Have you noticed that most of the travelers to Thailand tend to visit only the same popular places like Bangkok, Pattaya and beach destinations such as Phuket, Koh Lanta, and Krabi? These places have been drained of their charm due to overwhelming crowds and noise. Thailand is more than just Bangkok’s temples and Phuket’s beach parties. Look beyond the usual and you will see Thailand off the beaten track, a country that resembles the destination of your dreams. Here is a list of our top picks in offbeat places to visit in Thailand. You can also check this 3 weeks Thailand itinerary.
THAILAND OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: 8 PLACES TO ADD TO YOUR ITINERARY
1.What Rong Khun – the White Temple
While most temples in Thailand gleam with golden pagodas, Wat Rong Khun, commonly known as ‘White Temple’ stands out in contrast to other temples with its brilliant white structure. Located in Chiang Rai, the temple is also not a typical shrine, unlike other Thai temples. The architecture is quite unconventional and depicts motifs and structures portraying how it is necessary to overcome the cycle of death to attain nirvana. The bridge over a small lake with protruding hands, intricately designed serpent and creature statues and murals blended with Western stars such as Neo from the Matrix, pop stars like Micheal Jackson all makes it a highly intriguing attraction to visit in Thailand.
2. Sam Phan Bok – Thailand’s Grand Canyon
Known as the Grand Canyon of Thailand, Sam Phan Bok is a perfect place to fuse a bit of adventure on a scenic trip. Located at on the bank of Mekong River in Ubon Ratchathani province, Sam Phan Bok literally translates as “3,000 holes” in Isaan language and is the biggest rock reef in the Mekong River. Though it isn’t as impressive as the Grand Canyons of USA, this attraction is an unusual and interesting sight to experience. The rocks are carved into unusual shapes by the meandering river and you can come across terrains that look otherworldly and structures shaped like a dog’s head and Mickey Mouse. The surrounding areas consist of emerald green pools and gorgeous cascades.
Located in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand, set along the shorelines of Pai River, this quaint town is a paradise for nature lovers. Flanked by verdant mountains and gorgeous valleys, Pai lets you connect with the refreshing beauty of nature. The destination is a haven for backpackers and adventure lovers. You can enjoy the scenic vistas on a drive on Mae Hong Son Loop, trek around the nature trails to view beautiful waterfalls, hang around the town’s street and melt your stress away in naturally heated hot spring pools. The charms of this lovely town will definitely make you came back for more.
4. Koh Mook
While most of Thailand’s pristine islands have lost its charms to overcrowded tourists, a few still remain as untouched and recluse from the tourist’s eye. If you are wondering where to go in Thailand off the beaten track for a serene solitude experience, head to Koh Mook which is located 15 minutes away from Thailand’s coastline in the Andaman Sea. The white sandy beaches and emerald waters without the hordes of tourist make it a wonderful place to have an idyllic escape. You can explore the quaint villages, live like a local and even explore the stunning water caves. It is also one of the most budget-friendly places in Thailand where you can get accommodation and dining options within 1000 Thai Bahts.
5. Nakhon Ratchasima
Known as the “Big Four of Isan”, Nakhon Ratchasima is the capital city of Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand, Commonly called Korat; it is the sixth largest city in Thailand. Though the town is not as bustling as Thailand’s popular cities, the sights and attractions are something new to witness sans the tourist crowd. The city is filled with historic and cultural attraction such as Mueang Sema Historical Park, Phimai Historical Parks and stunning temples such as Wat Luang Phor Toh and Wat Ban Rai. This is an ideal city to visit if you are looking for a city other than the popular ones like Bangkok and Pattaya.
6. Koh Kood
Thailand off the beaten track hides places that are considered among the most beautiful destinations in the world, Koh Kood is serene and wonderfully idyllic. Live like an islander and get to witness a world away from modernism. This laid back tropical island has it all – the clear azure waters lapping softly in powdery white beaches, the verdant forests and, and the rocky cliffs. There are plenty of things to do here such as taking a hike on jungle trails, visiting the Ao Salat Sea Gypsy Village and taking a dip at Koh Kood’s stunning waterfalls. The serene sunsets and local seafood dining is some experiences that will be etched in your mind forever. Koh Kood is one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets but not for long as tourists have started probing for new island destinations in Thailand to get away from the already crowded Thai beach destinations.
7. Chat Nat bird park
One delightful way to enjoy your time with family is taking an excursion to Chai Nat Bird Park on your Thailand holiday. Located in Khao Tha Phra Sub-District, Mueang Chainat District, Chai Nat Bird Park Is one of the largest bird parks in Thailand. It is home to around 100 bird species and has a big aviary which is boasted as the largest one in Asia. You can witness a variety of colorful birds, some which are rare such as the Sarus Cranes and Green Peafowls. There is also a fish pond, a zoo, beautifully manicured gardens and man-made waterfalls to visit. This Thailand tourist attraction is a pleasant change from typical Thai sightseeings of temples and historic sites and is a delight for kids to spend some time watching colourful feathery friends.
8. Koh Tao
For those looking for a mish-mash of Thai nightlife, serene beaches, and an underwater adventure but don’t want to visit the crowded beach destinations, Koh Tao is a suitable option. Koh Tao is set in the Chumphon Archipelago located in western Thailand. The island has some of the most gorgeous and cleanest beaches in Thailand and Sairee beach is one of the popular beaches to visit for a lively and vibrant nightlife. There is no doubt that you can relax in laid back island ambiance of crystal clear waters and pristine sandy beaches, however the real adventure to look forward to here is an underwater world exploration through a scuba diving or snorkeling session. The water is rich in coral reefs and marine life and you can swim along with turtles, black-tip reef sharks, stingrays, and barracudas. You even come across ocean sculpture and sites of wrecks such as Japanese Gardens and Chumphon Pinnacles on a scuba diving experience. Apart from the beaches and ocean, there are plenty of viewpoints such as John-Suwan Viewpoint and Mango viewpoints that let you enjoy the views from the cliffside after a short nature hike through the lush forests.
Thailand is a perfect cocktail of untouched beaches, historically significant place and tropical countryside. If you’re still unsure if Thailand is the right place to start your journey to southeast Asia, read what are the top good reasons to travel Thailand. Applying for a Thailand visa is usually easy and hassle-free. Check this Thailand visa from Dubai guide to know more about it.