Thailand has long been one of our top favourite travel destinations. Instead of flocking to the usual tourist spots such as Bangkok and Phuket, how about visiting somewhere different and undiscovered?
Head to these 9 picturesque & hidden spots in the Land of Smiles before everyone discovers it!
1. Northern Thailand
Surrounded by dense forests and tall mountains, northern Thailand enjoys a cooler climate compared to the rest of the country. For a long time, it was pretty much cut off from the rest of the world due to political issues. While it has since opened up, the area is still pretty rustic and retains much of its original charm!
a. Grand Canyon Chiang Mai
Less than an hour away from the city centre of Chiang Mai lies the unexpected and beautiful Grand Canyon Chiang Mai.
There are no insane crowds as of now, because the awesome landscape is still pretty much a local secret. So swim, sunbathe and cliff jump all you want in this offbeat tranquil space before others know about it!
Address: 244 M.3 T.Namphrae A.hangdong, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50230
How to get there: Be adventurous and rent a motorbike! Follow Google Map directions after keying “Grand Canyon Chiang Mai”. You can also arrange a red truck or taxi to bring you there.
b. Phu Chi Fa
This hidden spot is one of the locals’ favourite places to catch the sunrise, especially during winter from October to February. Because of its remote location and winding roads, it is still an undiscovered and secret spot to most foreigners.
Trek up the 1.8 km trail to the summit and be rewarded with spectacular and breathtaking views, particularly the sea of clouds at dawn! On a clear day, you can even soak in lovely views of the Mekong River and Laos.
Address: Amphoe Thoeng, 130 km from Chiang Rai city. Phu Chi Fa is a mountain located in the area of the Pa Mae Ing and Pa Mae Ngao National Forest Reserve. It’s in Amphur Thoeng in the Chiang Rai Province.
How to get there: 3-hour bus ride from Chiang Rai bus terminal at 1 pm.
2. Southern Thailand
Southern Thailand is a haven for many popular beach and island resorts in the country, including the original Thai paradise island – Phuket, Ko Samui and Krabi.
However, there are many more less well-known but surreal beaches and picturesque islands.
a. Railay Bay
Railay Bay is a narrow peninsula near Krabi. It is accessible only by boat. Known for mind-blowing views of the sunset, this small crescent beach comes alive in the evening. But not to worry, you will still be able to find your private space easily on this amazing beach.
Image Credit: Almond Beach Club
Railay Beach rock climbing
Rent a kayak on Railay West Beach from the resorts or right in front of Walking Street. Paddle out to the south of the beach towards the rocky coastline and you can glide through some natural cave tunnels for a fun thrill!
Witness the crumbling limestone cliffs by the bay that will be tinted with rich red and orange colours as the sun sets. Feeling adventurous? Challenge yourself by climbing these towering cliffs for a magnificent bird’s eye view of the pristine beach.
These are just some experiences that will surely guarantee an unforgettable vacay!
How to get there: Take a 15-minute boat ride from Ao Nang Beach in Krabi
3. Northeast Thailand
Northeast Thailand, or Isan as it is commonly known, is home to the best national parks in the country. Here are two fascinating sites in Ko Chang – Thailand’s third largest island. You’ve got to discover it before everyone else does!
a. Koh Chang’s waterfalls
Koh Chang is famous for its waterfalls. One of the better and hidden ones is Kai Bae. Tourists may flock to the other waterfalls, but Kai Bae is a well-kept secret of Koh Chang’s local residents and long term expatriates.
It cannot be found on the tourist map, but good news: the waterfalls is relatively easy to access! Free for all to enter, this hidden waterfall is just 30 minutes from the beach!
The best time to visit is from May to November, where there will be enough water plunging from the top to the plunge pool below. Enjoy the refreshing swim and create memories with your loved ones.
How to get there: It’s so undiscovered, it deserves better directions.
Start your walk at the 7-eleven opposite the entrance to Kai Bae Hut. Take the dirt road leading inland, passing by workers’ homes on the right and Sanook Sanag Resort on the left. Following, you will see the laundry for Sea View Resort on your left.
The dirt road now meanders through a pomelo field, passing by the water tower on your right. A few hundred metres further on, look for a stone walled compound about 50 metres off the road on your left.
Another few hundred metres and you will come to a paved road with a couple of bungalows and a concrete sign in Thai. Look out for a sign in English pointing the way to the footpath leading to the waterfall shortly.
4. Western Thailand
Characterised by high mountains and steep river valleys. Western Thailand is home to most of the country’s less-disturbed forest areas. If you are seeking an adventure after your usual shopping haunt in Bangkok, head to Kanchanaburi. It’s just a 3 hours’ drive from the capital city, and the Thais believe it is one of the most beautiful provinces in the country!
a. Srinakarin National Park
Featuring natural waterfalls, hot springs, and caves, the Srinakarin National Park spans a total area of 1,532 square km. Furthermore, the lush deciduous forest is filled with abundant native wildlife such as leopard cat, slow loris and civets.
Do not forget to check out one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand – the breathtaking 7-level Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall!
How to get there:
By Boat: Charter a boat at Mong Krathae Pier or Tha Kradan Pier, 12 km from the intersection leading to Srinagarindra Dam. It costs 1,500 THB (10 persons) to 3000 THB (30 persons). Upon arrival at Huai Mae Khamin Pier, walk for about 200 metres to the waterfall.
By Bus: Take a Song Thaeo from Wat Thung Lat Ya in Amphoe Mueang passing Ban Ton Maphrao, Ban Nam Mut, Phut Ta Sian and Namtok Huai Mae Khamin. The bus departs at noon and is about 4 hours’ ride. (Note: Departure time subject to change.)
Admission fee: 300 THB for adults, 200 THB for children
b. Elephant’s World
At Elephant’s World, it’s you who will be working for the elephants, not the other way around!
How is this possible? Elephant’s World is a non-profit elephant refuge that offers an interesting and responsible alternative to the usual tourist elephant camps. Functioning like a “retirement home”, the village houses sick, old, disabled, abused and rescued elephants within the jungle-clad mountains by the River Kwai.
Led by a volunteer guide, you can help take care of Elephants by gathering food, feeding and bathing them. The idyllic environment allows visitors plenty of time and space for intimate encounters with the elephants. Enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience that brings you up close to the lovely animal.
Leave the camp feeling great that you have done something good for the elephants rather than harm them. Moreover, we don’t get such experience in modern Singapore!
Address: 90/9 Moo 4, Baan Nong Hoi, Amphoe Mueang, Tambon Wang Dong, Kanchanaburi 71190, Thailand
How to get there: From Kanchanaburi, follow the 3199 road and turn at the intersection 38/1 for going to Nijiko Resort and Country Club – นจโกะรสอรท แอนด คนทรคลบ and follow the Elephant’s World signs.
With these awesome hidden spots in Thailand so close to Singapore, it seems like your next mind-blowing vacation neither needs to be far away nor expensive!
Rather, what you need is an open mind! Furthermore, there’s so much to do in each of these secret places in Thailand.
You don’t even need to spend big bucks or endure long exhausting flights that sap your energy before you reach paradise! Head to these surreal places before they get too crowded for comfort.
Also, read Singapore’s 63 Islands! Here Are 6 Islands You Can Visit To Get Away From The Crowd!