By Sabrina Loh
Beyond the usual sites in bustling Bangkok, serene Phuket, and historical Chiang Mai, Thailand is riddled with hidden gems that are off the beaten path.
Although the Land of Smiles is well known for its full-moon parties, local artisan markets, bargain finds and mouth-watering street food, these best-kept secrets are just as (if not more) wanderlust-worthy and guarantee a lifetime of amazing memories.
The following are six hidden gems in Thailand that you should put on your radar.
Sukhothai Historical Park
This UNESCO world heritage site is home to the ancient historical ruins of Sukhothai. Sukhothai was the capital city of Thailand in the 13th century and offers a magnificent view of Thailand’s fascinating history. You’ll find ruins of this era, many Buddhist temples, royal palaces, the remains of the city walls, and the moat.
To get even more off the beaten track, take a day trip with a guide up to Si Satchanalai, a mediaeval city located north of Sukhothai, thought to have been built as an extension of the ancient capital.
📍 498/12 Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai 64210, Thailand
Pa Pong Pieng Rice Terraces
Bali? Nope. This little hamlet of rolling rice terraces is nestled in the mountains of Doi Inthanon National Park, right on the border of Laos.
The view here is spectacular and it’s one of the most photogenic spots in the country. You can also hike up Pu Chi Fa Mountain, one of Thailand’s highest points at more than 1442 metres.
📍 119 Ban Luang, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand
Yes, you can find a beach in Thailand that isn’t smothered with tourists everywhere! If powder white sand, blue sea, coral reefs, and lovely palm trees sound appealing to you, you won’t want to miss this.
Nui Beach in Phuket is a stunning 120 metre long secret beach that’s only accessible through a 3-kilometre hike through the jungle. Make sure to check out the Karon Viewpoint along your hike!
📍 Soi Laemmumnok, Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall
The enchanting Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand and you’ll often find it without any crowds. Located inside Khuean Srinagarindra National Park, there is no public transport to get there, so tourists often opt for the more easily accessible neighbour, Erawan Waterfall instead.
The cascading emerald waterfall consists of 7 tiers and is nestled amongst lush green vegetation.
📍 Si Sawat District, Chang Wat Kanchanaburi 71250, Thailand
Nong Han Kumphawapi
How does a lake filled with thousands of red and pink lotus flowers sound to you? If the answer is a resounding yes, check out Nong Han Kumphawapi. The blossoming of these enchanting aquatic plants begins in December and lasts till the end of February.
Nong Han translates to ‘unwalled’ and was originally built as a reservoir to prevent flooding in Bangkok. You can rent small Thai boats to reach the centre of the lake to admire the breathtaking phenomenon at its peak splendour.
📍 Tambon Chiang Wae, Chiang Haeo, Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani 41110, Thailand
Phraya Nakhon Cave
Hidden away in the depths of a cave is an ancient golden throne. Located inside Khao Sam Roi Yod National Park, you’ll have to hike over a small mountain before descending into a cavern composed of two sinkholes with collapsed roofs.
Inside, you’ll find a golden throne with a four-gabled roof, constructed in 1890 for the visit of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). The cavern was discovered some 200 years ago by Lord Phraya Nakhon (its namesake) after being shipwrecked in a violent storm.
Come here in the early morning for the most surreal effect.
📍 6246+942, Sam Roi Yot, Sam Roi Yot District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77120, Thailand
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