11 Best Hidden Gems in Thailand
Everyone that goes to Thailand, falls in love with Thailand. It is hard not to. It is a magical country and the Thai people are so lovely, caring, and heartwarming. With so much to see and do in Thailand it is hard not to find your special place there. However, not everyone loves the tourist hot spots in Thailand, some prefer to get out and find the best hidden gems in Thailand.
If following the normal tourist route is not your cup of tea and you would rather get out and see some of the less-traveled spots in Thailand than you are in the right place.
Here I talk about the less talked about places of Thailand. Some of Thailand’s best-kept secrets.
These are spots that are not going to be over-run with loads and loads of tourists.
So if you are looking to enjoy some peace and quiet on your trip and actually enjoy the beautiful landscape that Thailand has to offer, then keep reading.
Also, if you prefer to spend your vacation in Thailand with actual Thai people rather than loads of backpackers. Then you are in the right place.
Here is a list of Thailand’s best kept secret places.
Best Hidden Gems of Thailand
We will start with probably the most known places on the list. Most people have heard of Chiang Rai, but most tourists never actually make it there. Probably because it is located in the northernmost part of the county, and most people visit Thailand to be in the south with the beaches and the islands.
Chiang Rai is not always the easiest to get to. Trust me though, it is worth it if you do. Especially if you enjoy the Thai temples. It is also located on the Mekong river, which makes it a great spot for anyone wanting to do a river tour down the Mekong into Laos.
This is by far the biggest city and probably the most probably on my list of the best hidden gems in Thailand, but I still feel like many people don’t know about it.
Compared to the other places listed on this list, it is quite large, but it is full of beautiful temples that are less crowded than it’s booming competitor city of Chiang Mai.
Looking for things to do in Chiang Rai?
2. Koh Mak
Koh Mak, is a small island located in the Trat province, which borders Cambodia. The island is named after the popular “betel nut” that is so popular in parts of Southeast Asia. This is the red bark that you will see locals chewing on throughout the day.
However, even though the island is named after the “betel nut” you won’t see much of it there on the island. You will more than likely notice the crystal clear blue waters and the white sand beaches that it is famous for.
This sustainable island is only 16 km and they claim to be one the safest places in the world. Since it doesn’t draw huge crowds of tourists, there is absolutely no nightlife.
It is a great island for anyone wanting a healthy and balanced holiday. That also wants to avoid the nightlife scene.
3. Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is a peaceful island located in the Krabi Province of Thailand. It is known for its beautiful coral-fringed beaches, mangroves, and rainforest. Yet it is still not over traveled with the tourists. Leaving it one of the best hidden gems in Thailand.
However, it is starting to grow in popularity, as Thailand is receiving more and more tourists each year.
It is free from big hotels and late-night partiers that are attracted to Koh Phangan.
If you are looking for late nights and the party scene of Thailand this is not your island.
Khanom is located in the Nakhon Si Thammarat Province of southern Thailand. It is a beautiful beach town that not many tourists know about.
You can very easily walk the beach and only run into locals. It also has some amazing sunrises and there are great local restaurants all along the beach to try.
It’s hard to believe that this beach is not packed with tourists.
Khanom is one of the best hidden gems in Thailand mainly due to its beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and the fact that there is almost no one in site.
Pai the sleepy backpacker town located just a few hours drive from the popular city of Chiang Mai. It is a small mountain town with loads of hikes and trails to see and do while you are there.
Along with elephant sanctuaries. It also has a thriving night market every night of the week, that everyone comes out for.
It is rare to eat in a restaurant here because the night market is full of such good and cheap street food.
You will also find souvenirs to buy and the night market has live music and cheap drinks as well.
Of course, you wouldn’t be in Thailand if you also weren’t able to receive a cheap foot massage when your feet get tired from all the walking.
I highly recommend Pai to anyone visit Thailand and plans on spending time in the north.
The road to Pai from Chaing Mai is a bit windy, so if you go get car sick take some sickness tablets beforehand.
6. Ton Sai
Ton Sai is a small little beach town located in the Krabi district of Thailand. Even though it is a beach, it somewhat feels like an island, because the only way to access it is by boat.
There is only one small road in the town and it does not connect to any of the surrounding areas.
Ton Sai is a hippie’s dream, a great destination for rock climbers, yogis, or backpackers.
There is no major hotels and only a couple of small hostels. It is a perfect secret spot within Thailand. The town is so remote that it doesn’t have electricity to it and runs solely off of generators.
If you are wanting to get off the grid on your vacation, this is the perfect spot.
Lampang isn’t so much a small off the grid location. It is actually the third-largest city in northern Thailand.
However, it is not a common tourist destination. Although there is plenty to see and do here. If you like bigger cities, but you want to avoid the tourist you should plan on checking out Lampang.
It is also a great stop if you plan on visiting Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai.
Nan or Nan valley is located in the northwest part of Thailand. It is very remote and there is not much to do here besides visiting the rice fields, but it is absolutely stunning and very peaceful.
It is also free from tourists making it one of the best hidden gems in Thailand.
Nan valley is surrounded by forested mountains and is very lush and green. There is a very different feel here than to the other northern parts of Thailand.
If you have the time and are looking for a spot that is out of the ordinary Thailand route, you should check out Nan valley.
9. Lake Nong Harn
Lake Nong Harn is located in the northeastern part of Thailand. It is made famous by it’s red water lilies that take over the lake, but yet it is still kept off of most tourist’s radar.
If you are wanting to catch the lake when it is in full bloom the best time of year to do so is October through March.
This is when the lilies are at their best bloom and make for the most instagramable posts.
10. Phanom Rung
Some of the fewer know ruins in Thailand, but are worth checking out. Phanom Rung was actually a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva and symbolizes Mount Kailash, his heavenly dwelling.
The temple isn’t self is striking similar to Angor Wat, but with fewer crowds and fewer tourists.
Not surprisingly it is located just near the Cambodian border. If you were planning a trip to Angor Wat, but didn’t want to hassle with the crowds, better to skip them and come here.
11. Koh Kood
Koh Kood is located in the Trat Province in eastern Thailand. It is a small island with only a total population of 2,000 living on the island, which is surprising because it is actually one of Thailands bigger islands.
To get around on the island you will want to rent a scooter to ensure you see all the beaches on the island.
This is by far the prettiest island I came across while I was in Thailand. It is amazing, and the beaches are stunning.
Be sure to check out Klong Hin beach when you are there. Probably my favorite beach that I saw in all of Southeast Asia.
Thailand is an amazing country full of amazing people and so many beautiful places to see and do. It’s hard just to pick a few. It is also full of amazing festivals, especially in Chiang Mai, including the famous Song Kran.