Who said you had to travel outside Thailand to tick off amazing places on your travel bucket list?

Thailand is brimming with hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Think white sandy beaches, pristine blue waters, tropical islands, mountain ranges, and plenty of green nature.

If you’re looking to plan your next weekend trip yet are a little tired of Phuket, Pattaya, or Samui, here’s a list of a few lesser mainstream places you should consider. There’s so much more to be discovered and to be experienced. Here are some of the most offbeat places to visit in Thailand that need to be added to your bucket list.

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A nature getaway to Pai

If a lush mountain scenery is your sanctuary, then heading north will satisfy your nature-loving souls. The northern region of Pai embraces the town’s temples and heritage, keeping the influence of Myanmar’s Shan State roots alive. Simply take a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then, take a 3-hour car ride from Chiang Mai to Pai. Whilst you are there, take a day trip to the Tham Los caves — quite an impressive one, too.

Scuba diving at Koh Lanta

Consider this a punch of untouched beaches and astonishing crystal-clear water that makes it the perfect island paradise. This blissful serenity is a domain of sea gypsies — coming a long way from being a luscious Thai backwater to a world-class diving sport attractive for both Asians and Europeans alike. In the mood to go on a hike through the tropical forests or kayak through dense mangroves? Why not — simply take a flight from Bangkok and get on a ferry.

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Witness the Red Lotus Lake in Udon Thani

Tucked away in the northern-eastern province of Udon Thani, during Thailand’s cool season we see a carpet of pink water lilies making its way. The Red Lotus Sea or Talay Bua Daeng is a beautiful sight. Whilst you can visit any time, the best time to visit the lake is actually from late November to February. Simply take a one-hour flight or an 8-hour car ride from Bangkok to Udon Thani.

Treasure the coral reef at Koh Lipe

If you are dreaming of a mesmerising tropical haven, Koh Lipe is blessed with two of the best treasures — beautiful white-sand beaches with coral reefs and jungle-covered hills. Koh Lipe is one of those islands that have never really been under the radar of tourism, but is probably the most priceless place to have it to yourself — not entirely, but somewhat. It also happens to be one of the most magnificent places for scuba diving as well. Simply take a flight from Bangkok to Hat Yai, and then from there by ferry or car for a total of a 4.5-hour journey. So worth it.

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Three countries within reach at the Golden Triangle

For a glimpse of the traditional life and to delve into Thai culture, venture out to the Golden Triangle where borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. It’s a place where you can witness three countries — a peaceful and tranquil area dotted with hill tribe villages and ancient temples and markets.

Cycling in the ruins of Sukhothai historical park

You would be missing out if you haven’t visited Thailand’s first ancient capital in the lower north of Thailand — Sukhothai. Whilst it’s certainly more attractive for nature-and-architecture-lovers, the old world charm and rural lifestyle is definitely a-once-in-a-while thing to experience when in doubt. Also, cycling around the laneways of Sukhothai historical park is compulsory. It’s a 7-8 hours ride from Bangkok by car or train, though of course flights are also available.

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Go ziplining at Chiang Mai

The blissfully calm city boasts everything from cool night safaris to a marvel at Wiang Kum Kam, the ancient city.  There are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Chiang Mai. If you are an adventurous soul, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun of the Flight of the Gibbon where you’ll be able to do the Zipline course in the Chiang Mai forest between natural trails and sky bridges.

Go hiking in Khao Yai National Park

Whilst we are well aware that Khao Yai National Park is the most visited national park in Thailand, it is also a magnificent place to hike. From mountain ranges to refreshing waterfalls, it’s a nice place for some me-time and to get away from the bustling city.

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Explore the hidden waterfalls at Koh Chang

An interesting blend of wilderness and a thriving beach party scene, Koh Chang has often been unheard of, but happens to be one of the most interesting islands in the south of Thailand. From the jungle trails to the hidden waterfalls, there’s so much to be explored in the picture-perfect white sandy beaches.

Alisha Pawa
Alisha is a passionate dancer and is always creating her own choreographies. She is a fan of rom-com novels, a coffee-drinker who loves tea, and is always on-the-go for her midnight chocolate cravings. She hopes to tick-off her never-ending bucket list one day by hosting her own travel show.