As we near the end of autumn and colder weather starts closing in, it’s only natural to start dreaming of warmer climes. Travellers everywhere are running off to escape the winter chill, with the varied landscape of intoxicating Thailand being a prime location. However, there is one particular thing to bear in mind when visiting Thailand during high season… the crowds.
With so much beauty, sublime food and boundless sunshine to offer travellers, it’s little surprise that so many choose Thailand as their winter escape. If you prefer a quieter life though, there are plenty of undiscovered spots nestled off the tourist track, home to peace and tranquillity.
Khao Sok National Park
It may be located in Thailand’s Surat Thani Province – home to both bustling Koh Samui and Ko Pha-ngan – but Khao Sok National Park is anything but claustrophobic. This huge expanse of jungle is blissfully free from throngs of tourists, and as a result, is a stronghold for animal life.
Among the dramatic limestone mountains and towering trees dwell wild elephants, Malayan tapir, hornbills, monkeys and clouded leopards. You may even be lucky enough to spot a tiger!
It might only be an hour’s drive from Bangkok, but this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fascinating whisper among the city’s din. Pay a visit and you’ll find countless ancient temples: a humbling peek into a once-glorious city.
Ransacked and looted by the Burmese army in 1767, the temples turned to ruin, but have now been lovingly restored. Many even serve as fully functioning places of worship, their intricate carvings and depictions of Buddha captivating all who visit.
Koh Yao Yai
If you’re a fan of island living, Koh Yao Yai is your perfect peaceful getaway. Pristine beaches of soft white sand border azure seas and host mangrove forests, before the landscape gives way to traditional paddy fields.
With a handful of bars and restaurants peppering its coast, and small shops waiting close to the pier, Koh Yao Yai a reassuring reminder that traditional Thailand is never too far away.
Koh Lao Liang
This unassuming island is one of Thailand’s best kept secrets. Not far from Bangkok, this island of limestone cliffs and white sand beaches is accessible only by boat, welcoming more locals onto its shore than tourists.
Visitors can laze on the sand and listen to the lapping water, or don a snorkel and dive beneath it, to take in the unspoiled rainbow of coral. Keep a sharp eye out for clownfish!
Can you imagine anything more paradisiacal than a tropical Thai island housing 10,000 palm trees, a Buddhist temple and quaint fishing villages? Life is lived at a slow pace, making it the perfect retreat for families looking to escape the rat race. There is even a diving school, so why not don some scuba gear and explore an ocean world that none of you will ever forget?
Those with an interest in history won’t want to miss a trip to Kanchanaburi, a place made all the more haunting by the lack of hordes of tourists. Here you will find the notorious bridge over the River Kwai, constructed by allied prisoners of war and conscripted Asian labourers during the building of ‘the Death railway’ in WWII.
Visitors wishing to pay their respects can visit the Allied War Cemetery and Thailand-Burma Railway Centre Museum, before heading to the Wat Tham Seua and Wat Tham Khao Noi hilltop monasteries, to reflect.
Why visit busy Chiang Mai when you could visit its younger sibling, Chiang Rai, an modest city located just three miles away? Smaller, quieter and, in our opinion, a whole lot more charming, a trip to Chiang Rai wouldn’t be complete without heading over to Wat Rong Khun. Known as the White Temple, this stark and unconventionally beautiful building houses a variety of artworks depicting traditional Buddhist values, in a very untraditional way!
Whether you are looking for beach relaxation, natural wonders or emotive history, you will find it in Thailand’s unobtrusive treasures.