SUP Adventures in Thailand: A Guide to the Most Scenic Routes

Paddleboarding in Thailand on the Inflatable All-Star SUP. Photo by Starboard SUP Paddleboarding in Thailand on the Inflatable All-Star SUP.

“Exercise helps you to feel fresher, get a decent night's sleep, and generally feel better,” says coach Nancy Best. “Looking after yourself shouldn’t stop on holiday. If anything, it’s a great time to recalibrate those practices.

Stand-up paddleboarding is a great way to stay active, and can easily be incorporated into nearly any trip abroad. In Thailand, there is no shortage of jaw-dropping locations that are perfect for stand-up paddleboarding. Whether you crave a location with vibrant nightlife or one that leads to several tourist attractions and historical landmarks (in addition to clear, calm waters), there are a variety of picturesque routes to choose from.

Places to Check Out:

  • Kwai River
  • Beaches in Pattaya
  • Phuket

supconnect west coast florida luisy guimaraesPhoto by Pitarn Harnpanichpun | Beautiful Day at Khwae Yai River in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Khwae Yai River

According to One Nation Thailand Post, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recommended several SUP hotspots, each of which boasts its own unique features. These range from the Khao Rakam Reservoir in Trat where paddlers can get up close with the “Drowning Buddha” statue for photos and to make offerings to the Kok River in Chiang Rai. According to the post, the Kok River route allows SUP-ers to choose from courses that vary in length, making it ideal for those who prefer a “choose your own adventure” type of trip — though these are far from being the only options.

One particularly noteworthy option on the Nation Thailand list is the Khwae Yai River in Kanchanaburi. Khwae Yai River is great for SUP beginners and enthusiasts alike, and there are tour guides available for morning and evening trips, which makes it flexible for anyone who wants to integrate the experience into their trip to Thailand. This location can be particularly great for those traveling with a group or with family, as there’s something for everyone. For example, this route is noted to pass several popular attractions as well as historical landmarks — such as the World War Ⅱ Bridge over the river.

If your timing is right and you’re under the bridge when a train is running over it, you can capture a once-in-a-lifetime snap to make your friends jealous.

supconnect top 5 places 6Photo by SIC Maui | Paddling on the RST in Ko Lan a small Thai island off the coast of Pattaya.

Beyond the beaches in Pattaya

Located on the eastern Gulf coast of the country (approximately 100 kilometers southeast of Bangkok), Pattaya is described as a seaside retreat within a tropical wet and dry climate zone. For SUP enthusiasts and those who crave the thrill of other watersports, beaches such as Pattaya Beach and Jomtien Beach are explained as “heartbeats of leisure and adventure,” making them ideal additions to any itinerary. In addition to warm and clear waters, Pattaya’s beaches are perfect for a variety of water activities — such as swimming, jet skiing, and parasailing. For those who prefer a quieter time on the water for stand-up paddleboarding and other water-centric activities like snorkeling, nearby islands like Koh Larn make for an ideal choice with crystal-clear waters and tranquil beaches.

supconnect west coast florida erewrerwePhoto by SIC Maui | Paddling on the RS DF in Ko Lan a small Thai island off the coast of Pattaya.

The year-round warm weather isn’t the only reason why Pattaya is a great location for vacation SUP-ing. Supplementing your trip with some of Pattaya’s culinary delights is a great way to have a well-rounded experience. Street food is almost a culture of its own with authentic pad Thai to upscale restaurants that offer an array of options. Pattaya also boasts a wonderful selection of seafood. The Tourism Authority of Thailand highlights the restaurant Pupen Seafood Pattaya, a famous seafood restaurant in Pattaya that has been serving quality food at a reasonable price since 1984.

Our signature menus consist of stir-fried squid with salted egg yolk, steamed Pooma (flower crab), stir-fried Pooma (flower crab) with curry, Tom Yam Kung with young coconut shoot, crab meat roasted curry, garlic stir-fried flathead lobster, and many more.

supconnect west coast florida pexels nataliaPhoto by Bradley Prentice | Summer Day in Phuket, Thailand.

Exploring Phuket to the fullest

Known as the ‘pearl of the Andaman Sea,’ Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and features a variety of locations that are ideal for stand-up paddleboarding. Riverhouse Phuket lists a few noteworthy experiences, including Koh Kaeo Yai.

The paddle route begins in Ya Nui Beach and follows a rocky coastline to the tip of the cape, across the channel, which is about a 30 to 40-minute paddle each way.

From there, it’s noted that views include tropical features — like beautiful coral. Khlong Mu Dong and Nai Harn Beach are additional locations that make Riverhouse’s list. While Khlong Mu Dong is a tidal waterway, it offers an “engaging, unassumingly peaceful experience,” that leads to local restaurants fit for avid foodies. Nai Harn Beach, on the other hand, is noted to be one of the best locations for SUP-ing with clear waters plus the chance to stay in a clean energy villa (which offers easy access to the beach).

supconnect west coast floridaPhoto from Shutterstock | Beautiful Bang Pae Waterfalls in Phuket, Thailand.

Padding through your itinerary is no problem when in Phuket, as there is plenty to see and do. The Green Elephant Sanctuary Park is a great option for those who wish to experience Thailand’s elephants firsthand, while a visit to the 45-meter marble Buddha statue provides an up-close view of the religious icon (in addition to views of mountains and the Andaman Sea). TimeOut highlights additional attractions, including the unique and eco-minded Chalong Bay Rum Distillery and the Bang Pae Waterfall at Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. Whether you pick a few or do them all, there’s no question that you’ll leave with memories to last a lifetime.

Thailand is an unforgettable destination with its clear waters and picturesque scenery, numerous opportunities for excellent food, and vibrant nightlife. For SUP enthusiasts and beginners alike, several destinations are worth adding to the itinerary — from Kwai River to Pattaya and beyond.

Last modified onTuesday, 21 May 2024 17:35
Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an experience freelance writer who specializes in food and nutrition. Working in fitness marketing previously gave her a good feel for the industry and since going freelance she has been able to explore her preferred topic areas such as diet, nutrition and food. Outside of work, Jen enjoys traveling, swimming and spending time with her young family.

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