As a well-seasoned explorer or even as a new traveler, a few names always spring to mind when considering places to visit in Thailand. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and some of the neighboring islands are most recognizable and well sought-after destinations in the country.
We are known as Thailand Insiders for many reasons and listed below are just some of them. Beyond the city and just off our soft sandy shores, is a hidden wealth of adventures to discover within the country. Are you ready to explore something new? Today, our team is revealing some of Thailand’s Hidden Gems!
Get your itineraries ready and mark off which places you want to visit for those unforgettable Instagram shots!
Thailand’s Hidden Gem : RANONG
- Ranong Canyon is a nature lover’s paradise. After workers hit a spring, this former mine location flooded. Today, the location has been reclaimed by nature, filled with emerald waters, and an endless number of aquatic residents. The canyon is a short bicycle ride away from the Raksawarin Hot Springs.
- Rakasawin Park: Situated about two kilometers away from the city center are three hidden hot springs. The water is considered clean enough to drink here, however, we would recommend letting it cool down first — some waters in the natural springs can reach around 165 degrees!
- Punyaban Waterfall: Running approximately 60 feet high, this waterfall is a quiet and calming area for travelers and locals alike. The waterfall can be viewed close to the roadside from a bridge, or can be enjoyed by hiking the moderately steep nature trail wrapping around the waterfall, which gives plenty of space to meander and enjoy some serenity and views of the falls. Just make sure to bring your hiking shoes along!
- Ponrung Hot Springs: The area is home to both hot springs and cool streams of natural water, so no matter what your preference is, you’ll likely find a temperature you’re comfortable with.
- Homestays here can be relatively secluded and weave their way into the natural landscape with ease. Some of the most scenic may even allow you to experience the luxury of a flowing stream in your own backyard! That’s right, your own flowing stream, that’s something to brag about.
Thailand’s Hidden Gem: SAKON NAKHON
- Wat Phra That Choeng Chum: The temple holds some of Buddha’s disciple’s most precious relics. The temple exists as an intricate, powerful example of Northeast Thailand’s many temples.
- Kram Sakon: If you’re looking to grab some souvenirs or make some of your own, this is the place to stop by. The location operates as a storefront, cafe, and workshop showcasing Sakon Nakhon’s indigo dyeing workshop. Grab a pair of gloves and a clean white shirt, then get dyeing!
- Night Market: Here, you can have it any way you like it, as long as it’s indigo. On Saturdays and Sundays, shopkeepers convene on this mile-long strip to sell clothing and accessories from their respective communities, all of which are designed specifically with clothing or fabrics that utilize indigo dye. If there’s something you like – buy it because it is most likely a one-of-a-kind piece. You’ll be able to call yourself an indigo child!
- Tha Rae Village: Tha Rae Village is a historically Christian community established over 130 years ago. Founded with only 40 people, the quiet village is now considered to be home to the largest Christian population in Thailand and puts on one of the most elaborate Christmas celebrations in the country.
- Lotus Memorial Park: Regarded as one of Thailand’s largest lotus parks. The park rests just off of Nong Han Lake and offers recreational areas for visitors to rent bikes and enjoy the breeze while riding along this lotus wonderland.
Thailand’s Hidden Gem : SURIN
- Prasat Sikhorophum: Surin is a border town located right next to Cambodia in the northeastern region of Thailand. The region is home to a temple built in the 12th Century by King Suryavarman II, who also built Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Although small, the temple has an intricate design that shares an uncanny resemblance to those found in Cambodia.
- Satom Organic Farm: What’s fresher than farm to table dining? How about visiting the farm for yourself? This location grows seven styles of rice, and even has samples of Thai rice wines to enjoy.
- Banchamek Gym: Surin is the birthplace of Buakaw Banchamek and Tony Jaa, better known in Thailand as Jaa Phenom who are two of Thailand’s most acclaimed Muay Thai fighters. There’s no better place to get your sweat on and take an introductory class to Muay Thai boxing!
- Wat Buraparam: Dating back to the Thon Buri or Rattanakorin era, this 200 year-old temple is as old as Surin itself. The temple is best known for the sacred Buddha image Luang Por Phra Chi, located in the first of its three buildings. The temple is also home to museum of Luang Phu Dun, a famous senior monk who was once the chief of the Buddhist Dhammayuth sect. The museum includes the ashes of the famed monk, as well as a statue where visitors can pay their respects.
- Surin City Pillar Shrine: A stark red color standing against the rest of the cityscape, this shrine stands as a proof of the Cambodian influences within the province.
Thailand’s Hidden Gem : CHUMPHON
- Khao Dinsor Viewpoint: Yes, the view is beautiful, but here’s another fun fact: the summit is considered one of the top places to view migrating birds of prey during the summer months. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of these raptor birds pass the viewpoint in a single season!
- Sai Ri Beach: A quiet beach located in Chumpon, this area is considered one of Sawi District’s most beautiful beaches. Running about two miles long, it is considered one of the region’s more attractive tourist destinations, but this sleepier province still guarantees a quieter and more relaxing experience. Restaurants and hotels are available mere feet away from the shores. Talk about walking distance! During April, the beach also hosts the Songkran festival, which includes the flower festival and celebratory competitions held from daybreak to dusk.
- Khao Matsee Viewpoint: This region provides stunning views of Chumphon and surrounding areas. It’s best to visit in the afternoon to have a coffee and cake from the coffee shop, then sit back, sip, and watch the sun go down.
- Koh Ngam Yai and Koh Ngam Noi: This pair of beautiful islands lay an hour away from the mainland in Chumphon National Marine Park. The islands are entirely rocky coasts, but offer visitors great snorkeling and diving just off the coast. The region maintains a healthy and well-preserved reef thanks to its status as a national park and protected birds nest area.
- Koh Mattra: Abundant with fish around the island because of the underwater reefs, Koh Mattra is one of the shallow water corals and home to the beautiful sea anemone. What makes Koh Mattra different from another island? It’s actually a breeding center for giant clams, making diving experiences absolutely amazing.
- Chumphon Night Market: The night market is located in the central area of town, not far from the train station. There is a large number of street stalls which offer a variety of Thai foods and seafood, fruits, juices and shakes among other things. It is a good place to explore on foot. Try a new Thai snack, pick up a pizza, or enjoy a coffee at one of the many shops and street outlets.
- Thung Wua Luen Beach: Plenty of areas for watersports are available here. On clear sunny days, you can even see through the waters below and discover many coral reefs!
- Villa Varich: Local food and forests surround the cozy riverside villa. No need to travel, scenic lush greenery and the river rest just beyond your doorstep.
Thailand’s Hidden Gem : LAMPANG
Lampang is one of the mountainous regions in the north of Thailand, resting somewhere southward between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The region is also home to Doi Khun Than National Park, Thailand’s tenth national park, which forms a natural boundary between Lamphun and Lampang provinces. It is also known for the longest railway tunnel in Thailand, which runs about 1⅓ kilometers and takes five minutes to travel through! Certainly a length way too long to hold your breath for a wish!
Temples rests among the mountains here, like Wat Phra That Mon Phaya Chae. You are never too far from the water here, as the Kiew Lom Dam’s reservoir remains a perfect place to raft along at the end of the day.
The region is home to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, as well as Thailand’s only horse-drawn carriages, appealing to tourists as a quick way to get around town.
Thailand’s Hidden Gem: PHITSANULOK
Founded over 600 years ago, this region is fondly referred to as the city of two rivers due to the presence of both the Nan River and Kwae Noi River running through the city. This region will always be a special place but it might be a little less hidden soon because it’s getting more and more recognized and frequented by travelers! Take a stop at Phra Buddha Chinnarat to view what many consider to be one of the most opulent Buddha statues in the world. Also, if you’re in the area during March, you should visit the Khek river, and you might get a look at one of the world’s only freshwater jellyfish, which is a rare sight in itself!
TAT has partnered with Smartours to make it even easier to explore these provinces. You can visit here to find more information and view packages that dive headfirst into the adventures we’ve described here!