10 Lesser Known Amazing Things to do in Thailand
Thailand is a country that attracts everyone and it Is not hard to appreciate why. The country that nestles in southeast Asia has some fabulous scenery, excellent year round weather and some genuine culture. It attracts backpackers because it is relatively cheap, honeymooners due to magnificent beaches and smart travellers because it offers a little bit of everything. Regardless of where your interests lie, you can be confident that you can find something that appeals to you in Thailand.
The sun-kissed islands appear on most people’s radar but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some other wonderful, lesser-known attractions that perhaps deserve more recognition that they actually receive. We decided to delve a little deeper and find out just what we have been missing, looking at everything from ancient culture in the north to hidden away, tropical beaches in the south.
1. Chiang Mai
Thailand is a deeply spiritual country and this is evident wherever you travel. Every town and every city will have grand shrines and temples and brightly clad monks going about their business at dawn. Arguably, some of the best temples can be found in Chiang Mai, once home to the Lanna Kingdom. One of the temples that you can see from much of the city, weather conditions permitting, is Wat Phra That at Doi Suthep which sits at the top of more than 300 steps looking down upon Chiang Mai. Another popular temple is Wat Phra Singha, where you will find the revered Buddha image – Phra Phuttha Sihing.
2. Learn to Cook Thai Food
Thai food is something that appeals to almost everybody, even those that may have had a few reservations. Once you have discovered the perfect blend of flavours you will be keen to learn how to create these dishes yourself when you return home. Thai cooking schools can be found all around Thailand but once again some of the best are in Chiang Mai. Most classes start by taking their pupils to the market to find out what some of the hidden gems are. Learn how to cook traditional Thai dishes such as Pad Thai or Moo Manao under the guidance of an expert Thai chef.
3. Take in the Landscapes
Thailand has some magnificent scenery from jaw-dropping limestone karst islands of Phang Nga Bay to lush, colour that you can see in the north around Pai and Chiang Rai. The Mekong River gracefully winds through picturesque valleys in an area known as the Golden Triangle where three countries, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) all meet here. Here you will find Hill Tribes wearing traditional clothing, speaking their native tongue and basically conducting life in the same manner that they have for centuries. You may even see the Karen Tribe famous for their elongated necks and the cultural brass rings around their necks.
4. Sleep in Floating Hotel Room
The iridescent waters of the Cheow Lan Lake are the perfect place to take the chance of a lifetime and sleep in a floating hotel room. Located close to Phuket but they could be a world apart, you will find a certain elegance that isn’t overdone or overly glamourous but the tented lodges float beautifully in the very heart of the Khao Sok National Park. You will be surrounded by jungle and if you stay at the Elephant Hills Tented Camp you will get the opportunity to interact, feed and bathe the elephants as part of a relaxed canoe safari.
5. Walk With Elephants
Much of Thailand is covered by lush, green and dense rainforests that offer a truly magnificent hiking experience. As we mentioned, Thailand is awash with natural beauty and there are an amazing 127 National Parks in the Kingdom, all of which a brim-full with wildlife. Khao Yai National Park to the north east of Bangkok is particularly popular and you will find sunlit flooded caves and herds of elephant. To the south of the country you will find, Khao Sok National Park that is home to stunning waterfalls and forgotten islands that simply jump out of the many lakes in the park.
6. Go Diving on Koh Tao
Thailand, in general, is a real haven for divers and snorkelers but to find something that is just that little bit different means getting away from the mainland. The best kept secrets and fruitful archipelagos are found on boat trips from remote islands. Koh Tao, that is just a day trip away from Koh Samui is a perfect diving location deep in the Gulf of Thailand. Here you will find many species of marine life that have remained untouched by humans. Here you can dive to depths of up to 40 metres to take in the wildlife and corals.
7. Relax on a Chic Beach
Thailand is home to some simply wonderful beaches with golden sands, turquoise waters and towering palms all under crystal clear, blue skies in the glorious sun. The beach scene in Thailand is famous the world over and ranges from the parties of Phuket to the cool vibes of Koh Samui. If you want to experience something different however, something a little less spoilt, why not try Koh Lanta and calm and unspoilt destination with calm beaches that can make you feel like a castaway getting away from it all.
8. Take to the Seas
Thailand has some superb islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui and these are great places to stay and appreciate everything that Thailand has to offer. However, there are some unspoilt gems that remain under the radar and you can feel almost smug as you swim ashore. Must sees include Phang Nga Bay and of course Koh Phi Phi, famous for James Bond Island, white beaches and the jungle backdrops making it almost picture perfect.
9. Visit the Hidden Islands
All of Thailand’s island are magnificent but sometimes you just want to take in something just that little bit different. Koh Kood is a large island close to Koh Chang but surprisingly it sees very few visitors. The island has untouched beaches, treelined mountains and small fishing villages who until recently had barely seen western visitors. Despite being largely untouched, Koh Kood boasts some 5-star resorts such as Soneva Kiri that is arguably one of the best hotels in the world, not least due to its dreamy location and breath taking scenery.
10. Detox the Body and Soul
Your health is something that is taken very seriously in Thailand and the country is littered with excellent spas and health retreats. A perfect option is Six Senses Samui found on Koh Samui where you will find secluded villas where you can experience Thai healing therapies that have been perfected over 700 years. Ease your mind, body and soul and feel like a new you!