by Melanie Grosjean – Thailand has much to offer family travelers, from exciting attractions comprising Bangkok tourism to beautiful beaches with plenty of water and sand to keep the kids happy. However, there are also a number of exciting places to hike in Thailand and several of these are family-friendly.
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We’ve rounded up five of our favorite hiking spots in Thailand to give you inspiration for your next family trip.
1. Chiang Dao
Many of the hiking trails in the Chiang Dao East area are quite suitable for families. These hikes explore trails that pass through hill-tribe villages representing groups like the Karen, Lisu, Akha, Paling and Lahu peoples. There are a great number of trails and roads in this area so you can choose a route and a difficulty level that matches your family’s needs.
Some tour companies offer treks with overnight village stays. This is a unique way to experience a different side of Thailand than most tourists. It will also give your children a unique opportunity to meet village kids and they are sure to be pampered and loved.
The scenery is beautiful and features lush jungle surroundings and mighty limestone mountains. Even though Thailand is typically quite hot, the temperatures are cooler in this area so hiking is more pleasant.
2. Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai is Thailand’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers 2,000 square kilometers and is one of the most popular weekend destinations for Bangkokians as it is located only three hours from the capital.
The park has gorgeous waterfalls, jungle areas, mountains and numerous species of plants and animals. There is an expansive network of hiking trails, campsites and roads throughout the park, many of which are family-friendly.
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There are trekking trips available that range from one to three days, however for families there are also six hiking trails that you can visit self-guided at any time. A good place to start is the Kong Kaeow Nature Trail which begins at the park’s Visitor’s Centre and is an easy, leisurely hike.
A number of unique resorts and hotels surround the park entrance, most of which are great for families. These fun resorts and hotels include a Hobbit House for Lord of the Rings fans, the Wild West themed Panther Creek Resort, the space-age DNA Resort & Spa, and Casa de Montana where you can stay in a campervan, among others.
3. Erawan National Park
One of our personal favorite places to hike in Thailand is Erawan National Park near Kanchanaburi. It is located approximately 3 hours from Bangkok so is fairly accessible from the city.
The park is most famous for its gorgeous 7-tiered waterfall. It is incredibly popular among families, especially on the lower levels where you will typically see families with young children picnicking and swimming in the pools beneath the waterfalls.
The trails to the lower waterfalls are quite easy — even our 2-year-old was able to walk some of it. However, the higher you go the more difficult it gets and by the seventh waterfall you are almost climbing.
Visitors are welcome to swim in the pools, and slide off of boulders into them. You will certainly see wild monkeys during your visit and a number of other species of wildlife call the park home, but are a bit more elusive to the eyes of park visitors.
4. Chiang Rai
While there are plenty of things to do in Chiang Mai, if you want to avoid tourists Chiang Rai is a better bet. Set on the south bank of the Kok River in Thailand’s northernmost province, the city affords visitors the chance to experience a range of trekking and hiking trips and short jaunts into the surrounding countryside.
Some of the easier, and thus more family-friendly hiking trails in the Chiang Rai area are Ruto Rio Mae Kon and Por las calles de Mueang Chiang Rai. If you are so inclined, Chiang Rai is also one of the easiest cities in Thailand from which you can visit the so called Golden Triangle where the three countries of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.
5. Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan is the largest national park in Thailand and is home to a diverse number of wildlife including elephants, gibbons, leopards and a particularly large number of beautiful birds. There are two rivers that start in the park: the Petchaburi and the Pran Buri.
There are tour guides available, but whether you hire a guide or take to the trails by yourself, you are virtually guaranteed to see a wide variety of wildlife, which makes it a favorite among kids.
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