When it comes to getting your outdoor exploratory fix in, Thailand holds no punches. "Could that be some clever reference to Muay Thai," you ask? Perhaps, curious traveler - read on. With a warm, tropical climate and a geography that boasts the usual suspects of adventure-rich natural resources (mountains, rivers, islands, caves, lakes, coastlines, and the like), snow sports may very well be the only entry missing from this adrenaline-inducing repertoire. But really, this is Southeast Asia, people; nobody comes here to ski.
Thankfully for outdoor enthusiasts, Thailand's soaring tourism numbers have led to a relatively well developed National Park system that constitutes the epicenter of its adventure scene. What's more, they're all fairly evenly dispersed throughout the country, making just about any town or village a good home base for checking out the countryside. Say you're in Bangkok and feel like cliff jumping into a pool at the bottom of a waterfall or tackling some white water rapids: Erawan to the northwest and Khao Yai to the northeast will be just what you're looking for. Mountain biking or rock climbing in Chiang Mai? Look no further than Doi Suthep or Crazy Horse Buttress (we know the latter isn't a national park, but come on; we've gotta call out a great adventure when we see one). Then there's the mostly overlooked Isaan region to the northeast, which boasts incredible vistas from atop Phu Kradueng and one of the world's largest dinosaur graveyards in Phu Wiang.
Of course, no discussion about Thailand's natural splendor would be complete without referencing its mind-boggling supply of incredible beaches, islands and cliff formations that extend southwards into the warm waters of both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. From surfing the waves off Phuket's western shores and scuba diving the one and only Richelieu Rock to kayaking beneath jaw-dropping karsts in Phang Nga Bay and hiking up waterfalls on Koh Phangan, this is an adventure lover's paradise for as many reasons as you can think of. Provided you don't mind a bit of a crowd, that is. So grab your scuba gear, your hiking boots and your sun tan lotion and prep yourself for a tour through the jungles and coastlines of Old Siam. You're about to experience Southeast Asia at its finest.