Water Sports : With three coastlines stretching for hundreds of kilometers, and some of the finest beaches to be found anywhere in Southeast Asia, Thailand has become a major travel destination for lovers of all kinds of water sports. A number of excellent resorts offer a full range of equipment at reasonable rates for anyone interested in exploring the pleasures of deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, water skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, or swimming in crystal clear waters.
One of the first and still one of the most popular water sport centers is Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand, just two hours drive from Bangkok. The main beach is located on a scenic bay, but facilities are available along the coast for several kilometers. There are also more than 30 picturesque offshore islands with a wealth of coral and many types of tropical fish.
The other major water sport center is the southern island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. Here on the west coast there are more than 14 magnificent white sandy beaches, all with warm, clear waters, as well as a large number of nearby islands that boast diving conditions to rival the best in the world.
Diving : Our long coastline offers some of the finest diving opportunities not only in Asia but anywhere in the world. Phuket and Pattaya are both major dive centres, and there are many training facilities with internationally qualified instructors.
The majority of diving destinations close to Phuket are located in nearby Phangnga , where hundreds of limestone islands rise up from the blue waters. Also popular are the largely uninhabited Similan Islands, recently listed among the world's ten most beautiful spots for underwater scenery and the spectacular Phi Phi Islands near Phuket
On the other side of the peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand is the Ang Thong Islands National Marine Park, a group of more than 40 beautiful islands off the west of Surat Thani province and near Ko Samui. In Pattaya, scuba divers can organize daily trips from the resort to the offshore islands of Ko Lan, Ko Sak, and Ko Krok.
Fishing : The variety of magnificent scenery, coupled with year round warm weather and an abundance of gamefish make fishing in Thailand's seas a popular water sport.
The Gulf of Thailand, in contrast to the Andaman Sea, is less saline, generally warmer and shallower. Sharks, eagle rays, and barracuda are just a few of the species to be seen here. During the cool season from November to January, sailfish can be spotted in Pattaya and the Bang Saray region, as well as in Chumphon and in the waters around Ko Samui.
In the Gulf itself, Pattaya and Bang Saray are the major centres for gamefishing, with plenty of charter boats available.
Among the best fishing areas in the Andaman Sea are Racha Yai Islands near Phuket and the Similan Islands, northwest of Phuket. Sailfish season runs from mid-May to November, while marlin and tuna bite during the months of late November to May. The main gamefishing centre is Chalong Beach, on the east coast of Phuket.
Canoeing : Increasingly popular among ecological-minded travelers is the sport of sea canoeing, which offers adventure while also conserving the environment. Sea Canoe Thailand in Phuket, Tel: (076) 212172 and Sea Canoe Krabi, in Krabi Tel: (075) 637170 ,both offer memorable trips in nearby bays, through spectacular scenery that includes huge caves only accessible by water.
The Sarika Canoe Club in Nakhon Nayok offers canoeing trips along the Nakhon Nayok River, for the beginner and the more advanced canoeist, with some exciting and dramatic white water attractions. Contact the TAT branch office at Tel: (037) 312282, 312284.
Kayaking : Specially constructed inflatable kayaks are now widely available in southern Thailand, especially in Phangnga Bay, where they are used in expeditions to discover the many extraordinary scenic features of the limestone islands and mountains that characterize this region. A number of tour companies offer a variety of expeditions, some of which last several days with overnight accommodation in tents on secluded beaches.
Golf : We have over two hundred golf courses, many of them championship standard. So for golfers who not only appreciate a challenging course, but an exotically different one too, Thailand offers an unbelievable choice.
Some are just a short chip and putt from Bangkok, such as the Navathanee Golf Course, which was created for the 1975 World Cup and the Ekachai Golf Club, reckoned to be one of the country's most testing courses. Outside Bangkok, there are numerous courses offering high quality facilities, including The Rose Garden in Nakhon Pathom, the Siam Country Club in Pattaya, the Phuket Golf and Country Club on the lush island of Phuket, and the Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, probably the oldest in Thailand.
Mountain Biking : The north of Thailand is most suitable for this activity because of its cooler temperatures, especially from November to February. A number of companies offer well organized biking tours, most include guides and, on certain tours, back-up vehicles carrying food and overnight equipment. Bikes are also widely available in major tourists destinations, where they can be rented at extremely reasonable rates on a daily basis.
Cliff Climbing : The most popular area for climbing is the southern province of Phangnga, where towering limestone cliffs provide the perfect challenge.