TOP SECRET VACATION SPOTS OF THAILAND
Thailand is a favorite vacation spot for backpackers and seniors alike.
If you’re looking for a country that you can travel for weeks (or even months!) on end and never get bored, then Thailand is the place to be.
Yet, there’s one thing about Thailand that may not “wow” you, and that’s the fact that it’s often inundated with other tourists.
Many of Thailand’s “best-kept secrets” are no longer very well kept.
It’s become such a favorite in the travel world that you’ll almost always find fellow travelers accompanying you on your journey.
If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, you need to look pretty hard in Thailand.
That’s why I’m bringing you the secret vacation spots of Thailand.
In these places, you may not find perfect internet or ready-made tours, but that’s what makes these destinations all the more special.
They’re waiting for you to discover them on your own terms.
Ready to get started?
Thailand's Secret Luxury Island: Koh Yao Noi
Even in this day and age of information – travel books, travel blogs, travel podcasts, etc. – you won’t find an abundance of information about Koh Yao Noi.
This is still a secret vacation spot of Thailand.
The internet doesn’t have a lot of useful information, which often makes it all the more exciting for experienced travelers.
To get there, you’ll have to catch a boat from either Phuket or Krabi (expect to pay about 200 baht).
Once you arrive, you won’t understand why it doesn’t have the tourism that some other nearby spots do like Phuket, Krabi, or Phi Phi.
After all, they’re all close by.
However, the locals on Koh Yao Noi have no intention of letting their beloved home turn into a big party island for visitors.
And let’s face it, many of the islands surrounding Thailand have already become that.
If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink or have a good time on Koh Yao Noi, don’t worry.
However, you’ll find just an option or two instead of a whole street lined with bars and clubs.
For accommodations, guesthouses are popular.
Thailand's Secret Castaway Island: Koh Jum
Koh Jum is another small island and one of the secret vacation spots of Thailand where you can catch a glimpse of what “undeveloped Thailand” looked like pre-tourism.
It sits in line with Koh Phi Phi, which is widely considered the backpacker’s party haven.
This is where you should go if you’re committed to some real rest and relaxation on your vacations.
You won’t have access to the bars or the scooters like you would in Phuket or Krabi.
However, you will have a full experience with authentic food, snorkeling, cycling, and sunbathing.
You can arrive to Koh Jum via boat.
There’s a ferry, or you can pay extra for a speedboat.
Once on the island, most people will stay on the popular west coast of Jum.
This is where the beach bungalows are, and tourists often like to stay there.
However, if you’re pinching pennies, you can save money by going through the palm and pine forests inland and staying closer to the main road or the port.
Koh Nang Yuan, Surat Thani Province
Koh Nang Yuan is one of the best secret vacation spots of Thailand.
It’s a chain of three islands connected by a sandbar, and it’s owned by the same guy who created Chang beer.
Sound up your alley?
Well, this destination won’t come cheap, so start saving!
You’re able to stay at the single resort on the island of Koh Nang Yuan.
It’s expensive, but it means you’d have the beach entirely to yourself.
However, you can just do a day trip (and many people do).
You can hire a longtail boat and pay the small entrance fee (100 Baht) for entrance to the island.
Because it’s privately owned, they don’t allow plastic bottles or personal beach towels on the sand.
You have to rent a lounge chair and umbrella to lay on the beach.
Fortunately, it’s not outrageously expensive (only $4 USD).
The island gets crowded with tourists who are snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing.
You can rent the gear you need and head over for just a day.
You can also make the island your own if you really want to take advantage of this secret vacation spot of Thailand.
Thailand's Secret Isaan Getaway: Nong Khai
The Isaan region of Thailand has long been considered one of the secret vacation spots of Thailand.
It is located on the Khorat Plateau, bordered by the Mekong River to the north and east.
Often, too many travelers skip over the region on their way to Laos.
However, this off-the-beaten-path area can be worth seeing.
Head to Nong Khai – the most popular travel destination in Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region.
Nong Khai has beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, and forest temples that offer riverside scenery, affordable accommodation, and eclectic food.
Don’t just pass through Nong Khai on your way to Laos…make it your destination.
Here are some tips for traveling in Isaan:
- It’s a fairly laid-back region. It isn’t slammed with tourists, so you should be okay in terms of accommodations and transportations if you don’t want to prebook. However, it’s never a bad idea to have things figured out ahead of time.
- Consider renting a car. Just like Iceland is better when you have a car rented, Isaan is more convenient when you don’t have to wait around for buses or taxis.
- There are a lot of ex-pats. Isaan is filled with foreign English teachers and older ex-pats who may be willing to help you out. You can break into the local scene or even try couch surfing if you’re up for it.
- Have a plan for the national parks. Nationals parks are often far from cities and day tours can be hard to organize. For this reason, renting a car is often advisable.
- The language barrier can be tougher. I did say this is one of the secret vacation spots of Thailand, right? Well, because there are fewer tourists, fewer locals speak English. Be prepared for this language barrier!
Bor Sang Umbrella Village
If genuine, locally-made items are something that inspires you, and you’d like to see something made in a village where they’ve been doing just that for generations, then one of the secret spots in Thailand that you must see is the Bor Sang Umbrella Village.
Yes, that’s what they make there – umbrellas, and you’ll notice that they dominate your field of vision when you walk down the main drag of this small community.
You will find some tourists here, but not that many, especially when compared to the main tourist hubs in the country.
You can take a tour of the local factory where the umbrella parts are made and walk away with a unique souvenir or two from the merchants who are easy to find.
Erawan Cascading Waterfalls and Caves
If it’s beauty provided by nature that you crave, then one of the most breathtaking secret spots in Thailand is the Erawan Cascading Waterfalls and Caves, located in the Erawan National Park.
Once again, you will find some tourists here, but it’s not a place that’s overrun with visitors to the point where it becomes annoying or crowded.
Erawan Falls is named after the Erawan, which is the three-headed elephant from Hindu lore.
The waterfall has seven different tiers, and when viewed together many people have said that these falls resemble this mythical creature.
There are also four caves in the park that are truly something to see.
Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew—the Temple of a Million Bottles
Not all of the secret spots in Thailand are centuries or even several generations old.
The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew— which specifically translates to “Wilderness Temple of the Great Glass Pagoda” – is known as the Temple of a Million Bottles because that’s exactly what it’s built with.
Yes, it’s true.
In the 1980s, local monks grew tired of the litter that was constantly flitting about, so they decided to do something about it.
They put together what is known as the “100 Beer Bottles on the Wall” challenge, encouraging people to donate their used beverage bottles.
What they got was a stunning piece of architecture that’s built on a deserted burial ground.
The detail in the structure is breathtaking, and it’s well worth the effort to see.
You may not think of a resort as something you’d find on a list of secret spots in Thailand worth visiting, but the Baanphasawan in Ban Tai is a worthy entrant.
Yes, it attracts visitors but it only contains about 100 units, and what’s fascinating about it is that every unit is built in the form of some type of fruit.
Not to mention, about that “secret” variable, the resort sits almost 20 miles from the nearest city and at the end of a highway, so it’s definitely not a place where you’re going to encounter a lot of day traffic.
You can also enjoy a nearby waterfall and hot spring nestled among mountains, so you won’t lack for natural beauty that hasn’t been trampled by tourists.
There you have it!
Secret vacation spots of Thailand that are just waiting for you to visit.
Do you have any secret vacation spots of Thailand that I didn’t mention? If you do, comment below!
If you’re looking for more information on Thailand, check out The Ultimate Thailand Travel Itinerary that can help you get started on planning your trip.
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