Everyone wants to know where the best places in Thailand are.
I’d say there are at least as many best places in Thailand as visitors on my page. There are best places for every taste. If you want to see a sympathetic beautiful Thailand with old culture, original Thai food then you find it almost everywhere.
I can give you some trip suggestions which I like and enjoyed myself. My preferences are, not too crowded, not too touristic, a lot of nature.
Thailand is a big country and everywhere are great places to see. If you have only a little time, I would recommend to visit one area and enjoy all the things you find around there. To see the whole country you need a lot of time and do a lot of traveling.
I divide this Post geographically into five parts of Thailand:
It is probably the most popular stretch for Thailand visitors from abroad. Surrounded by sea this place is a real paradise for beach fun, snorkeling or diving. People from all over the world come here to have their fun time of the year. What many might never see is the beauty of nature and historical culture sights away from the coastline.
The Malay peninsula has great national parks and the oldest rainforest in the world. You can relax in the middle of the bush on floating manmade islands on lakes or do the rafting and hiking. A large variety of wild animals live in the deep forests and can be seen on guided tours in the many national parks.
What I talk about here is an area of about 90.000 square kilometers with 19 provinces starting below Bangkok with the Samut Sakon District and goes all the way down to the border of Malaysia. The distance from Samut Sakhon to the Malay border is 857 km.
The East is more visited by Bangkokers. You find wonderful beach resorts and lots of fruit production. It’s definitely less expensive and less crowded here than on the west side of the Thai Gulf.
Eastern Thailand consists of seven provinces and four bigger islands. The east side of the region is defined by the border to Cambodia. The region is not as interesting to visit as other regions but to drive around still is a beautiful experience. A huge swamp area makes it a bit difficult to explore the interior and the small streets had me lost before when I tried to reach Trat driving through the heart of eastern Thailand.
Not to forget, the famous old temple of Preah Vihear which is right on the border of Thailand and Cambodia. It is one of the most famous touristic sights but the owner of the grounds, Thailand or Cambodia is still not defined and accepted by both parties.
The beaches are more like straight lines, easy to access with cars and lots of shady parking space right behind the beach. Nice white sand with lots of shells invites to have a picnic along the beach and dip in the water when it gets too hot. Many resorts offer big rooms for groups of people for rent a few days or weeks. They can have several sleeping rooms and kitchen and porch and are within a one or two minutes walking distance from the beach.
For foreign tourists, the two islands, Kho Samet and Kho Chang plus of course Pattaya are the most targeted places here in the south-east.
This part of Thailand is unfortunately often underrated by foreign visitors and just traveled through to get to the northern parts of the country.
For me, I live quite in the center of this region, it offers a whole lot of opportunities to visit and enjoy the many attractions. There are old, historic cities and temple sights as well as natural regions one should not miss when exploring real Thailand.
Most of these places are mainly visited by Thai citizens and still remain quite original, that means it will be hard to find a Mac Donalds for example. The prices are affordable and the residents are not focused on making a living from tourism.
It is a huge area with mountains and lakes and rivers and for sure there are a lot of tourist attractions with the adequate infrastructure like resorts, guided tours or fun attractions like rafting and hiking to the many waterfalls or caves.
The second most frequented region by foreign visitors is the region around Chiang Mai.
The whole of the north-eastern part of Thailand is worth seeing though. It is surrounded by Burma and Laos and home of many wonderful national parks and temple sites.
The famous “Golden Triangle” above Chiang Rai has its name from being the opium trading center, where the Chinese buyers would buy opium products and pay with pure gold. The elephant trips into the jungle up there is still a magnet for many younger tourists from all over the world. I would say be cautious using or buying drugs due to heavy punishment by the Thai government. Possessing drugs makes you vulnerable to blackmail and can put an end to your trip in a second.
More exciting I find the northern part of the border between Laos and Thailand which is lined out by the Mekong River, called “mae nahm” by the residents which means “mother of water” or just kong, river kong. A boat trip on the mother of waters is a great adventure or just to drive along the banks of the river and enjoy a meal in one of the many fish restaurants along the way.
The region referred as Isan is due to its flat geographic nature the rice-producing region of the country.
It is also known to be the poorest region and therefore many Isan descendants are living all over the country.
The north-west is the home of many famous traditions like food, music, and handicrafts. It is also the home of thousands of expats preferring to live an easy and secluded life in the middle of nature.
The northern and eastern border to Laos is also divided by the river Kong, which by the way is the twelfth longest river in the world. It drains an area bigger than the whole of Thailand and stretches over about 4350 kilometers.
The border town to Laos, Nong Pai is a very idyllic town built along the river with a sympathetic downtown where you get foods you don’t see in other regions of Thailand. Nong Pai is highly frequented for its access to Vientiane in Laos. The Thai railway reaches this northern point and many visitors use the freedom bridge to get to Vientiane (A great place to visit and eat some good old French food) to renew their Thai visa.
Of course, there is a lot more to be said about the north-east of Thailand and here you will find what you are looking for.
Our unique guided trip to the southern Thailand
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