Thailand's islands are the perfect place to venture into the rainforest for a tropical adventure. In fact, the jungle is often literally on your doorstep, so you can play Indiana Jones on a day trip.
One of the reasons islands like Phuket and Koh Samui attract so many visitors year after year is because of the variety of experiences they offer.
From gleaming beaches to coral reefs and forest-covered mountains; there is always a new landscape to explore and plenty of activities to try out at the same time.
If you feel like a break from the beach, then why not head into the jungle for a little exploration? When you are on vacation on one of the Kingdom’s idyllic southern islands, spectacular forest attractions are never too far away, and your villa manager will be more than happy to arrange a trip into the forest.
Below are a few favourite sights and activities to enjoy surrounded by greenery.
For a fun family day out, Koh Samui’s Secret Falls Canopy Adventures
is a inspired choice. Suitable for children aged seven and above, plus adults of all ages, the canopy adventure allows you to zoom through the rainforest on a zip line at speeds of up to 50 mph. The views of the island are spectacular, and rather than flying down just one wire, adventurous jungle explorers can “whoosh” between no less than 21 treetop platforms with dazzling vistas of Samui’s beaches and the location's secret waterfall.
Don’t Look Down
Over on Phuket, visitors can also enjoy an adventure in the forest canopy as the gem of the Andaman boasts its own zip line course in the jungle known as Flying Hanuman. This particular forest adventure is not for the faint of heart, as you will be rocketing through Phuket’s tropical jungle interior 40 metres above the ground. The creators of this eco-friendly attraction have gone to great lengths to ensure that the forest surrounding the centre is not disturbed. Not only is this great for the environment, but it also means visitors can enjoy completely unspoilt views of the lush, emerald island interiors.
For travellers in the mood for a laid back excursion that allows them to enjoy the delights of the tropical forest, Koh Samui’s Secret Buddha Garden is an ideal choice for a day trip. Tucked away in the lush hills that grace the island's interior; the Secret Buddha Garden offers an afternoon of intriguing discovery. The gardens are the work of Nim Thongsuk, a local fruit farmer who began sculpting statues and shrines depicting scenes from the Ramayana across his family’s land during the 1970s. What stands in the garden today is a wonderful collection of curious stone figures, nestled in the shade of the tropical forest.
An increasing number of tourists now make it a priority to give a little something back to the Thailand before they leave. A trip to Phuket’s Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre allows you to do something good for the island and take a trip to the island’s magical forest at the same time. The project, which is located at Bang Pae Waterfall, focuses on making a better life for these adorable animals, which are becoming ever more endangered. Guests can visit the friendly primates, and are invited to make donations to continue the foundation’s good work.
The Real Deal
If a simple day trip to the forest isn’t enough green for you, then a two or three day side trip to Khao Sok National Park on the Thai mainland will definitely satisfy your jungle urge. Hard core adventurers can explore the natural treasures of what is thought to be a 160 million year-old forest and therefore one of the oldest on the planet. Craggy limestone carsts, waterfalls and the impressive Rajaprapa dam and lake await those who make the four-hour journey from Phuket (slightly longer from Samui) with wildlife watching and hiking among the top activities on offer in the National Park. Guided safari tours are also high on the agenda for many visitors.