Running in Thailand when on holidays is a must especially if you like beach running. The beaches are beautiful and most of them have white, powdery sand. Its people are also very beautiful and always smiling. No wonder it is known as, “The Land of Smiles.”
I loved running in Koh Tao,
Hua Hin and Cha-Am and each place offered its own unique running experience. I enjoyed having the opportunity to experience tasty food,
beautiful scenery and the warm climate. Keep reading to hear about different running
experiences, see pictures of the fabulous scenery, and hear about the many fun things to do
while in Thailand.
For me running on the beach is the most enjoyable option, but it is not always accessible, so I needed to find other running options as I soon discovered.
I stayed on Sairee Beach on the beautiful island of Koh Tao for one week. Sairee Beach is a lively area with lots of bars and restaurants and has the most amazing sunsets. The sand along this beach is mostly firm and provides a very enjoyable running experience, but unfortunately only when the tide is low. The tide varies greatly along this coast and the changeover from high to low can take all day.
During my stay here, only one morning was the tide low enough to run the full 3 km stretch from the north end by Rim Lae restaurant to the south where a rocky outcrop divides the beach. You don't want to miss an opportunity to run on this stunning beach so keep an eye on the Koh Tao Tide Times.
If the tide is high, a narrow street close to the beach provides another running option. It has lots of shops, restaurants, and hotels to checkout as you run along. This street gets busy during the day, but is much quieter in the morning, and it goes all the way to Mae Haad Pier.
A third option for running here is a slightly hilly loop that includes the beach road and the main road. The loop I did (as shown below) is about 6 kms. I passed the pier and ran up the road that leads to the French Market. The main road gets busy with motorbikes so be sure to face the traffic as there are no sidewalks/pavements here.
Koh Tao is a small, hilly 21-square-km island with crystal-clear waters and white, sandy beaches in the Gulf of Thailand. Its vibrant coral reefs have transformed Koh Tao into a global diving and snorkeling destination, but also a great island for relaxing enjoying fabulous Thai food!
As quoted by one of our tour guides, Koh Tao has no historical basis as it was only first inhabited in 1947 and only really 'discovered' in the 1980's but has since steadily grew to the bustling island it is now.
On this island, there are many business that offer diving classes and certifications, snorkeling tours and boat taxis. However, Koh Tao has a unique fun tour called, Treasure Island Challenge, which I highly recommend. It is a full day event that will take you to various places on the island for the purpose of solving clues that lead to a hidden treasure. The puzzles are challenging and interesting. Climbing, snorkeling, sampling local fruit, and a tasty lunch is all part of this fun challenge.
Watching the sunset over Sairee Beach is an unforgettable experience. You will be spoiled for choices as to which bar/restaurant you choice to watch it from, but be sure to get there early to get a good seat!
Hua Hin has a long beach coast (about 7kms), but unfortunately it is not one continuous stretch. It is divided into many smaller beaches by rocky hills and outcrops. There are small stretches of beach that are good for running, but they can become narrow when busy and during high tide.
During my stay in Hua Hin, one of my runs was a combination of running along the beach and along the road to the Fishing Pier. The beach run was beautiful even though it wasn't very long.
When looking for running routes away from the beach in Hua Hin, keep in mind that there are railway tracks and only a few places to cross. I found a 7km circular route that crossed the tracks in two different locations (adjacent to Road 88 and Road 94) as shown below. Another running option is to simply run along the main road - Phet Kasen Road.
When I am running in a new location, I always carry my phone for safety and also to capture the often stunning scenes along the way. I use the #PRPocket to comfortably and securely carry and protect my phone while running.
There are lots of things to see and do while in Hua Hin and the cost of taxis are very reasonable. Use the Grab app for the best taxi prices. Tuk tuks (a three-wheeled open air vehicle) used to be the cheapest way to get around, but now they are considered a tourist attraction and cost slightly more than a taxi. Be sure to negotiate your tuk tuk fare before getting in.
The Monsoon Valley Vineyard is about 45 minutes drive away from the city center but worth a visit. You can visit the elephant sanctuary, do a wine tour, cycle along the bike trail and then enjoy a delicious lunch with amazing views.
The Hua Hin Fishing Pier comes to life in the evenings. There are many food and drink stalls all along the pier and many tables set up to enjoy the DJ at the end of the pier. A really nice, relaxing place to sit, eat and enjoy the view looking back on the city.
The Night Market, is a vibrant market, where you can shop for local handicrafts, try delicious street food, and experience its lively atmosphere.
Visit the Cicada Market and the Tamarind Market; two night markets within walking distance of each other. They both feature handmade crafts, art exhibitions, live music, and a variety of delicious food stalls.
Have drinks and watch the sunset from the rooftop bar at the Holiday Inn Resort Vana Nava. With its glass skywalk, open air bar and panoramic views, this hotel is a perfect place to relax and watch the sun go down.
To the south of Hua Hin are the quieter, less touristy districts of Pran Buri and Sam Roi Yot. Most of the beaches here have a dedicated, well -maintained boardwalk, which looks perfect for a long run along the seashore. I didn't have the experience of running here on this trip, but hopefully I will on my next visit to beautiful Thailand.
Cha-Am beach is another beautiful area located just north of Hua Hin. It has a tree-lined sandy beach and you can see for miles. It is popular with tourists and many locals come here on the weekends. There is a beach wall along part of the beach to protect it from sea erosion. The top of the beach wall is a great place to run with terrific views and a lovely breeze from the sea.
There is a wide paved area between the beach and the street that is also good for running, but it is a shared space. Vehicles and bikes park along here and food vendors operate here too. The main beach area runs for about 5 kms.
Cha-Am is renowned for its fresh seafood, and visitors can savor delicious local dishes at the numerous beachfront seafood restaurants. From grilled prawns to flavorful fish curries, the seafood options are diverse and mouthwatering. As I am not fond of seafood, luckily, there are other options too!
There are many nice restaurants and coffee shops that provide a variety of food. The Anglers Rest is an excellent place to have lunch on a sunny day. You can enjoy the beautiful surroundings when you sit on the terrace as it’s part of the Jurassic Mountain Resort and Fishing Park. They serve Thai food and many international dishes, and only 15 minutes drive from Cha-Am Beach.
I enjoyed running in Thailand and the opportunity to experience its tasty food, beautiful scenery and warm climate. I am hoping to visit here again next year. If you have any suggestions on places to run in this amazing country, please share in the comments below.
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