If you are like me and love nature and trekking/hiking through the jungle to find some amazing waterfalls and caves, then I have some great adventure spots to share.
I fell in love with Thailand 12 years ago. When I visited Thailand the first time, I stayed for only 1 month. The second holiday I managed to stay 2 months (my boss in Holland wasn’t so happy) and the third time I called my boss and told him that I wasn’t coming back for work and I promptly made Thailand my second home. 🙂
I worked in the big city, Bangkok, due to my personal training business. But I always looked forward to when I could escape the pollution and traffic of Bangkok and visit the natural parks and country side. Marie and I have been fairly lucky in that we have managed to take a trip out almost every month since we married 5 years ago.
I think we’ve crisscrossed almost the whole of Thailand during our stay here, and most of it was done on my BMW GS1200 motorbike.
Because I’ve been to probably more places in Thailand than the average foreigner or even Thais…
I believe sharing with you my top 6 Thai National Parks, makes sense. Most of the ones I’m going to list are not frequented by foreigners. So if you’re “white,” like me, you might be the only farang (white person) there.
Note: This list reflects my personal opinion and is not listed in any specific order of preference.
This amazing place makes you feel like you are in the Avatar movie set. Some of the landscape really looks different and until you’ve visited you won’t know what I mean. The park can be explored by elephant-back safari, hiking trail, and raft, canoe or kayak via the Sok river.
On our way to our floating bungalow on Khao Sok lake
Khao Sok National Park is a nature reserve in southern Thailand containing dense virgin jungle, tower like limestone quartz formations and the man-made Cheow Lan Lake. It’s home to rare species such as the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower, hornbill birds, gibbons and tigers.
We traveled there on our motorbike and stayed in a cute floating bungalow called: Khao Sok Smiley Lake House http://khaosok-smiley.com/
This is how our bungalow looked. You can dive straight into the lake from the front door 😉
It’s absolutely worth your money, you’ll pay around 5000THB per night during low season (probably more during high season) and compared to other guest houses in town this might seem a bit expensive, but this was for 2 people, 2 days and 1 night, and everything was included, food, board, and 1 day trip. Food was simple, they gave us a basic Thai breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The day trip included in our package was a trip to this amazing waterfall that ended up in a cave. We went with a group of about 20 folks but some were a bit scared to swim in the cave. We were provided with little head lights but the dark cave and the deep water with a fairly strong current frightened quite a few folks so the group split up and only a few of us continued till the water got too high and the end opening was too small to continue through.
Apparently, during high season the water isn’t quite so deep and you can swim directly through cave and come up on the other side. But we went during rainy season, so we weren’t able to get through due to our guides deciding the water was too high and rough to complete the trip. Despite not being able to go completely through we had a grand time, and upon returning, we tried to convince the other group that stayed back to give it a shot but by then our guides said it was too late and that the water was only going to get higher and stronger.
Hiking through the Khao Sok “jungle”
When we weren’t on a guided tour, we could dive into the clear cool lake directly from the door of our floating bungalow. They also provided us with free of charge kayaks and we got to explore the lake on our own.
We felt that we weren’t in Thailand during our stay in Khao Sok lake and we hope that we get to see it again before we leave Thailand.
Evening safari on a river boat
See a short video of our adventure here:
The next on my list is Pai. Located in the north of Thailand around 146km north-west from Changmai, is a sleepy, super chill town in the middle of the mountains.
Some people compare this town with Bangkok’s Khao San road as there’s a lot of backpackers and an active night life, but believe me its nothing like that.
Marie, myself and Marie’s cool parents (Paul & Sunny) drove to Pai on motorbikes all the way from Bangkok. Our favorite guest house was along the Pai river, called Pai Country Hut http://www.paicountryhut.com/ it was an adorable bamboo hut that cost only 500thb/night
Check out the video below:
The best time to go to Pai is around December when the weather is nice and cool, actually it was a bit cold esp when riding on a motorbike.
Highlights in Pai:
The Pai Canyon (Pha Chau)
Yup, it is a small canyon and it looks similar to the Grand Canyon except you are in the mountains of Thailand. The reddish cliffs and sandstone hills are breath-taking and perfect for hiking and taking beautiful pictures. Again, I felt like I had climbed into a worm-hole and ended up outside of Thailand.
Seriously, I lived in Thailand for 11 years before I heard anything about Pai, or the Pai canyon. I’m still curious why it isn’t as well know as it deserves to be, but I guess I’m happy that I discovered it now, before the tourist hordes take it over.
Pai Hot springs.
Now there 2 different hot springs in Pai. One is called Sai Ngam hot spring and the other Tha Pai Hot spring.
Check out that awesome clear water!! The temperature was also perfect..the outside temp was around 12-14 degrees while the water was around 40-45 degrees
The Sai Ngam is by far my favorite as this will cost you only 20 baht per person for entry, plus 20 baht for your scooter and is way more natural and more beautiful with less tourists than the Tha Pai Hot spring where you pay 300thb entry and have to share the water with a lot more people and screaming kids.
Also it’s a great road to drive on your motorbike. It’s 11km from Pai, going through the mountains, towards Mae Hong Son.
Tham Lod Cave
I’ve seen my fair share of caves in Thailand, but this one took me by surprise by it’s sheer size and complexity. In my opinion it is Thailand’s most amazing cave.
The Tham Lod Cave system is around 1,666 meters long and it features some of the most amazing stalactites and stalagmites that I have ever seen.
This cave was apparently occupied in the pre-historic era from 9000BC to 5500BC by the Hoabinhian hunting tribe. A community of hunters who made axes and hammers out of stone and bones. You can still see some proof of their existence in this cave.
What makes this place so special is you’ll have to enter this cave with a bamboo raft and a guide holding an old fashioned kerosene lantern to light up the place, there’s a lot of fresh water going through the cave with some huge black fish swimming underneath the raft.
On the Bamboo raft…sorry that you can’t see it so well
A closer view of the massive big fish swimming through the cave
The guide with the lantern will then stop at several places in the cave were you have to climb up and hike to different chambers and view amazing sights of lime stone and grand columns of stalagmites. Some are over 20 meters high!
Entrance fee & opening hours: Guides with lanterns only 150 Bath per group (always handy to bring your own flash lights too) Bamboo raft inside the cave (recommended) 400 THB. Opening hours: 9:00am till 6:00pm.
43km from Pai, take the 1095 road direction Mae Hong Son.
3. Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park
We visited this park just a couple of weeks ago and what I like about this park is there aren’t very many tourists. It’s a small place and beautiful place (it’s only 59 km² and is the smallest park in Kanchanaburi Province) but what makes it special is that it is so close to Bangkok you can drive there and back on the same day and still get to enjoy the nature. Its main features are fertile forests, steep limestone mountains, waterfalls and mysterious caves.
Amazing rock or once upon a time coral inside the cave…
Checking out the featured spots is also relaxing due to the park’s small size. You only have to walk 500m before you enter the first cave. After trekking to the other side of the cave, you get to trek through 1.5km of light jungle to reach a small but refreshing waterfall. If you go another 1.5km further there’s an even bigger cave and waterfall.
Check out some of the massive trees we saw…
…and how I almost broke my back trying to climb like Tarzan…
4. Erawan National Park
Not far from this park is the more popular Erawan waterfall. https://www.thainationalparks.com/erawan-national-park I would recommend that you visit this park as early as you can in the morning to avoid the busloads of tourists. There’s lots of “spa” fish in the waterfall so if you stand still they will start nibbling all the dead skin from off your body. If you are ticklish it’ll be a bit uncomfortable, but you can also just sit on the side and let the “spa” fish give you a natural pedicure 😉
Don’t worry this pic manages to make the fish look huge..they are actually very friendly
Within the same natural park, around 80km away there’s the Hin Dat Hot Spring. This hot spring was accidentally found by Japanese soldiers during the Death Railway construction, in 1943, World War II period. This natural hot springs flows hot throughout the entire year.
What I like about this hot spring is that there are 3 different pools with 3 distinct temperatures: 1. Warm 2. Very hot 3. Very cold. So you can jump in the hot bath first and then cool down in the cold waterfall right next to the hot spring. Another amazing option you have at this hot spring is that they offer rejuvenating Thai massage for very reasonable prices. I’d go back there just for the massages.
5. Emerald Cave (Morakot Cave)
To enter this secret white sand beach you’ll have to swim about 70m through an underwater cave. It’s only accessible at low tide as the cave will be underwater most of the time…. It’s a real beautiful place and it is quite exciting swimming in the underwater cave, but unfortunately when we went there we weren’t able to enjoy the ambiance as there was a huge company bonding event being hosted on that “secret” beach. They were playing some weird relay games, blaring awful music and just ruining the place for the rest of us. I guess you can never be sure if there will be a respectful group there, but if you go as early in the morning as possible you might beat the large groups.
Location: Morakot Cave is located near Koh Mook island, Toward the northwest of Haad Chao Mai National Park, in Trang province.
Last but not least a “must visit” place nearby Bangkok is the…
6. Phraya Nakhon Cave in Khao Roy Yot National park, Hua Hin province.
***pic not taken by us…
This amazing cave has a beautiful small golden temple hidden inside the cave. It’s one of the most mystical places I’ve visit in Thailand. The sun comes through a hole in the mountain to shine directly on the small temple and makes it glow and sparkle.
Only the reasonably fit can visit this temple as it’s a fairly hard trek to get there.
First step to reach the cave is to drive to the small village of Bang Pu located at the beach. From there you can decide to take the boat or hike 30-60min through the mountains to reach Leam Sala beach.
We’re fitness trainers so (of course) we went for the hike…but the boat ride only cost 150 baht so it’s a good option if you want to relax while enjoying the sights. Once you arrive at Leam Sala beach you will have to climb another 430 meters of uneven steep steps to enter the cave. Make sure you bring enough water as the mountain is very humid and you will sweat like crazy. But we thought the hike was absolutely worth it
So there you go, a few of my favorite caves and waterfalls in Thailand…There are many more but I must stop here or this post will be longer than it is and I think it is too long already 🙂
Thanks for reading…and of course please share away! 😀
Last week we talked about motivation. And I shared how I find my motivation. I also touched on how HAVING GOALS (or something to look forward to) is essential to success.
How does one create a goal? And how do we find out what we want? This is what I did…
Step 1. Take 5 minutes to write down on a piece of paper (or computer) as many goals you can think of that you want to achieve in 3 different categories:
Personal development goals like: speaking fluent Spanish or learning salsa dancing
Acquirement goals like: getting a new car or motorcycle, owning a house or private jet 😛
Financial goals like: how much income per month you think you need or how much money you would like to have in your nest egg by the end of the year.
Go crazy on this and let your mind go wild, be just like a kid and think of all the stuff you want. Think big and keep writing for 5 min long for each category
Step 2. You should have at least 1 page full of stuff you wanted to have or acheive…so now choose from each category 1 goal you absolute must have or want to achieve in less than a year.
For me this was:
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT GOAL: Speak fluent Spanish. (very handy in south America and some parts in Europe)
PERSONAL ACQUIREMENT GOAL: Start my around the world journey on my new Triple Black GS1200
FINANCIAL GOAL: Selling my 2 fitness studios in Bangkok to have some CA$H to fund my trip. I’ve already succeeded in this and it isn’t the end of the year yet, so my next goal is to make at least 3000USD per month with our online training business or website affiliates.
I know this works because I have already achieved most of the list above (and half the year isn’t over yet) because I was clear about what I really wanted. And I worked EVERYDAY towards my goals and take massive action!
Step 3 Create the WHY I should achieve these goals and what will happen if I don’t achieve them.
Take 5mins to write down all the good things that will happen if you achieve your goals. But then also take 5mins to write down the bad things that will happen if you don’t achieve them.
How would your life look like after 5 years or 10 years if you do nothing?
How would you feel?
How would you look? Older or Younger?
Would you be Happy or Sad?
Step 4. TAKE MASSIVE ACTION EVERYDAY!!
Make a plan and take action everyday. This is a tough one, but if you take some action, even if it’s a small one, you will get closer to your goal.
See what’s working or isn’t. If something doesn’t work, don’t give up, but do try something new and see if that works. Keep on trying so you know what works or not.
Step 5. Become a Master
Practice what works for you and do it over and over till it becomes easy and part of your second nature.
Step 6. Power of Focus
What you focus on the most, is what you will get. If you focus on the negative you will get that, even if you are focusing on NOT getting it. Focus on the POSITIVE.
Take 30mins every day to focus on your goals, go to a quite dark room, play some meditation music, relax, and take some deep breaths and when breathing out visual yourself achieving your goals. Make a movie in your head of yourself accomplishing your goals and how you would look/be if you already completed your top 3 goals.
For me, my mind-movie is about how I am already on my new motorbike, traveling the world, making money online and speaking fluent Spanish.
I do this every morning when I wake up and in the evening before I sleep. I visualize my goals which gives me massive motivation to go out there and kick butt.
We have been talking a lot about motivation and we’ve been giving you some workout tips, fitness tips and sharing our stories.
But what is motivation and how do we get motivated?
For me motivation is very important, it drives me, it make me want to go for something and do it. I see motivation as a desire, an energy that drives me to take action in life, in my training, in my business and it propels me to follow my dreams and achieve MY GOALS.
But that’s the thing, without any goals it’s impossible to get motivated…and I promise we will talk more about setting goals in my next blog post. Today, I will stick to my subject and talk about what motivation means to me and how I use “motivation” in my everyday life.
3 Simple Steps to Motivate Yourself Every Day Into Taking ACTION.
Step 1: First you set a goal and find the “reason” you want it and create and absolute desire to achieve this goal. For me its traveling around the world on my motorbike. My secondary personal goal is to take care of my body, be fit strong, and staying as healthy as possible. But this will differ from person to person; so this will be totally different for you, but to get “motivated” you need to find what you Absolutely Desire…
Here’s a list of some of the things I do to keep my Absolute Desire Alive:
Every morning and evening visualize your goal, stoke the flames of your desire and see yourself already doing what you want to do.
Write it down on a piece of paper.
Every day I always ask myself why am I waking up and going to work. I then remember the big picture and find myself motivated…
***Fun Goal Setting Post coming SOON!
Step 2: Then the next step is to ask yourself the right questions, questions that empower you like:
What am I happy about in my life right now?
What excites me?
What am I grateful about in my life?
What am I proud of in my life?
Who loves me and who do I love?
After answering these questions honestly to yourself, you will find yourself empowered. I usually find myself filled with excitement and power, and I’m eager to start my day!
Step 3: Laser focus on one thing at the time and have fun doing it…
Once you have a goal, make a plan and mini goals on how to achieve it!
Make a to do list and focus on the 2 most important tasks that need to be done FIRST and completely kill it and make it happen. After you complete those 2 mini-goals, then you can relax, play with your phone, and have some down time.
Remember when you were a kid? Homework first and then you could go out to play…practice that as an adult and you’ll be surprised with how much more you’ll get done.
How to make the to do list and what’s important?
Make sure everything you do will move you towards your goal. Don’t know what to do or where to start? Find people who did it and ask. Get a coach, if its fitness we can help.
Once you’ve figured out your goals then the next most important thing is to make it fun achieving those goals.
Straight up, doing something you flat out despise won’t be something you will, or can keep up with. The second you can, you will drop it like a bad habit.
For that reason, whatever you’re doing — be it saving up money for that new car or losing 15 pounds — you got to make it enjoyable. The more enjoyable it is, the more you’ll do it. The more you’ll do it, the better you’ll get at it. The better you get at it, the quicker the end result will come.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Do you hate jogging? No problem. Take a MuayThai class — the fat will fall off that way, too. Horrible at writing papers? Change to a topic that drives you. Can’t save money to save your life? Switch environments. Your world is yours to create — what you make of it can change your motivation (and your life) entirely.
If you’d like me to design a training + nutrition plan for your body, and the equipment you have available, check out our Online Personal Training option–we give a 30 Day Free Trial + 60 days money back guarantee… 😀 😀 😀
So, we’re back! For those who didn’t know, we went away for a mini-holiday, and I guess you are new to our blog…so WELCOME… we’re happy to have you visit our space…
Last week we took a break from training in the gym to attend Marie’s childhood friend’s wedding. It was beautiful! And folks from pretty much the four corners of the globe flew to Thailand to celebrate the start of their new life together. It was a privilege to attend!
For us it was a special trip as it was the first time we had a long ride (over 1000km) without our own trusty 8yr old GS1200…that baby is now with a new “daddy.” And it was a bit of a milestone in our transition to the nomad lifestyle, this was our first time to be away for more than a weekend and were excited to see how we would stay fit, keep up with our blog, and manage our online fitness business.
But before we could even start on our exciting first foray/trial run into our
new lifestyle we ran into a bit of an obstacle when we realized…WE NO LONGER HAD A MOTORBIKE!!!
We had no idea that our baby would have already moved on when Ana’s wedding would come around. You know how things are, you get so excited about the big event, and you totally forget about the small important detail of having no transport…
Everyone else was all organized to fly in or bus down from Bangkok. We were like, don’t worry about us, we’ll ride down and we’ll swing by the Cambodian border too, since it’s so close 😉
Fortunately, we know this really cool guy named Jamil. He came to our rescue and when we asked him if we borrow his baby for the wedding expedition he was like “Sure!” even though we knew he was a little jealous that he wasn’t able to ride around and take a week off…
Our borrowed baby came with some awesome spacious panniers. When I looked at all the stuff my wife “needed” to bring with her, I almost had a heart-attack.
4 pairs of shoes???
2 cases of make up???
Massive bottles of hair spray and I’m not sure what else…
She was like, “Honey, I’m the makeup artiste for the bride and maid of honor and I’m not sure what dress I’m actually going to wear so I have to bring 2 pairs of heels to match my 2 dresses and ALL of my makeup!”
I was like ok, you can bring whatever you manage to fit in your pannier and maybe 1 small bag can go in the top box…I want to keep that empty for our jackets, gloves, etc.
She said “Of course babe, I’ll fit it all in…”
And you know what, she did! I have no idea if this bodes well for our trip around the world, but I was damned impressed with how she packed everything in. The only thing she forgot was all her bras…
Fortunately, a couple of her sports bras managed to sneak in, and we were going for a beach wedding after all, so we were running around in swim wear most of the time but yeah, she brought EVERYTHING IN HER CLOSET besides bras!!
Wow, I’ve gotten complete side-tracked. I think this post is supposed to be about staying fit and work-efficient while on the road, but I’ve gone on a tangent and ended up talking about my wife’s magical packing talent…
So back to the point…
We did it! While there are many things we want to do while we are on the road (for real starting in June 2017) this week away we wanted to accomplish 3 main things…besides enjoying time with our friends and the participating in the wedding celebrations of course…
These are the 3 things we really wanted to make sure we did…
We wanted to maintain our fitness and make sure to squeeze in at least 3 workouts that week
We wanted to keep up with our blog and post our 3 posts per week (Monday Motivation, Wednesday Workout & Fit Food Friday)
We wanted to make sure our online clients still were getting their workouts while we were away
And I’m proud to say, we did all the above and we on even managed to get the ball rolling with sending out some sponsorship requests for the gear/gadgets we will need for the trip.
WE ALSO LOST A KILO EACH!! I lost a kilo by making sure I fit in a HIIT workout or a swim before breakfast and Marie lost hers by climbing a mountain with 3km of stairs while having heeled leather riding boots on (see video below :D) and I guess all the stress of needing to do the bride’s and maid of honor’s makeup…LOL!
Well, to wrap this all up…
Make small and specific goals for a short period of time and you’ll find it easier to accomplish them…
We set those three goals and gave ourselves only 1 week!
When the week was over, it was easy to see if we accomplished our goals or not.
The same goes for weight loss, progress in a sport or completing a work assignment.
The goal to lose 1 kilo a month is so much easier to manage that losing 12 kilos in a year, don’t you think?
Short time frames.
This is what works for us. Try it and let us know if it helps you too.