Top 5 “learn something new” Thai holidays

Thailand is a wonderful destination for a holiday with beaches, stunning scenery, mountains, great food and friendly people.

But have you ever thought about combining a holiday in Thailand with learning something new? We’ve put together a short list of five activities which we think would add an extra dimension to any holiday to Thailand whilst immersing you in Thai culture for a truly memorable experience.

1. Learn to scuba dive

Thailand offers some of the best coral reef diving in the world. The Andaman Sea on the west coast is best dived from October to April, while in the Gulf of Thailand on the east coast, the best diving is to be experienced between May and September.

Scuba diving in Thailand. Photo credit: ©Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Beginners can choose from 400 highly-professional dive centres, offering internationally recognised qualifications from PADI, NAUI and BSAC. Krabi boasts the world’s second-biggest dive school and Koh Tao is the best place for beginner divers.

Any nervous first-time divers thinking about scuba diving in Thailand might like to read a great blog post written by Emma Sparks, winner of our #ThaiTales travel blogger competition last year, here.

The more adventurous divers can choose to go further offshore.  For instance, you can dive the remote Similan Islands from a beautifully-restored junk, and make friends with dolphins and get up close to sharks and rays.

Of course, if diving is not an option for you, then snorkelling is a fantastic alternative and great fun for all the family.

If you’re interested in learning to dive in Thailand, we’ve put together a list of top tips on our Thailand Reunited app on Facebook, here.

2. Learn Thai Massage

No visit to Thailand is complete without an indulgent visit to a Thai spa and having a therapeutic Thai massage. Seasoned travellers who have experienced a traditional Thai massage will tell you that the treatment can be surprisingly physical but the result is usually a wonderfully relaxed body and mind.

Traditional Thai massage. Photo credit: ©Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Thai massage originated at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok – famous for its reclining Buddha – and today the temple is still home to the Thai Traditional Medicine & Massage School which has been operating since the mid 1950s. Visitors are welcome to visit the school and try their hand at a diverse range of massage therapies. 

But you don’t have to stay in Bangkok to learn this relaxing skill. Thai massage courses are available across Thailand so why not do some research? Plan your Thailand holiday to include a Thai massage class or course – you could pick up a new skill that will impress your stressed-out friends!

 3. Learn Muay Thai

The ancient martial art of Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing, is the national sport of Thailand. If you fancy giving it a try, whether it’s an introduction course for fun, or taking the sport up seriously, there are a variety of training camps all over the country from downtown Bangkok to the paradise islands of Phuket and Koh Samui. Many camps offer the complete package, including accommodation and meals, so you can experience the real life of Muay Thai boxers.

Muay Thai training. Photo credit: www.discovertheotheryou.com

Muay Thai makes a brilliant workout because it employs both your upper and lower body. You use your gloved hands, as in conventional boxing and your shins to kick and block. But you’ll also learn how to relax, using the basic techniques of yoga and meditation.

Surprisingly, Muay Thai can be a family activity. Check out this blog post by Travelling  With Kids Travel Blog about combining a family holiday in Koh Lanta in Southern Thailand with learning Thai boxing.

We’d recommend you book your trip with a specialist travel agent so you benefit from their detailed knowledge of the available training options. Anuj Bahri of Trayvale Travel recently wrote a guest blog post for us detailing everything you need to know about learning Muay Thai in Thailand here.

4. Learn to cook Thai food

Thai food is loved by travellers – we love its huge range of flavours and textures, its freshness and even how it’s so beautifully presented. (link to Niamh’s guest post & Kay Plunkett-Hogg’s post)

Learning how to cook Thai food in Thailand is the perfect way to spice up your holiday and is a great activity for all ages. There are many cooking schools in the key centres of Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai in the north, so combining a Thai cooking course as part of your travels around Thailand is easy.

A Thai cooking school. Photo credit: ©Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Food writer Niamh Shields who runs the Eat Like A Girl blog, visited Thailand earlier this year and attended a Thai cookery school just outside Bangkok. She even got to pick her own ingredients before the class at a farm before learning how to cook a very spicy green curry. You can read her blog here.

You can find Thai cookery classes all over Thailand. Classes range from half-a-day to week-long, intensive courses suitable for individuals, families and groups. There are loads of cooking schools and you might find your hotel runs a course too – so it’s advisable to do your research before you book your holiday.

If you’re interested in learning how to cook Thai food, we’ve put together a list of top tips on our Thailand Reunited app on Facebook, here.

5. Learn Thai dancing

Classical Thai dancing is complex and beautiful to watch – so you might be surprised to know that it is possible to get an insight into this ancient tradition and even have a go yourself.

Learning Thai dancing. Photo credit: www.discovertheotheryou.com

Located in Hua Hin is the Vic Hua Hin arts & cultural centre, which offers a range of art camps, workshops and performances by a mix of local, regional and international artists.

The centre offers a variety of classes in traditional Thai performing arts, including Thai masked dance, Thai classical and folk dance, Satbatchai drums, and sculpture.

The centre is the brainchild of Patravadi Mejudhon, a famous Thai actress, director, playwright, and founder of the Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok.

So…there are just five ideas of new things to learn while you’re on holiday in Thailand. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve picked up a new skill on your travels through Thailand. Share your stories with us on Thailand Reunited