The place: Just across the river from the city is Prapadaeng, a Bangkok district sans big buildings, mass traffic and giant crowds. Step off the boat and onto the what feels like a tropical island miles away from the big city with all its lights and pollution. There you’ll find a few places to hike, including Bang Krachao park.
The trail: Mostly flat and well paved with some occasional elevation, so you’ll be able to get a light hike in. But you can go off the road into the wet, untouched jungles if mud and sweat are your bread and butter. There is also a little market nestled on the island, so you’ll be able to get your post-hike nibbles for a cheap price.
How to get there: The best way to get there is by water, with direct ferries taht take 10-15 minutes running from the Bang Na (BTS Bang Na) and Khlong Toey (MRT Khlong Toey) ports.
The place: This island located 20 minutes away from the city is cut off from the rest of Bangkok by the Chao Phraya River. With no cars and most walkways unpaved, you’ll be able to complete your hike in the fresh, clean air. The island itself is inhabited mostly by Mon immigrants who have retained most of their original cultures up until today, so you’ll also score lots of beautiful handmade ceramics on your way back.
The trail: Yes, there are villagers settled onto the island, but in the most part, it is still deserted, so you’ll be able to claim a quiet spot as your stomping ground. There is also one small paved trail that stretches for 5km for those who want to do a quick trek on a pre-made pathway.
How to get there: Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station and take the express boat with the green flag that runs every 20 minutes.
Nam Pha Pa Yai
The place: A little over an hour from Bangkok (or an hour away if you’re an aggressive driver) is the Nam Pha Pa Yai Camp, a sanctuary for folks who want to be outside without having to drive all the way to Khao Yai. Located just off of Ayutthaya, the camp is surrounded by two large limestone cliffs and filled with caves, real lush trees and wildlife. Although popular amongst climbers, as there are over 200 possible routes, you can also opt to partake in other outdoor activities ranging from the classic hiking to caving and zip-lining. While a day trip to the site is possible, you can also choose to camp there. Equipment can be rented but if you come fully-supplied, a camping spot costs B20 per night.
The trail: It’s a real jungle, y’all! That means you’ll need to bring comfortable, grippy shoes that won’t fall apart mid-hike, as you’ll be going up steep, muddy and damp hills and rocks.
How to get there: The fastest way to get there is by car via the Viphavadi Rangsit freeway headed north. Take the exit on the right-hand side leading to Saraburi.
Wat Phai Lom
The place: Located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River on the outskirts of Bangkok, this ancient temple is surrounded by enough mild slopes and greenery for a light hike. You can even go beyond the temple grounds to the peaceful villages, although there is so much wildlife to explore on the temple grounds itself. You’ll find yourself walking through a lot of palm-sized shells belonging to the endangered giant apple snails, as well as spotting a birdlife like the black-capped kingfisher, spot-billed pelican and black-headed ibis, that have migrated all the way from India to lay their eggs.
The trail: Flat roads with a mixture of dry soil, flat grass and dirt roads, although venture away from the temple grounds and you may stumble onto a little bit of elevation here and there.
How to get there: Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station and hop onto one of the green flag ferries headed north.
The place: Located in Samut Prakan, this massive park is home to replicas of Thailand’s major ancient buildings and monuments.
The trail: Although the structures have been scaled down, the compound is big enough for you to get in a light, flat-road hike. In terms of view, you'll be surrounded by imposing monuments instead of lush trees, although the greenery and nature still beats that of Bangkok's parks by far.
How to get there: Take the BTS to Bearing, then take a short cab ride to Muang Boran.
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The Ecco Yura is a shoe designed to be adaptable; equally suited to hiking, or kicking back after a hard day’s work. Receptor® Lite technology gives excellent multi-surface support and comfort, while a rugged outsole and Gore-Tex® layer makes it hardy enough to face any conditions. Available at Ecco stores at Central Plaza Bangna, Central Plaza Pinklao, Mega Bangna, CentralWorld, Central Festival Chiang Mai and online. For more information, see www.facebook.com/ECCOThailand and IG: eccoshoes.