Thailand - off the beaten track

28/05/2015

Thailand’s many charms have helped make it into a powerhouse of tourism over the last 20 years. The lure of golden beaches, tropical rainforests and friendly elephants keep people coming back for more, year after year.

For those looking to get off the beaten track and see the real Thailand, the country’s popularity has become a little bit of a double edged sword. Places like Koh Samui and Phuket are thriving with foreign tourists and while they are great places to visit, they aren’t for everyone.

Of course, in a country as diverse as Thailand, there are still plenty of places left to discover. Here are a few suggestions and some handy tips for finding your own.

Talk to the locals

When in big cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, ask the locals where the best hidden secrets of the city can be found. Even in the most touristic areas, it is still possible to find unique cultural experiences and unknown places to eat without the company of other foreigners.

Do your research

Don’t just pick up a guide book and go for the first place you see, spend hours deliberating what you want to do and what you want to experience. For example, Thailand’s northeast area is hardly ever visited by tourists, but it is filled with the country’s native population. These are the places you must seek out if you want to really get away from the tourist trail. As specialists in multi-centre holidays, we will endeavour to point you in the right direction, whatever experience you are after.

Nan Province

While not completely off the beaten track, this area of Thailand’s north is much less populated by tourists than nearby Chiang Mai. In fact, it’s one of the best places in the country to get a real trekking experience without throngs of others tagging along with you.

Nan Town is a great jump-off point to explore the surrounding natural scenery. There’s just enough to keep you comfortable, including a travel agent to point you in the right direction and a few guest houses to put you up for the night.

From here you can explore the likes of Tham Pha Tup Forest Park, Sila Phet Waterfall and the village of Pua. The green, rugged terrain is dotted with small Thai villages where you can catch a glimpse of traditional life in the region. The best way to get around is by motorbike as it gives you the freedom to explore vast areas at minimal cost.

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

The “mountain with 300 peaks” park is blessed with natural beauty in almost every shape and form. First and foremost, the mountain range that dominates the region is absolutely stunning, but there’s also inland waterfalls, caves, limestone cliffs and private beaches that make this marine park so alluring.

The showpiece of the park is without a doubt the Phraya Nakhon Cave, which contains a splendid monument in honour of King Rama V. Located in the heart of a mountain, this royal icon is still visited today by members of the Thai royal family. As well as the cave, there are many trekking routes through the park that lead to waterfalls, private beaches and viewpoints.

At just under two hours away from Hua Hin, you can explore the park in a day before heading off on the next leg of your trip.

Koh Lipe

A tiny island reachable from tourist hubs Kho Phi Phi and Phuket, Koh Lipe boasts all the beauty of a perfect Thai beach without the buckets, neon paint and crowds. There’s a small village that you can stay in on the main island, or you can take one of the many longboats for hire out to the uninhabited islands that surround Koh Lipe to camp for the night.

The waters around the is amazing island are perfect for snorkelling due to the diverse array of animal life and the clear, warm waters. Other than that and the perfect beaches, there’s nothing much else. For now the island remains "off the beaten track” mainly due to its lack of action - it doesn’t really appeal to the backpacker scene - but it won’t stay this way for long.

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