It’s no secret that Thailand is one of the most spectacular places on the planet.
If you’re looking for a trip that balances vibrant culture, immaculate beaches, thick, green jungles and dramatic landscapes, while surrounding you with history, it’d be tough to find anywhere better. Not least right now, with our amazing deals to Thailand.
What you may not be aware of, is that there are still many places to explore and discover, off the beaten track and away from the majority of other travellers.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t head to those well known traveller hotspots, like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan etc. — you absolutely should — they’re some of the most popular holiday destinations in the world for a reason.
However, try and really make the most of your time, and head away from the crowds to absorb Thailand from somewhere a little quieter. It will make your experience all the more special and provide stories and memories to keep you, and others, entertained for years to come.
Where to Find Thailand’s Hidden Gems
Around 30 minutess by boat off the coast of Phuket, you’ll find the paradise beach of Koh Khai, hidden away on the coast of Phang Nga Bay.
This golden lump of sand poking out of the gloriously blue Andaman Sea is a true desert island. There’s nothing to do except lie on the beach, or explore the small section of forest, meaning it’s probably not really the kind of place you want to spend a week. A full day here will leave you feeling like a castaway (safe in the knowledge your lift back to the mainland is right across the beach of course!)
Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine
Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples are the most famous and impressive sights in Cambodia. But, there is a rather striking example of Khmer culture right in the heart of Thailand too.
In the small town of Phimai, about an hour from Kohrat in Thailand’s northeast, sits Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer shrine. Hire a bike and cycle around the temple and surrounding area, which was built between the late 10th Century and early 11th Century and outdates Angkor Wat!
Prasat Hin Phimai Khmer Shrine.
Buried deep in Thailand’s north, on the border with Laos, is Nan Province. Largely rural, and full of rolling hills and rice paddies, Nan has a similar vibe to Chiang Mai, but is a land much less travelled.
In the hot season, you’ll notice huge numbers of long thin chillies drying by the road. Nan is famous for this, and it’s also what gives their local dishes a bit of a spicy kick!
Wat Phra That Khao Noi, Nan.
A peaceful haven from the craziness of Koh Phangan and the tourism found in Koh Samui, Koh Mak is a small, but perfectly formed, island paradise to the far east of Thailand, not too far from the border with Cambodia, in Trat Province.
It’s the perfect pit stop if you’re travelling between Cambodia and Thailand, where you can indulge in some serious beach time in completely unspoilt surroundings. There are only very limited beds for travellers on the island so if you’re looking for neon lights and fast food joints it may be best to look elsewhere…
Siam Bay, Koh Mak.
Khao Luang Cave
If you head southwest of Bangkok for around 3 hours, you will come across Phetchaburi Province and Khao Luang Cave.
Inside the cave is one of Thailand’s more obscure, and very well hidden, temples. A beautifully, atmospheric spiritual haven illuminated by a hole in the roof of the cave.
Khao Luang Cave.
Koh Lao Liang
Koh Lao Liang is a tiny, pristine beach island that is accessible by boat from the coast of Koh Petra Marine Park, in Trang Province southwest Thailand.
The island may not be completely barren of tourism, (there’s an eco friendly resort on the beach) but the environmentally conscious owners aim to preserve the island’s natural idyllic state by limiting the number of tourist per day. They also make sure that any building work is done with natural materials (no concrete here!) and no trees were cut down in the building process. If you’d like to experience a taste of Thailand in its purest, most unspoilt form, this is definitely the place to come.
What are your own tips for some of Thailand’s best kept secrets? Share your favourites places and experiences with others below in the comments box – don’t worry we’ll keep it on the down low…sssshhh!