It would be hard to make the claim that Bangkok fits the mold of capital cities devoid of nearby adventure opportunities. Far from landlocked, intersected by rivers and surrounded by jungled national parks, just because Thailand’s biggest metropolis isn’t located in mountainous Chiang Mai or the island-strewn south doesn’t mean you have to look far to find outdoor excitement here. So before you trek off into the wilderness, take a look at some cool things to do on your first stop in old Siam.
For starters, there’s the Chao Phraya River: Bangkok’s must see waterway. No, you won’t be swimming, diving or white-water anything here, but a mandatory long-tail boat ride up the lazy brown current should be enough get your adventure-senses tingling. From here things only get more interesting, like at Club 11 Bike Club where the good people of Bangkok have seen fit to establish an off-road mountain biking course within the capital itself. There are also a handful of bike tours that take you around and beyond the city center into the surrounding countryside. Feel like swimming with sharks? Scuba divers of all levels can shell out upwards of 6,600 Baht ($215) for 30 minutes in the tank at Siam Oceanworld, or just make the 1.5 hr drive southeast for some worthwhile wreck diving off the coast of Pattaya.
Should your thirst for adventure require something of a more robust offering, don’t fret: this city’s got plenty of nearby single and multiple day options to its credit. To the northeast, adjacent National Parks Namtok Samlan and Khao Yai offer camping, hiking and waterfalls aplenty, while Kaeng Krachan to the west encompasses the largest nationally protected landmass in Thailand (mountains and caves, anyone?). The province of Kanchanaburi to the northwest not only provides access to the famous River Kwai, but also to scenic valleys and the waterfall-strewn Erawan National Park. There’s more, too, but we’re running short on ink. To sum up, don’t write off Bangkok’s potential to satisfy your craving for the great outdoors just yet. You’d never guess what you’d be missing out on.