Are These the Most Underrated Destinations in Thailand?

by Kasem Niran

Horace Greeley, a prominent 19th-century writer, is often cited as having encouraged young men to “go west.” If he were living today, he might advise, “go off the beaten path, traveler.” It would be wise to take his words of wisdom to heart in Thailand, of all places.

Bangkok and Phuket are great, but if you want to see the world, you need to go out of those cities and visit somewhere picturesque, full of animals, or offering secluded beaches on less developed islands. Thailand is full of hidden gems, from ancient temples to sleepy fishing villages, just waiting to be discovered by the curious tourist. When you go off the main road, you shouldn’t expect five-star hotels every night.

10. Ko Yao Noi

Surrounding Islands of Koh Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand

Discover the serene beauty of the surrounding islands near Koh Yao Noi in Phuket, Thailand. Image source: Huw Penson/

While Phuket’s flash and glamor are just a half-hour boat ride away, Ko Yao Noi remains a largely untouched island in Phang Nga Bay. Though the island is home to a few high-end resorts, visitors can also find more affordable options. The “small long island” of Ko Yao Noi is mostly hilly.

Beaches suitable for swimming and snorkeling can be found on the eastern side of the mountains. Mangrove forests and rice flats can be found on the island’s western side. Ko Yao Noi also serves as a starting point for scuba diving courses and bay cruises to other islands. The tranquility of the island makes it a great place to kick back in a hammock and enjoy the sights and sounds of Thailand.

9. Khao Yai National Park

Heo Suwat Waterfall Khao Yai National Park in Thailand

Experience the mesmerizing allure of Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park. Image source: 24Novembers/

Khao Yai National Park is just three hours away from Bangkok by car, making it an ideal destination for those who wish to witness wildlife in its natural setting. Elephants, barking deer, gaurs, macaques, and bears can all be found in Thailand’s first national park.

About 300 different kinds of birds have been seen there, including the biggest hornbill colony in all of Thailand. In March and April, you can observe reticulated pythons, Chinese rat snakes, water dragons, and crested lizards at their most active. There are also camping and hiking opportunities, as well as a bat cave (home to three million bats), waterfalls (with Haew Narok being the tallest), and caves.

8. Phetchaburi

Phra Nakhon Khiri (Khao Wang), the hilltop summer palace of Thai King Rama IV, Phetchaburi, Thailand.

Delve into the regal heritage of Phra Nakhon Khiri in Phetchaburi, Thailand. Image source: Ben Petcharapiracht/

If you’re craving something sweet, Phetchaburi is the place to go. Desserts, notably the custard known as “khanong mor gaeng,” have made this Thai city renowned. Phetchaburi, the provincial capital of the same name, is one of the country’s first cities.

The city’s royal palace (Khao Wang) and a temple (a wat) are located on a prominent hill. The Khao Luong Caves are located just outside of town and are a popular destination for spelunkers. In one, Buddhist statues are interspersed among the stalactites, while an ancient tree stands at the center of the other.

7. Ko Kradan

Ariel view Ko Kradan Island, Thailand

Behold the captivating beauty of Ko Kradan Island from an aerial perspective. Image source: Oszibusz/

The Andaman Sea Island of Ko Kradan can provide a much-needed respite from your hectic tour of Thailand. Had Chou Mai National Park includes the small, narrow island of Ko Kradan. Coral reefs just off the coast of Sunset Beach provide excellent snorkeling conditions. Paradise Beach, the second major beach on the island, is not a suitable spot for snorkeling, but it does boast beautiful stretches of sand perfect for lounging or exploring. You can see the mainland and the surrounding islands from here.

6. Ko Maak

The many islands that make up the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park

Discover the pristine beauty of the islands in Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. Image source: Thomas Collett/

Ko Maak is one of several beautiful islands in Thailand. This beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand is close to the Cambodian border and has been called a tropical paradise. The beaches and sparkling waters around the island are equally stunning. Several rubber fields and coconut groves can be found in the island’s central region.

If you find that lounging on perfect beaches is becoming tiresome, you can always go snorkeling or drive around Ko Maak’s extensive reefs. Thai culinary and martial arts classes are also available. Bring plenty of cash since there is no ATM on the island.

5. Lopburi

Pra Prang Sam Yod - 13th-century temple in Lopburi, Thailand

Immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural splendor of Pra Prang Sam Yod Temple in Lopburi, Thailand. Image source: SRSST/

Lopburi, which is located around 90 miles (150 kilometers) from Bangkok, has been a popular tourist destination since at least the time when the Italian adventurer Marco Polo noted it in his book Travels. The city’s nickname, “Monkey City,” comes from the macaques’ reputation for eating crabs while roaming freely across the area.

There are several of these in and around the Khmer temples and shrines, which are also well worth seeing. Caution: These monkeys are known to pickpockets and will likely attack if they suspect you are carrying food. The Monkey Festival is held annually in November in Lopburi.

4. Phimai Historical Park

Pimai Castle, historical park and ancient castle in Thailand

Delve into the captivating history of Pimai Castle, located in a historical park in Thailand. Image source: Tungphoto/

The Khmer temples at Thailand’s Phimai Historical Park are among the country’s best-preserved. It has temples that are on par with those at Angkor Wat but without the hassle of tourists. Unique to this region is the fact that the Hindus constructed Buddhist-style temples with Khmer touches.

The majority of the structures in Phimai Historical Park date to the 11th and 12th centuries. The terminus of the old Khmer route from Angkor is Phimai Historical Park.

3. Ko Muk

Tropical beach at Koh Mook Island, Thailand

Discover the tranquility of the tropical beach on Koh Mook Island, Thailand. Image source: Tungphoto/

The bigger island of Ko Muk (or Koh Mook), located off the coast of Trang Province, is not easily accessible without advance preparation since only one boat runs daily. Here, you’ll discover the starting point for the low-tide-only cave of Tham Morakot, which is the crowded Farang Beach.

The emerald-green water in the cave is the island’s main draw. On the island, you’ll also discover several quaint fishing villages. The island of Ko Muk, also known as Pearl Island, is perfect for those who want a more relaxed pace of life. The majority of locals are Muslims; thus, tourists should follow modest clothing standards while not in beach areas.

2. Sukhothai Historical Park

Wat Mahathat Temple in the precinct of Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand

Marvel at the ancient allure of Wat Mahathat Temple in Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand. Image source: cowardlion/

Although it is often overlooked, Sukhothai Historical Park is revered by Thais as a holy site. As of 1238, it served as the seat of power for the Sukhothai Kingdom. There is an old wall and moat around the historical park. The park, located in northern Thailand, is home to 21 temples, the largest of which has 200 pagodas.

Despite their current state of disrepair, this medieval kingdom’s buildings still bear the marks of Khmer and Sri Lankan influence. Although the center area, which is home to many of the city’s temples as well as canals, ponds, and flora, is the most popular, it’s well worth your time to explore the other areas as well.

1. Ko Kut

Koh Kood Thailand Ko Kut tropical paradise isolated island

Escape to the secluded beauty of Koh Kood, an isolated tropical paradise in Thailand. Image source: Mattsociety/

The island of Ko Kut is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the coast of eastern Thailand, close to the Cambodian border (also known as Koh Kood). It’s one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, yet the only thing to do there is relax in a hammock and take in the views. Besides its attractive sandy beaches, this island is also home to a number of waterfalls, the largest of which is Kling Chao.

Snorkeling, kayaking, or a hike through the jungle are all great things to do if you find yourself with a sudden rush of energy. In addition, there are a number of charming fishing villages to visit on the island, such as Ao Salat and Ao Yai

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