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Thailand off the beaten path

With pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife, Thailand is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. Most of them choose to travel to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket or the surrounding islands. Although interesting, these sites are often victims of their success.

But do not panic, many places still unknown are waiting to be discovered. Do you like nature, authenticity and calm? Here are 7 sites to see in Thailand off the beaten track.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Photo credit: Paul Weeks Photography

Culminating at 2595 m of altitude, the Doi Inthanon is the highest park of Thailand. Covered with thick forests and exotic plants, it is inhabited by thousands of birds, most protected within a bird sanctuary. The park is also home to the Asian black bear, gibbons and the Assam macaque.

Located a hundred kilometers from Chiang Mai, it is the ideal place for hikers who can meander between rice fields and fertile valleys. Do not miss the many exceptional waterfalls . The most beautiful is probably that of Mae Ya which is 14 km from Chom Thong. Finally, you must visit the two royal pagodas and their gardens from where the view is absolutely fabulous.

The loop of Mae Hong Son

Photo credit: arcibald

And since you’re in the neighborhood, why not take the opportunity to make the loop of Mae Hong Son? From Chiang Mai, go on a motorbike or scooter for a journey of about 700 km through the northern landscapes. The route passes through fabulous panoramas, villages, small towns, caves and national parks.

From Chiang Mai, head to Mae Lana on the Burmese border before making a stop at Mae Hong Son . Enveloped in the tea plantations, the small town has retained a special cachet, thanks to the presence of a small Burmese community. Climb to Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu , the temple at the top before heading back to Mae Chaem , the last stop before heading back to Chiang Mai.

Koh Tarutao

Photo credit: butterforfilm

The somewhat sinister past of Koh Tarutao has helped to deter mass tourism in favor of Koh Lipe. A haven for pirates and a prison camp between 1939 and 1946, the island initially had nothing welcoming, between mosquitoes carrying malaria and shark and crocodile infested waters. Yet today it is one of the most beautiful sites in Thailand , still wild and authentic . Visit the crocodile cave then go to Koh Adang, facing Koh Lipe, but much quieter. On site, guests can indulge in scuba diving, snorkeling, sea fishing or kayaking.

Trang

Photo credit: xiquinhosilva

Located south of Krabi, the province of Trang does not experience the same frenzy as its neighbor. Preserved and authentic, it offers beautiful beaches, waterfalls, mountains and beautiful landscapes at much more affordable prices. The small town of Trang is the starting point for the islands and Hat Chao Mai National Park. Sites to see in this region include Ruen Yod Mai Botanical Park , Khao Kob Cave and Kuan Kaeng Hot Springs .

Sangkhlaburi

Photo credit: zhaffsky

Located in the west of the country, on the border of Burma, Sangkhlaburi is a small town where the Burmese communities and I live alongside the Thais. If you are looking for nature and authenticity, this place is for you. Get up early and walk by the lake, immersed in the mist from which emerge the 400-meter bridge that connects the two parts of the city, the boats and the floating houses. The welcome here is very warm, as you say that you will have a hard time leaving this place!

The temple of Phanom Rung

Photo credit: mauve55

The Phanom Rung Temple is an exceptional Angkorian monument located in the Buriram province, in the southern part of the Issan region, along the Cambodian border. This complex of Khmer temples lies on the edge of an extinct volcano. Unlike Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you can visit the site quietly, without being surrounded by crowds. Of course, the place is not as prestigious as its cousin Cambodian, but its atmosphere is very impressive.

Mae Salong

Photo credit: Fred Alix

Mae Salong is a small lost village located a few kilometers from the Burmese border. Founded by Chinese soldiers who left Yunnan in 1949 at the beginning of the communist era, the majority of the population remains of Chinese origin. In the vicinity are also two ethnic minority villages: Akah village of Loyo and Lisu village of Ban Haygo. The Akha consider Mae Salong as their capital, they go there to sell bracelets and bags made by hand. You will probably meet them at the ethnic market that takes place every day between 6 am and 8 am.

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Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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