You’re probably already doubting whether this is even possible. Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in the world, how could it possibly be visited without the tourists in this day and age? Well of course, the aren’t many parts of this massive country that haven’t been discovered, but there are definitely quieter corners to explore that are still beautiful and still unspoiled. The treasures of the country like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Kho Phangan still merit a visit, they’re popular for a reason! But mixing it up with some of these gems will give you a well rounded holiday where you can relax and feel like you’ve discovered the real thing.
Stick around for a while in Nong Khai
This delightful town is right on the border with Laos on the Mekong River and the river vibes run deep here. It’s incredibly chilled out and used to visitors passing through on their way to Laos, but those who stick around are rewarded with a slice of the real deal. I taught english here for 4 months and can honestly say this town boasts the best food in Thailand. It’s located within the Issan Province which is a national mecca for food, so it’s no surprise. There’s a great Sunday market, Thai discos for the dancers among you and plenty of riverside cafes to relax in, so buck the trend and stick around to discover this hidden gem.
Head to Kho Phagan at anytime other than the full moon
If you come here when the full moon party is on, it’s complete mayhem. At other times of the month it’s a blissful retreat. The beach is certainly one of the best on the whole island (believe me, I’ve been around the island on a moped in search of the best beach several times), with crystal clear waters deep enough to plunge into, unlike many others on the island which are very shallow. For an even more relaxing trip to the islands, Haad Yao really wins the prize for me. This small beach only has a handful of accommodations, and the village is so small you might have to resort to eating fresh BBQ’d fish by the sea every night, poor you. If you want to explore, the next village Srithanu has some of the best food on the island (head to Good Time restaurant!), and of course the beach is supreme, hence it being my overall Thailand beach winner.
Try a beach town on the mainland
When people think of Thailand, they often think of Island hopping, which can be a delightful way to discover the beaches of the country. But there are lovely coastal towns to discover on the mainland too. Prachuap Khiri Khan is an excellent example. This tiny fishing village boasts a huge weekend street food market along the beach, a weekday market complex for those who can’t wait for the weekend, they’re seriously into their food here. There’s a temple overrun with monkeys to climb, a vast beach in the old army complex that feels like a mix between heaven and the Dharma Initiative (for any Lost fans out there). It’s truly a captivating town, we spent two glorious weeks here and loved every minute. I wrote a longer post about it here.
So there you have it, just 3 examples of ways to get off the tourist trail in Thailand and discover the real Thailand, there’s plenty more where that came from! Get in touch to find out more.