhoo for snorkelling trips, dolphin spotting trips and island sandbanks. 

Things to do in Rasdhoo – Eat Local Maldivian Food in Rasdhoo

Bamboo Hut is a great restaurant for local Maldivian food. I thoroughly recommend their vegetarian friendly kottu roshi. 

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Scuba Diving Rasdhoo

Scuba diving is my number one recommendation for things to do in Rasdhoo island. I thoroughly recommend Drop Dive Maldives as a great dive centre. If you aren’t a qualified scuba diver then I recommend taking a dive course to become a certified scuba diver like a PADI or SSI Open Water Course. This dive shop also still took me out on the boat even though I was the only scuba diver on a couple of occasions, which I really appreciated as I went in low season.

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Water Sports

From banana boats to kite surfing, Rasdhoo has a water sports centre where you can try many different water activities depending on the time of year.

Things to Do in Rasdhoo – Beach Time

Rasdhoo has a lovely stretch of white sand beach where you can enjoy sunset every evening. The water is clear and turquoise and extremely beautiful

Rasdhoo Bikini Beach

There is a bikini beach in Rasdhoo. This means there is an area where you can wear bikinis and swimsuits and you do not need to cover up. It is recommended to cover up while you are walking around other areas of the island to be respectful.

Bikini Beach in Rasdhoo

Resort Islands near Rasdhoo

There is the resort island of Kuramathi which is next to Rasdhoo island so you could consider combining a vacation to Rasdhoo with staying on Kuramathi for a mix of Maldivian local islands and a resort island. For more information about the differences between local islands in the Maldives and resort islands in the Maldives read my article here. Look at rooms and reviews for Kuramathi Resort here on Agoda or Kuramathi Resort here on Agoda

When is the best time to visit Rasdhoo, Maldives?

The Maldives has monsoon season from May-October. This can mean heavy rain and big storms. I visited Rasdhoo in July and despite being monsoon season, I had nearly zero rain and many days of blue skies. It also means manta ray season in Baa atoll and a lot of marine life can be spotted during rainy season in the Maldives. For more about how to snorkel with manta rays in the Maldives then read this Maldives article.

Rasdhoo to Thoddoo

Thoddoo is a nearby island to Rasdhoo which I also recommend visiting for wonderful snorkelling with turtles right off the bikini beach which may be the best bikini beach in the Maldives. Read my full Thoddoo island review here

Want more information about travelling to the Maldives?

For my Maldives Packing list head to this article here

For my Maldivian island reviews check out the following best local islands in the Maldives:

Dhiffushi Local Island Maldives Review

Gulhi Local Island Maldives Guide

Maafushi Local Island Maldives Guide

Fuvamulah Local Island Maldives Guide

Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives Guide

 

 

The Ultimate Thailand Bucketlist

This is the ultimate Thailand bucket list. Having lived and travelled in Thailand for more than 6 years now I have created an adventure Thailand bucket list of all the must see and must do activities in the Land of Smiles.

Thailand Bucketlist: See wild elephants

One of the best things about Thailand if you are a nature lover is the chance to see wild elephants here. One of the best places to see wild elephants is Khao Yai National Park, just two hours’ drive from Bangkok. The best time to see wild elephants is usually dry season which is from October-April, however, it is also possible during rainy season. For more information about Khao Yai read my article here. Book a jungle trek and tour with the fantastic local tour guides with Greenleaf. 

wild animals thailand
Wild elephants should definitely be on your Thailand bucketlist

Bucketlist Thailand: Visit an ethical elephant sanctuary

Following on with elephant activities, getting up close with these amazing animals is also very easy to do in Thailand. However, there are many ‘sanctuaries’ and elephant camps that are rife with elephant abuse so choose a place carefully, one that doesn’t allow riding or use bullhooks. The best elephant sanctuary is the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand rescue centre. Read my article all about the rescue elephants and other amazing rescue animals there.

elephant in a rescue sanctuary
Thailand Bucket List – Spend time with elephants

Thailand Bucketlist: Learn to scuba dive

Thailand is famous as being one of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to scuba dive. If you have four days then take an Open Water course to get qualified as a certified scuba diver. Koh Tao is known as the cheapest island to learn to scuba dive in Thailand. Many people take courses through Padi or SSI who are internationally recognised organisations that accredit divers. However, all tourist islands have dive shops that offer scuba diving courses, including for beginners. Koh Lipe is the best scuba diving in Thailand in terms of healthy, colourful coral reefs and the marine life you can see there. Read my Koh Lipe Thailand Guide about scuba diving and more in Koh Lipe here.

Bucket List Thailand : Dive with whale sharks

While we are talking about bucket list Thailand experiences, snorkelling or scuba diving with whale sharks is top of most ocean lovers’ lists. Bear in mind that whale sharks are elusive and as a free, wild animal they can never be guaranteed. Top places to dive with whale sharks are Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Chumpon, the Similan Islands and Koh Lipe 8 Mile. Whale sharks are gentle giants and unable to harm you. They are the biggest fish in the ocean and some of the most amazing creatures you will ever see. Find out more about whale sharks here.

whale shark thailand
Diving with a whale shark at Richelieu Rock, Thailand

Thailand Bucketlist : Snorkel beautiful coral reefs

Thailand is home to an array of marine life and coral reefs. While some areas of coral have been damaged due to overfishing, tourism and a rise in ocean temperatures and acidification, there are still many beautiful coral reefs around Thailand. Stay in Krabi and do island hopping trips which include snorkelling arund Phangna Bay. Koh Phi Phi is surrounded by a marine national park which is home to some decent coral reefs. Koh Similan has some lovely soft corals and Koh Lipe is home to the best coral reefs, making it the best snorkeling in Thailand.

Bucket List Thailand : Attend a Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan

The Full Moon Party is famous through the world as being an amazing beach party on Koh Phangan island. Pre-pandemic, it reached up to 30,000 people on one beach, dancing the night away. The Full Moon Party is starting to get busier again at the time of writing. When visiting Thailand, check the Full Moon Party schedule to see if there is a full moon party in Thailand during your trip to plan around it. As the name suggests it takes place monthly during full moon. Read my Full Moon Party Thailand article here with everything you need to know about the party and staying on Koh Phangan. 

What you can see at Full Moon
Playing with Fire in Haad Rin for the Full Moon Party

Visit as many Thailand islands as possible

Thailand is home to approximately 400 islands which makes it an island hopping Thailand paradise. You can island hop to uninhabited desert islands in Thailand through day trips or kayaking. For information about visiting Thai islands and comparing which ones you should visit read my Thailand island guide to help you choose with Thai island to pick. 

Thailand Bucket List : Island hop around Phangna Bay

Phangna Bay is an area of Thailand below Krabi that is absolutely beautiful. It has stunning limestone karsts emerging from the Andaman sea, hidden beaches and beautiful viewpoints. Take a day trip from Ao Nang to Koh Hong for an incredible viewpoint.

The best views from the viewpoint on Koh Hong island should definitely be on your Thailand bucket list

Bucketlist Thailand : Hear gibbons in the jungle

If you’ve never heard gibbons before then you are in for a treat. These noisy animals can make sounds that reach kilometres away and they are such a fascinating species. Head to Khao Yai National Park, the best national park in Thailand to hear gibbons in the wild or visit rescue gibbons (and elephants) at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. 

Thailand Bucket List : See white sand & clear turquoise water

For many visitors to Thailand, see white sand and clear, turquoise water is high on their Thailand bucketlists. The best islands to see white sand beaches in Thailand are Koh Hong, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lipe, Bottle beach in Koh Phangan and Koh Similan.

showing you the prettiness of Koh Lipe beaches
White sand and clear water on Koh Lipe

Bangkok Bucket list : Explore temples in Bangkok

If it is your first time in Thailand, then seeing beautiful Buddhist temples is probably on your Bangkok bucket list. Wat Pho has a huge reclining Buddha, the Grand Palace is very popular with tourists and the Golden Mount has views of the city. All over Bangkok and Thailand you can find many beautiful temples to explore. Remember to be respectful and everyone should cover shoulders and knees when visiting a temple. Many temples will supply sarongs or scarves for visitors.

Bangkok things to do in Thailand
Visit Wat Arun as part of your Bangkok bucket list

Thailand Bucketlist : Visit ancient ruins and ancient cities in Thailand

Thailand is full of ancient history and many remains are still standing today. If you’re interested in history and would like to see beautiful ancient temples then visit Ayyuthaya which is just one hour from Bangkok. Lopburi, an hour or so from Bangkok also has ancient ruins to visit as well as Sukhothai in the middle of Thailand.

lopburi bangkok day trip
Ancient Temples in Thailand – Bucket List

Bucketlist Thailand : Go hiking in the jungle

If you are an adventurous person, take a hike in Thailand. There are many national parks to visit all around Thailand, including Khao Yai National Park, mountains all around Chiang Mai, Kaeng Krachan National Park and Khao Sok National Park.

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Thailand Bucket List – Jungle Exploring

Thailand Bucketlist : See cheeky monkeys

Some tourists love them, some tourists hate them. Many people feel a child-like thrill at seeing monkeys, especially of your home country does not have them. Most monkeys that we see in Thailand are macaques. In tourist areas some are cheeky and very used to humans so may be prone to grabbing you or your belongings. This is usually because humans have been feeding them. Please note it is recommended never to feed wildlife  as we can change their diet, how the animal sees humans and how they feed naturally. In most areas of Thailand, monkeys are shy and you would feel lucky to see them. Dusky Langurs are a favourite to see as they are black with white rings around their eyes as if they are wearing glasses. Check out monkey trail in Ao Nang and also Railay beach as a place to spot both macaques and dusky langurs.

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Macaques in Khao Yai National Park

Bangkok Bucket List : Drink at a skybar in Bangkok

Bangkok is home to so many fantastic rooftop bars with sunset views, river views and general views of this amazing city. Some of my personal favourites include Above Eleven, Tichuca and Octave. Bear in mind the dress code is smart for these places so they usually won’t let you in with flipflops or if you look too beachy.

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Add a skybar to your Bangkok bucket list

 

Thailand bucketlist : Swim the Grand Canyon

Located about half an hour outside of Chiang Mai the ‘Grand Canyon’ is definitely a place worth visiting. It was a huge disused quarry that now is filled with blue water and full of rafts, floating logs and a general great place to chill out. Cliff jumping is optional and at your own risk.

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Grand Canyon, Chiang Mai

Bucketlist Thailand : Erawan Waterfall

Visit the fairytale waterfalls of blue water in Kanchanaburi. Around 2-3 hours from Bangkok lies the province of Kanchanaburi and the Erawan waterfalls. Best experienced towards the end of rainy season when the water is at its highest (September-October) the minerals in this area turn the higher steps of the Erawan waterfall a gorgeous turquoise blue colour and you can swim at certain steps of the hike.

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Swimming in magical blue pools in the Erawan National Park – Thailand Bucket List

Thailand bucketlist : Lotus lake of Udonthani

Visit the lotus lake of Udonthani which becomes covered in red flowers during dry season (November-March). You can take a boat out to experience the beauty of the flowers on the water.

Bucketlist Thailand : Get off the beaten path Thailand

When travelling Thailand, even post pandemic, there will often be other tourists around you at the most popular destinations. Try experiencing a hidden side of Thailand by going to the mountains of Pu Chi Fah or Nan area to see mountains, viewpoints and a truly rural area of Thailand.

Bucket List Thailand : Go on a longtail boat

These noisy boats are famous all around Thailand. With their Buddhist colours tied around the front of them and recycled noisy car engines on the back, experiencing a ride on a longtail boat should definitely be on your Thailand bucketlist. You can find them everywhere, from Bangkok, to the islands to lakes in national parks.

Thailand Bucketlist – Long tail Boats

Thailand Bucketlist : See a giant Buddha statue

Throughout Thailand there are many impressive giant Buddha statues. In Bangkok, Wat Pho has a giant golden reclining Buddha. Phuket has a huge white Buddha sitting on the hillside. You can find many more all around this amazing country.

Thailand Bucketlist: The White Temple

Visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai for a beautiful and more unusual take on a Buddhist temple. Designed by an artist the outside of this temple, Wat Rong Khun, is truly spectacular, although the inside is very surprising. You can visit as a day trip from Chiang Mai or stay in the quieter town of Chiang Rai.

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Visiting the White Temple in Chiang Rai – Thailand Bucketlist Must

Bucketlist Thailand : Kayaking

Kayak around limestone karsts in Phangna Bay, as part of a day trip or go indendent kayaking around Railay or many other beaches and islands. A personal favourite are clear kayaks when the water is clear and you can see the reef and fish below you. Koh Lipe has some fantastic kayaking seeing as the water is so clear. Please note you can only kayak when the tide is high to avoid damaging the reef.

Thailand Bucket List : Sleep on a desert island

Sleep on a desert island like on the Similan islands off of Khao Lak. They are about a two hour speedboat and the stars are truly magical as you are very far from any light pollution. This is only possible during dry season and you must arrange with a local tour operator to drop you there as part of your day trip and stay the night in a tent that you rent from the national park. One small restaurant was available when I visited. This is also possible at Angthong Marine Park nearby to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.

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Camping overnight on the Similan islands is a must do in Thailand

Thailand Bucketlist: Stay on a floating bungalow

In Khao Sok National Park it is possible to stay on a floating bungalow on Chaew Lan lake inside the national park. During dry season, it is possible to see the milky way. You can kayak, swim, do jungle treks and wildlife viewing as well as climb a waterfall. Read my full Khao Sok guide here.

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Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park after staying in floating bungalows on the lake

Bucketlist Thailand : Go Tubing

In Chiang Mai, when the rivers are lower towards the end of dry season you can go tubing, This means floating down the river in an inflatable rubber ring attached to some friends and usually with a coolbox of beers in between you. Pure relaxation.

Go tubing in the rivers in Chiang Mai

Thailand Bucketlist : Find Quiet Beaches

Despite the huge number of visitors to Thailand (even post covid) it is very easy to find beaches with barely anybody on them and sometimes even deserted. Tourists tend to all end up in the same spots so head to any of these quiet beaches in Thailand to avoid the crowds. 

Ao Nang: Head to Koh Hong on a Thailand island hopping trip!

Bangkok Bucketlist : Cycling Tour

Ko Van Kessel are a cycling tour agency in Bangkok that offer a range of great cycling trips, from beginners, family friendly rides and longer day trips outside of Bangkok.

Thailand Bucketlist : Eat amazing street food

A lot of Thailand’s fame comes from its incredible street food. On every corner of the country you can find cheap, local food from typical Thai dishes and desserts to fresh fruit and young coconuts. Some of it is also vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Bangkok bucket list : Market Shopping

Bangkok is home to the world’s biggest outdoor weekend market – Chatachak Market. Spend half a day or a full day here exploring the stalls, buying souvenirs, clothes, shoes, customised items, plants, furniture, artwork and paintings, Thai silk, handmade items and many many more.

Thailand Bucketlist: Swim in lagoons

Swim in emerald lagoons inside one of the national parks in Krabi. You can organise a half day trip here from streetside tour operators in Ao Nang. 

Bucket list Thailand : Snorkel with Turtles

There are many places in Thailand where you can snorkel with turtles. However, as wild animals, it is of course never guaranteed. Places where you are likely to see a turtle include Koh Phi Phi, the Similan islands and Koh Tao.

Thailand bucketlist : Viewpoints

One of the best viewpoints of Phangna Bay is from the top of Koh Hong island. You can visit via a longtail boat or speedboat from Ao Nang or neighbouring areas like Railay. Try to avoid peak season and weekends.

Go Thailand Island Hopping to Koh Hong from Ao Nang

Bucketlist Thailand : Maya Bay

From Phi Phi island you can see the famous Maya Bay where many of ‘The Beach’ scenes were filmed starring Leonardo Dicaprio. It is a beautiful areas with white sand and clear turquoise waters surrounded by limestone karsts. However, because of the huge number of tourists that visit the national park will often close this area to help regeneration. For a similar vibe, head to Koh Hong instead.

Thailand bucketlist : Fireshows

Having spent over five years in Thailand, the best fireshow perfomances are definitely on the island of Koh Phi Phi. The fireshow dancers are the most acrobatic and most impressive there, even post covid.

Bucket list Thailand : Rock Climbing

Phangna Bay is home to so many stunning limestone karsts, huge mountains that appear out of the water that it is no surprise rock climbing is so popular here. There is something suitable for beginners and advanced rock climbers around Railay and Tonsai. Ask your instructor to go through the bat cave on Railay – you won’t be disappointed.

Rock climbing in Railay 0 Thailand bucket list

Bucketlist Thailand : Huge Caves

Explore huge caves in Khao Sam Roi Yot national park and get away from the usual tourist crowd. Inside one of the caves there is a shrine making this place feel very special. The hike to it is really beautiful as well, along a coastal path with stunning sea views.

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Discover Thailand’s Praya Nakhon Cave

Thailand bucket list : Scuba dive shipwrecks

Various Thai islands offer shipwreck diving. Impressive shipwrecks can be found off of Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao and Chumpon as well as a lot of other islands. My favourite so far is the shipwreck near Koh Phi Phi.

Scuba Diving in Thailand

Thailand bucketlist : Learn about Thai culture

Visit museums all around Thailand and learn about Thai history and culture. Jim Thompon’s House in Bangkok is a personal favourite for your Bangkok bucket list.

Thailand bucket list : Travel by tuktuk

Thailand has many great tuktuks and while some tuktuk drivers will try to overcharge you, they are also a great experience to try riding around the streets of Bangkok as a passenger. I recommend the tuktuks around Wat Pho to take you to other nearby areas as there is very little public transport in this area of ‘old’ Bangkok.

Thailand Bucketlist: Snorkel with sharks

There are no dangerous sharks in Thailand and it is possible to see blakc tip reef sharks who are totally harmless while snorkelling or scuba diving. Around Koh Phi Phi marine park is one of the best places to see them. Scuba diving from Ao Nang is also a great place to see bamboo sharks hiding under rocks.

Bucketlist Thailand : Muay Thai

If you are into martial arts or boxing then watching a muay Thai show is probably already on your Thailand bucketlist. To book a Muay Thai show in Bangkok, you can find tickets on this website. Having a go at muay Thai yourself is also totally feasible, even as a beginner and is a really fun, quite therapeutic work out during your Thailand vacation.

Bangkok Bucket List : Buckets on Khao San Road

The famous hangout of backpackers in Bangkok, Khao San road is known for its partying and selling of ‘buckets’, an alcoholic mix that you share with friends. Khao San remains a firm favourite as a place to party in Bangkok and meet new friends, particularly if you are a solo traveller.

Thailand bucketlist : Take a night train

Sleeper trains in Thailand are basic, cheap and a bit of an adventure. Don’t expect a luxury compartment but do expect to see some beautiful scenery and you probably won’t arrive on time.

Thailand Bucketlist : Get a Massage

Thailand is famous for amazing, sometimes brutal, Thai massages. These are not relaxing massages but are based on ancient understanding of the body and you will find yourself twisted into all sorts of shapes by your masseur or masseuse. Thai massages are incredibly cheap in all areas of Thailand. If you are unsure about a Thai massage, try a foot massage or an oil massage instead.

Bucketlist Thailand : Attend a Thai Festival

Whether you are interested in joining Songkran, a huge water fight across Thailand that celebrates Thai New Year in April or an intriguing and very weird celebration in Phuket, Thailand has the festival for you. Popular Thai festivals that tourists enjoy also include Loy Kratong in November with lantern candles.

Lanterns in the night sky of Chiang Mai during Yi Peng

Bangkok Bucket List : See Whales

Unknown to many, Thailand is home to a particular group of Bryde whales who inhabit the Gulf of Thailand and can be seen on a day trip from Bangkok year round. Read more here for how to go whale watching near Bangkok.

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Whale Watching in Thailand from a respectful distance

Thailand Bucketlist : Pink Dolphins

The waters near Nakhon Si Thammarat are home to world famous pink dolphins. Head there on a week day to be the only longtail boat on the water and appreciate the beauty of these pink dolphins in Thailand. Read my article here about how to go there and what to expect. 

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Pink(ish) dolphins in Nakhon Si Thammart province

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