Secret Places in Thailand you didn’t know existed
We have below some lesser known places in Thailand that are absolutely amazing. We have picked places that are not too difficult for you to reach and nor ones that have no tourist infrastructure. Infact we would say in a few years these places might become a lot busier so plan a trip here before the secret is out!
What many consider offbeat or lesser known actually features on our regular itineraries. Places like Ayutthaya and Knachanaburi from Bangkok or Koh Phangan and Ko Tao from Koh Samui have been a part of CustomHolidays itineraries from conception. What we have below is not necessarily too far flung but practical and doable.
For those of you who feel Phuket and Krabi are too commercialized head further south to Ko Lanta. The island is known to have the best beaches in Thailand and also makes a good base for island hopping to smaller islands around it which are even less explored. Local longtail boats can take you to explore these virgin isles. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also great here. Koh Lanta also has some really good 5 star luxury resorts at extremely affordable prices and is only 2 hrs away from Krabi airport.
Why Go: For luxury resorts at amazing prices and unbelievable locations.
What was once a domain of Sea Gypsies and pirates is today seeing fast development to accommodate more and more tourists finding out about this lesser known jewel of Thailand. Koh Lipe is an island located more towards the Malaysian border and so it sees many tourists arrive from Malaysia as well. It takes 3 hours by boat from Koh Lanta. You can also get a boat from Phuket, Phi Phi or Krabi to reach Koh Lipe.
Koh Lipe is really popular with those interested in diving and snorkeling. You wont find 5 star resorts here but many comfortable accommodation options and a few 4 star hotels. The island also has nice treks, 3 big beaches, many restaurants and basic shopping like pharmacies and stores selling beach essentials. There are many dive schools and a decent nightlife. The sunsets and sunrises are a near spiritual experience here. Come before this little island paradise is ruined by hoards of tourists.
Why Go: For amazing scuba diving and small island feel
Sukhothai was Thailand’s first ancient capital and today has many UNESCO world heritage structures. Located north of Bangkok and south of Chiang Mai, due to its location it get overlooked by many tourists.
The best thing to do in Sukothai is to cycle around the 200 historical sites and temples located amidst trees, ponds, paddies and village all forming the Sukhothai Historical Park. It takes a good 7-8 hours to reach here from Bangkok by train of Bus.
Why Go: To see cultural and rural Thailand where few venture
Similan and Surin islands
First a disclaimer, these islands can only be explored on a liveaboard boat. They offer some of the best scuba diving in Thailand but are not accessible from the mainland. Maybe that is the reason they remain so beautiful. Consider exploring these only if you are a serious scuba diver and willing to live on a boat and dive a lot.
Why Go: For Scuba Diving.
Koh Chang, Ko Kut & surrounding smaller islands
Koh Chang is Thailand’s third largest island after Phuket and Koh Samui but nowhere as developed and bustling with tourist as them.
Because they can be reached by land +ferry from Bangkok they are a great choice if you wanto avoid another internal flight in Thailand. Now however with Phuket getting direct connections to many places most tourists tend to enter and leave the country from there.
Koh Chang and these surrounding islands are part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park. Ko Chang is the most developed and yet maintains its rugged and remote character. Here you will find jungle covered mountain peaks to sweeping bays, great waterfalls to flourishing coral reefs, beach huts to luxury resorts, Koh Chang has plenty to offer for everyone.
Ko Kut on the other hand is home to only 2 local fishing villages and luxury resorts like Soneva Kiri.
Why Go: These eastern islands form an island hopping holiday in themselves. Go to avoid internal flights in Thailand and for unspoilt islands with the right amount of infrastructure. A few nights in Bangkok + a few nights here and you have the perfect Thailand getaway.
Pai is hippie heaven and you will see many white tourists walking around with dreadlocks. Inspite of this Pai is liked by anyone who visits because one can’t deny how beautiful Pai is. Surrounded by terraced paddy fields, beautiful hikes, caves and waterfalls, Pai is postcard perfect. Add to this a plethora of restaurants serving western food, happy cookies and pizza and what is a sleepy little town by day by night you see many bars, clubs and live music restaurants.
Why Go: Because Pai is inexpensive and offers loads of natural beauty. Its like a remote hillstation but with all the infrastructure and access to all things you might need.
Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi
Considering their proximity to Phuket and Krabi its surprising these two neighbours have managed to escape mass tourism. These quiet islands are home to a few luxury resorts and some budget accommodation as well. They make for a sublime island getaway in Thailand and offer you a chance to visit all the places you would on a daytrip from Phuket or Krabi minus the loads of tourists.
Why Go: For peace, quiet and a relaxed island paradise minus the tourists and because it is so easy to get to compared to the other lesser known islands!
Khao Lak get an honorary mention as this section of the coast is seeing development now. However its not the prettiest nor offers good swimming, diving or snorkeling, afterall there is a reason why locals did not inhibit this long strip of beaches. It is however backed by the largest forest in Thailand but tourist infrastructure is lacking and not many options are present to explore the Jungle safely.