Finding the truly untouched spots in Thailand can be a challenge! Famous for its intoxicating beaches, world-renowned cuisine and the bustling vibes of its capital city, Thailand has long been a popular travel spot for gap year adventures and once in a lifetime holidays. It´s known for being one of the most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia, which might make you think there is no room for the discovery anymore.
While Bangkok and Phuket are on most people’s bucket lists, there is so much more to this beautiful country than the popular tourist traps. So, we’re here to reveal the most impressive offbeat places in Thailand, that will have you immediately booking your next trip!
It may look like it belongs in Cambodia, but this gorgeous temple sits in Ta Pek, Thailand. Equally as impressive as Angkor Wat, Phanom Rung is one of the country’s most incredible religious monuments. Yet, for reasons unknown, the marvel remains little-known to many travellers. As a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Phanom Rung is considered one of the most significant Khmer temples in all of Thailand. Built between the 10th and 13th centuries, the spectacular Angkor-style structure is dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva, and sits on top of an extinct volcano in the province of Buriram. Set inside a colossal historic park, the temple is home to numerous sanctuaries, monuments, and towers, and also plays hosts to an annual festival. Each April, when the sun reaches the perfect spot, light shines through the temple’s 15 gates – an event that is celebrated with traditional ceremonies, performances and fireworks. For its beauty alone, Phanom Rung is one of the best offbeat places in Thailand.
- Address: Moo 2, Ta Pek, Chaloem Phra Kiat District, Buri Ram 31110ç
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prasathinphanomrung
- Open: Daily from 8 am until 6 pm
- Admission: 100 THB per person
Blissfully quiet and incredibly beautiful, Pang Oung is reminiscent of an Alpine landscape, with a still natural lake, surrounded by dense forests that blend into the sky – in fact, many locals have nicknamed the area ‘Little Switzerland’. Located just a few hours away from Chiang Mai, this beautiful mountain village finds itself in remote Mae Hon Song. A peaceful lake oasis, Pang Oung is perfect for quiet camping getaways, peaceful hiking excursions, and cycling and fishing enthusiasts. An ideal way to escape the bustle of daily life and switch off from the digital world, a trip here wouldn’t be complete without a scenic stroll through Pang Tong Royal Forest, or a boat trip along the Salawin River. If you’re looking for truly untouched spots in Thailand, it doesn’t get much more secluded than this!
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- Address: Ban Rak Thai, Tambon Mok Cham Pae, Amphoe Mueang Mae Hong Son, Chang Wat 58000
- Getting there: Buses run regularly from Chiang Mai and the journey takes around seven hours. A minibus also operates from the Mae Hong Son Arcade and takes around five and a half hours for just 250 THB.
Forget the beaches of Phuket and step into the tranquil oasis that is Koh Tarutao. The largest island in Tarutao National Marine Park, Koh Tarutao is one of the most unspoiled places in all of Thailand. Offering pristine sands, calming turquoise waters and endless ocean vistas, this captivating isle is paradise in the waiting. Spend time lounging on the sands of spotless Ao Son beach before hiring bicycles and exploring the jungle that stretches to the shores at Ao Talo Phante Malacca. You can also rent a paddle boat from the National Park and spend the day kayaking through the mangroves of this spectacular island. If you’re looking for the very best of Thailand off the beaten track, then you’ve definitely found it!
From Pakbara pier on mainland Satun, catch a boat to Koh Tarutao. The journey takes about 30 minutes and boats run regularly throughout the day. Tickets cost around 350 THB.
Despite the fact they offer some of the best untouched landscapes in all of Thailand, the Surin Islands remain off most people’s radars. In many ways, this is a great thing, since the islands benefit from some of the most pristine shores in all of Thailand. Located around 60 kilometres from the Andaman Coast, the Surin Islands are reachable via boat from Khuraburi. The island’s crystalline waters and rich marine life make them fantastic for snorkeling and diving, while the island’s incredible local wildlife means adventurers can spot Water Monitor Lizards, Flying Foxes, Pig-Tailred Macaques, and nesting turtles. Buy hand-crafted wares from the sea gypsies that live in Moken Village and venture through Mu Ko Surin National Park to witness the island’s incredible natural landscape. Thailand off the beaten track doesn’t get much more awe-inspiring than this!
From Kuraburi Port take a speedboat to the Surin Islands, a journey which takes about an hour. Costs vary depending on your negotiating skills but could be anywhere from 1000 THB to 2500 THB.
Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat
Hidden on top of the limestone cliffs of Lampang, Northern Thailand, the white-capped temple of Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat is a true wonder of Southeast Asia. Thanks to a lack of public transportation connecting the temple to nearby Chiang Mai, this spectacular hilltop monument has managed to remain relatively untouched by tourism. Reachable only by motorbike, songthaew or car, the otherworldly temple is one of the most secluded spots in the country and offers wonderful landscape views across the Chae Hom District. Known as the Floating Temples of Thailand, these striking pagodas appear to be suspended on the peaks of the mountain. Installed by local monks some 10 years ago, this fine religious monument not only provides a quiet place for contemplation but the incredible panoramic scenery and a chance to get truly off Thailand’s beaten path.
Looking for more fairytale spots in Thailand? Take a peek at our guide to the most magical places this country has to offer.
- Address: Amphoe Chae Hom, Chang Wat Lampang 52120
- Open: Daily from 7.30am until 6 pm
- Admission: 200 THB per person
- Getting there: Chang Wat Lampang is two and a half hours’ drive from Chiang Mai by car. Alternatively, take a bus to Chae hom and then take a taxi. From the temple’s ticket booth a mandatory songthaew will take you to the top of the mountain. Ticket for this are 80 THB per person.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is located in the heart of Southern Thailand. This vast nature reserve remains one of the country’s most spectacular and unspoiled places. Cheow Lan Lake is enclosed by beautiful virgin jungle, secluded caves, and impressive limestone formations, making Khao Sok a rare and wonderful destination. Peppered with incredible natural flora and fauna, the landscape is home to some unique animals, including wild tigers. The greatest way to explore the park’s majestic landscape is to take an elephant safari through the rainforest or join a kayaking group to head down the meandering Sok River. Perfect for honeymooners or wildlife enthusiasts, this majestic park is truly one of the finest untouched spots in Thailand.
- Address: 2 Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250
- Web: https://www.khaosok.com/transportation-how-to-get-to-khao-sok/
- Email: [email protected]
Ideal for anyone wanting to get off Thailand’s beaten track, Loei is a beautiful mountain town on the Mekong River, close to Laos’ capital, Vientiane. Boasting awe-inspiring mountain scenery, the town is also home to picture-worthy flower fields, a relaxed capital city, and stunning Phu Kradueng National Park. Here, you can hike through stunning mountain scenery, canoe along the Mekong River and take in awe-inspiring waterfalls, sandstone cliffs and the unique shapes of Suan Hin Pha Ngam. The Phu Pa Po viewing platform is by far Loei’s most exciting focal point, offering uninterrupted views across the region, all the way to the Fuji of Loei, so named for its similar appearance to Japan’s iconic mountain.
Discover more of Thailand’s best small towns and villages, with our dedicated guide.
Take a train from Udon Thani, Khon Kaen or Phitsanulok and then take a Loei-bound bus. Buses also run from Bangkok and Chiang Mai to Loei bus station. From there, you can take a tuk-tuk to the centre of town for around 60 THB.
Koh Yao Noi
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Although it finds itself just 30 minutes’ boat ride from Phuket, the island of Koh Yao Noi is almost entirely untouched by tourism. Beautiful, quiet and laidback, this captivating island offers luxurious getaways from the crowds of mainland Thailand. Located halfway between Phuket and the Krabi, Koh Yao Noi (and its sister island Koh Ya) are world’s away from the buzzing beach resorts of the mainland. Here, life is far more slow-paced, with swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing being your only options for entertainment. If you head here, be sure to pack refreshments and essentials, because there are very few shops or restaurants in sight. So, if you’re looking for magical offbeat places in Thailand, add this tropical paradise to the top of your list.
Before you set sail, spend a night soaking up the beautiful atmosphere of Thailand from your own private, luxurious villa – each hand-selected by us.
Take a long-tail boat from Bang Rong Pier in Phuket. The cost is around 50 THB and the journey takes about one hour. Boats run every day at 9.30am, 12 pm and 5 pm.