Thailand’s island’s are far more than beach destinations and the end of the year brings weather that suits visitors who like to get out and about and explore some of the country’s natural wonders and divers cultural attractions.
As well as major celebrations like Christmas and New Year, December in Thailand brings another treat – a drop in temperatures that’s accompanied by a light, fresh breeze.
If you’re on vacation in Phuket or Koh Samui, the weather is still blissfully warm without being too hot, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore the islands and take part in a few more active pursuits without reaching for a hand-held fan and a bottle of water every few minutes.
If you’re not relying on a sea breeze to keep you cool, this is also the perfect time to head inland and enjoy the islands’ picturesque interiors.
Below are a few of favourite island activities to try out.
With mountain peaks covered in lush, velvety jungle, Phuket and Koh Samui are perfect for hikers in the mood to explore beyond the beaches. Both islands are also home to impressive waterfalls, offering visitors with a reasonable level of fitness the chance to get their pulse rate going with a good walk. In Phuket, Bang Pae Waterfall is nestled within Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. It’s a popular spot with the locals and there’s the chance to take refreshing dip in one of the hillside rock pools. On Koh Samui, the Na Muang waterfalls are about 12km inland fomr the coast on the southeast of the island.
Need for Speed
If zooming along on an ATV through abundant jungle, coconut plantations and local villages sounds like your cup of tea, you’re in luck. The cooler days of December provide the ideal opportunity to get away from the coast and do some more exploring, and these exhilarating tours across Koh Samui and Phuket will have you speeding along on a powerful quad bike – usually 125cc or 250cc. You will be able to enjoy a snapshot of Thailand’s diverse terrain, including rubber trees, mangroves, hills, beaches and jungle.
If you really want to get a sweat on, then booking a cycling tour is a fun way to explore Phuket – and you don’t need quads of steel to enjoy it. The majority of cycling tours wind through villages, pineapple fields and rubber plantations so it’s a great chance to get off the beaten tourist track and see a bit more of the island away from crowded tourist hotspots. Many of the tours are suitable for the whole family as well, so they offer an opportunity to make some fabulous holiday memories.
Cooking up a Storm
When the tropical Thai temperatures are at their peak, whipping up a culinary masterpiece in the wok is perhaps the last thing you’re going to feel like doing. However, when the heat is more manageable an impromptu cooking lesson with the chef at your private villa can be a great way of delving into the Thai culture. In addition to learning how to recreate the basic flavours of a Thai dish, your lesson may also incorporate a trip to the local fresh produce market – a great chance to rub shoulders with the locals and learn a little more about the day-to-day way of life in the Land of Smiles.
Out of all the activities on the list, Thai boxing is probably the most physically challenging – and therefore the perfect option for when temperatures fall slightly and you can give roundhouse kicks, hooks and upper-cuts your full energy. Phuket and Samui are home to a selection of gyms where visitors can have a go at the sport themselves, with training sessions usually on offer for people of 10 years old and upwards. Phuket’s Tiger Muay Thai & Mixed Martial Arts Camp in particular is the place for visitors who really want to give this sport ago, and people fly from all over the world to train here – including fighting champions.