When most travelers think of Thailand destinations, the places that often come to mind are Ko Samui, Chiang Mai, or Phuket. In actuality, the land of smiles has a lot more to offer than just these three destinations. LeafCanoer, Kim Fish, recently shared her experiences traveling to Nong Khai in her leaf titled, “A Weekend in Nong Khai.” She describes how there is so much more to explore in Thailand, when you’re willing to go off the beaten path.
Like Kim Fish, we believe there is so much more to see in Thailand than just the top three destinations. Here are our picks for eight amazing Thailand destinations that you should put on your radar:
The city of Nong Khai lies in the north-eastern part of Thailand, along the Mekong River. Since local legend speaks of giant serpents, called nagas, inhagiting the Mekong River, Nong Khai is often known as the Naga City. Nong Khai is also located close to the Laos-Thailand border, and a popular attraction is the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which spans the Mekong into Laos.
The north eastern region of Isan, of which Nong Khai is a part, is worth spending a few days exploring. The region contains 20 provinces, making Isan the largest region in Thailand. The culture of the region is greatly influenced by Thailand’s neighboring country, Laos, and the region is most known for its indigenous folk music and food, which is quite distinct from the more commonly found central Thai cuisine.
Moving down to the western part of Thailand, you will find the town of Kanchanaburi, which sits 123 kilometers west of Bangkok. There is a lot of history associated with Kanchanaburi. The town is known as the birthplace of the Buddhist monk, Phrabhavanaviriyakhun. But more notably, it is the site of the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway. This railway, which also consists of a bridge, was built under the orders of the Japanese, who controlled the town in 1942.
Further south along the western coast is the town of Krabi. Several national parks are found near Krabi, and its proximity to at least 80 smaller islands makes it a popular destination for yachters, scuba divers, and snorklers. Nearby Ko Lanta National Park has a number of well-known diving sites. Kayaking and sailing are also popular activities for visitors to Krabi.
Another popular historic place to visit is the town of Sukhothai, which was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 1200s and 1300s. The name Sukhothai means “dawn of happiness” in Sanskrit, and is well worth a visit for its historic temples and monuments. The town has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.
If you’re looking for the perfect island experience, skip Phuket and Ko Samui, and head over to Koh Lipe. Located along the Andaman Coast in southern Thailand, Koh Lipe features beautiful beaches with clear and calm shallow water. It is still relatively unknown among tourists. Sea Gypsies occupy part of the island, so you can get a taste of the sea faring culture that permeates throughout this region.
If a more remote and rustic experience is more to your liking, then visit the island of Ko Chang, also known as Elephant Island. The second largest island in Thailand, Ko Chang has a wide range of wildlife living on its shores, including snakes, birds, deer, and of course, elephants. Jungle hiking is a popular activity, as well as snorkeling and diving.
CNN recently named the Trang Islands the next big island-hopping destination for Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why. With crystal clear waters and a number of small resorts popping up throughout the islands, the Trang Islands can be a nice retreat for those wanting to get off the beaten path. Islands within this island chain include Koh Libong, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, and Koh Ngai.
These eight under-the-radar Thailand destinations are the perfect places to have an amazing traveling experience. Since the country is still relatively inexpensive to travel around, you can easily have a world class adventure for a fraction of the price. Travel is about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. These Thailand destinations can help you do just that.
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