When people think of Thailand, they usually paint their imagination with long, powdery beaches, historic temples, cotton roses, and feast on tom yum soup. Undoubtedly, all these are inviting symbols of the country for tourists all around the world. But there are many lesser-known and less-visited, but top small towns and villages in Thailand that will show you the “ethnic Thailand.”
To inspire you for a memorable and a soulful trip to Thailand, we have put together a list of the most scenic, visit-worthy hidden gems in Thailand. We bet you will not find these places on most itineraries.
This small riverside village is settled across the swirling Mekong waters from the Lao town of Huay Xai. It has a popular Friday market, lots of temples, and gorgeous sceneries painted by nature. If you are looking to explore Thailand’s top towns and villages, you must head to Chiang Khong.
Take a walk or cycle to the nearby Hmong village and waterfall. The track is a bit rough and steep; so better leave your motorbike or cycle and do the last stretch to the waterfall on foot for a pleasant hike. If you are looking for top small towns and villages in Thailand, head to Chiang Khong village.
Getting around: You can see the riverfront area on foot and get a tuk-tuk or taxi for the trip out to the bus station. Rent a bike or motorbike to visit local villages and drive along Mekong banks.
Major attractions: Wat Luang, the 4th Thai–Lao friendship bridge, Rin bar, Wat Phra Kaew and Ang Kep Nam Huai Chang
Ban Bo Luang
Ban Bo Luang is a picturesque village that is located over 100 km in the north of the eponymous provincial capital. Nestled between two mountainous national parks and Lao border, the village has long been linked with the salt extraction from local salt walls. That’s why it’s also known as the Salt Well village, one of Thailand’s top villages.
There are many natural places to explore in Ban Bo Luang. Visit Doi Phu Kha National Park to see some of the areas’ highest peaks while Khun Nan national park boasts a trail culminating in a dramatic lookout over Laos.
Getting around: To reach Ban Bo Luang, take a bus from Nan to Pua. Arrive at 7-Eleven and take the thrice-daily taxi that that terminates the village.
Things to do in Ban Bo Luang: Swim in the Mekong River, try Khao Soi Pa Orn – traditional soupy noodles, visit a Buddhist temple
Ban Na Ton Chan
This beautiful village is one of the hidden small villages of Thailand, located in north-central Thailand. You will see spiky red and green dragon fruits dropping from trees outside homes.
Local wisdom and passion are the charms of this village. Over 20 years, the village has created a fascinating history of local traditions and won many awards for its community-based activities.
Things to do: try weaving, biking on the streets, feast on Khao mao – a traditional sticky Thai dessert
Located an hour away from Chiang Mai, Mon Cham is a mountain farming community with amazing, sprawling flower fields. The local hillside tribe produces a variety of flowers using sustainable farming methods. They also produce cooler-weather veggies and fruits.
The flowers keep the hill cherry, colorful and tended while creating panoramic stretches across the village. Walk through the flower fields or visit the mountain-side café for a meal and experience an uninterrupted beauty of nature.
Address: Tambon Mae Raem, Amphoe Mae Rim, Chang Wat, Chiang Mai
Best time to visit: From October to February and the best mode of travel is a car.
Settled in Thailand’s mighty limestone mountains in the north, Chiang Dao is where expats come to escape from the crowd and noise of city life. One of the best things to do in this small town is climbing Doi Chiang Dao, which is Thailand’s third largest peak.
A 90-minute natural trail leads to famous Chiang Dao caves. Bamboo rafting is another amazing fun thing to do in Chiang Dao. Spirituality seekers should head to Wat Tham Pha Plong and less-visited, but gorgeous Golden Temple for stunning views around the town.
Other Things to do: trekking, rafting, soak in Pong Arng hot springs, visiting waterfalls.
Getting there: Take a bus from Chiang Mai, Hwy 107 runs 72 km north to Chiang Dao and then on to Fang and Thaton. The nearest major airport and railway station are in Chiang Mai. You can also rent a metered, air-conditioned taxi one-way.
Looking for hidden small towns and villages of Thailand? The province of Trang has made its place in our list due to its amazing mountainous interior, lush parks, and pristine and unspoiled beaches. Since not too visitors visit this gorgeous town, it’s undoubtedly one of the best hidden gems in Thailand.
Spend a day or two to explore this ‘real Thai town’ and local culture at their best. Explore wet and dry markets, visit the Clock tower, and local festivals in the town.
Things to do: Visit nearby islands for an exciting snorkeling trip, explore Had Chao Mai National Park othe n bike, enjoy nature at Khao Chong Wildlife and Conversation Centre
Getting there: Local buses run between Trang and Phuket, Krabi and even Surat Thani. Trains also run from Bangkok and other major cities to Trang.
Rangong is one of the top small towns and villages in Thailand. Rangong is a small border city with fewer crowds of tourists and hence maintains a quaintly Thai atmosphere.
Some of the most popular attractions of this town are bald hill, hot springs, Rangong canyon, and natural waterfalls. Moreover, Rangong’s off-shore islands also set spectacular scenes, especially Koh Phayam and Kam Islands.
Things to do: Shop at Rangong’s bubbly day market or sizzle up mouth-watering Thai dishes at the night market. Some other must-see places are Rattanarangsan Palace, Ngao Waterfall National Park and Punyaban Waterfall.
How to get there: Take a bus from Chumphon’s central bus terminal to reach Rangong. The Songteow is the best mode to get around this small town.
The scenic town of Phetchaburi is known for its long sandy beaches and mesmerizing natural beauty. Meaning “city of diamonds”, Phetchaburi will keep you busy enjoying no matter how long you’re staying for.
The main beach destinations in the town are Cha Am, Hat Puek Tian and Hat Chao Samran. The city is also rich in culture and history. You can explore beautiful caves, ancient temples and royal palaces in the town.
Other major attractions: Wat Mahathat Worawihan temple, spectacular murals of Wat Yai Suwannaram, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Mrigadayavan Palace
Getting there: You can travel this town by train or bus from Bangkok, which takes around 4 hours to reach Phetchaburi.
This small town is known as the “city of good people”, which is surrounded by tasty southern street food and colorful Chinese temples and Chinese shopfronts.
One of the most popular islands in Surat Thani is Koh Pha-Ngan. The island is famous for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and peacefully listening to sound of waves. Khao Tha Phet Wildlife and 210-meter above the sea level Nature Education Station are some of the city’s top views.
Things to do: nature walk, diving, city walk, feasting on seafood
Getting there: Air-conditioned buses run between Surat Thani and Krabi, Phuket and Hat Yai. Surat Thani International Airport is around 30 kilometres from the city by road.
Nestled in western Thailand, Kanchanaburi is a perfect place for travelers of all kinds, from history buffs to nature lovers. This is one of the must-visit top small towns and villages in Thailand.
The major attractions of the town are Kwai drift, Hellfire Pass memorial museum, Elephant’s World, Erawan National Park, Srinakarin National Park, and Wat Tham Sua.
Other things to try: Restaurants in Kanchanaburi serve popular traditional dishes like tom yum, sticky mango rice and much more. You must get into water sports and boat tours in Kanchanaburi.
Getting there: Bangkok and neighboring provinces are connected to Kanchanaburi by daily rail and bus services. There are trains from Bangkok Noi railway station two times a day for Kanchanaburi.
So, if you are planning a trip to Thailand, make sure you include these Thailand’s top towns and villages in your itinerary.