When you hear of a vacation to Thailand, the picture that comes to mind is white sands, emerald waters, and famous parties. But if you want to avoid the crowds and explore Thailand for what it is, read on!
Travelling to a tourist hotspot often means staying in the best resort in the capital cities. However, Thailand is much more than Bangkok, Pattaya and its other notable cities. Our list compiles Thailand’s greatest hidden treasures – its communities, to make your experience unforgettable and truly like no other.
Here are our ten unknown Thai communities to explore:
Sangkhlaburi brings to you a charming, rustic side of Thailand you would have never seen otherwise! WIth quaint wooden cottages and friendly locals, this intriguing province has a lot to offer.
The first stop on the list has to be the famous wooden bridge that connects the two parts of the city. From here, everything is within a few kilometres- be it the ruins of an ancient temple half-submerged in water or boathouses and kayaking along the serene waters.
Visiting the bridge during the morning gives you a mystical view of the scene, with the view covered by a thick mist that engulfs the entire city! Many minorities, including Burmese, are settled down in the region.
If Sangkhlaburi’s morning mists are a pretty sight, the foggy view of the mountains of Nan will be sure to take your breath away. A small town in the lesser-known Valley of the Nan River, this beautiful location is the perfect getaway from the throngs of crowd you see at the more commercialised parts of Thailand.
Home to the hill-tribes such as the Karen, Nan is also home to 7 national parks and numerous waterfalls! There is much to explore here. Even a walk through one of the trails or local routes will prove to be an excellent way to spend your time.
- Sam Phan Bok
Popularly known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Siam”, Sam Phan Bok is the Mekong River Valley’s biggest rock erosion. A continuous stretch of rock filled with 3000 holes, the Sam Phan Bok is quite the sight.
Created by rapids swirling underneath the water’s surface many thousands of years ago, this area is usually submerged for half the year. The Emerald Pool is a nearby attraction that shimmers a wonderful green. Plan an overnight stay here if you want to be mesmerised by the stars overhead.
- Koh Kret
Koh Kret, or the “pottery Island’ as it is commonly called, is a fascinating tiny human made island near Bangkok. Formed in 1722 due to the construction of a canal, the locals are predominantly ‘Mon’ ethnicity. This town is known for its striking, highly porous earthenware that has earned it its nickname!
Among some things you can visit on this day trip are the weekend market, the island’s fringes, and the pottery routes. The bustling weekend market is open on other days and is perfect for those wanting a peaceful and quiet shopping experience. Around the central area are small villages that are a nice getaway from the regular motorcades.
- Koh Mook
The perfect offbeat bay to visit is from the ones in Koh Mook. This area offers you affordable, laidback vibes that are the most secluded in the Trang islands. Having an entire beach to yourself isn’t uncommon in the nooks of Koh Mook. The best part is the shallow waters allowing you to go deep in, while only getting your knees wet!
The highlight of Koh Mook is the Emerald Cave. It is a dark sinkhole which hides the beautiful white sands waiting on the other side. To catch a bite to eat after swimming around, head to Miss Island Bakery- a cute French bakery. If you want something a little more filling, visit Sugar’s to have an appetising meal served by friendly waiters.
- Mon Cham
Mon Cham is a picturesque green terrace farming community, not too far from Chiang Mai. Climb up to the famous viewpoint ‘Mon Long’ for a view of the mountains from all sides. One can see the entire Royal Project as well as the ocean!
Farmers here grow rows of herbs like thyme, mint, rosemary, camomile etc. They also grow crops such as artichoke, plums, strawberries, and the native Doi Kham. Tasting the fresh fruits and vegetables grown in this high altitude is nothing short of a treat!
A sleepy shadow of its bustling counterpart Chiang Mai, Lamphun is the perfect cultural stop when visiting Chiang Mai. It is one of Thailand’s oldest settlements and contains several historical artefacts from centuries before.
Lamphun is famous for its Longan desserts and the silk weave flowers that make pretty souvenirs to take back home! Cruise across the Ping River or wander around the many temples and archaeological wonders this town has to offer.
Phetchaburi has it all -temples, shrines, palaces, beaches, and even cute shops! The one thing it doesn’t have are the crowds so you can walk around these streets exploring everything without dealing with the push and pull of the masses typical to the mainlands.
From the Khao loung caves to the royal palace-Khao Wang, this is an adventurers paradise. The first set of caves house many Buddha statues among the stalactites. The next is known for the landmark 300-year-old tree in the middle.
Check out this link for more fun things to do on a visit here!
- Nakhon Ratchasima
There are plenty of sights to see in the largest city in the Isaan region. This city encapsulates the chaos of Thailand without the tourists. A museum, national park, football club, and ceramic centres are just a few of the things it has to offer to the lucky visitor.
The city is even equipped with its fair share of markets such as Mae Kim Heng Market, the Night Bazaar, and Klang Plaza. Eating on a budget without compromising on the lip-smacking food is easy in Nakhon Ratchasima. There is also plenty of cheap accommodation available.
Umphang is one of the prettiest riverside towns in Thailand and can only be reached by the winding sky highway. Home to the biggest waterfall in the country- the Tee Lor Su- this village is also a short hike from some hill-tribe villages.
Soaking in the hot springs, kayaking on the white waters, caving, trekking, and swimming around to your heart’s content is a list of fun things to do in this little village.
These ten spots will have you an established explorer in the authentic culture of Thailand in one visit! Get out your best shoes and fun spirit for this hands-on experience through the less explored paths of Thailand.