Perhaps the number one reason people come to Thailand is to run. After all, it’s a country that accommodates runners by having an abundance of scenic roads and trails running through forests, beaches, mountains, and city streets.
This guide will help you familiarize yourself with Thailand’s major cities, provide tips for setting up your training schedule and equipment, and give you a good idea of where to run in Thailand and what you’ll see.
Running in Chiang Mai is like running through a postcard. The Old City’s moat, one of many relics from former times, provides runners with 5K loops that are flat and easy to do over and over again. The other benefit is its proximity to random trails out of town where you can access some challenging, but beautiful routes.
The best part about running in Hat Yai is the people who are out every morning with their dogs, usually taking them on the half-hour or longer runs through town at various levels of intensity. It’s a very social place to run which is great if you don’t have a training partner with you. Also, check out Khao New Road in Hat Yai’s Old Town for flat dirt trails that start just west of the Chinatown gate.
A city is known for its riverside market selling gems and antiques; Chiang Rai also offers several dirt trails good for relaxed runs with the locals. The most convenient is through Wat Phra Sri Ratanamakosa on Rop Muang Road.
Hua Hin has a long stretch of road that goes from its western gate out to Khao Takiab where you can run at your own pace along the quiet beachfront with beautiful views of fishing boats and distant islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
At first glance, one might think it is difficult or even dangerous to run in Pattaya. However, the more popular beaches are lined with runners every morning — making for an unusual sight if you come from a Western country where beach running is simply unheard of. The best routes are along the eastern beaches, such as Jomtien and Na Jomtien, where there is a good stretch of flat dirt road running along the water.
Bangkok offers runners an abundance of places to run from forest trails in the New Territories all the way through to various options for coastal runs down to Bang Pu and Bang Saen. It’s also home to several parks that offer short loops with enough distance (and shade) for easy or hard workouts. Chinatown and Wat Pho near Sanam Luang can be good places to start your run in downtown Bangkok, while Lumpini Park is perhaps the most popular spot in the city for serious runners looking to do intervals on shorter loops.