Discover The Hidden Thailand

Thailand​ is​ more than Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and​ Chiang Mai. in​ fact, there are a​ great many fascinating out-of-the-way places that regular visitors know and​ love, which you​ might like to​ consider adding to​ your​ itinerary when you’re planning your​ next trip to​ Thailand.

About 260 km outside Bangkok, the ancient city of​ Nakhon​ Ratchasima, also known by its historical name of​ Khorat, is​ famous for​ its several heritage sites that reveal the roots of​ traditional Thai culture. Once the gateway to​ the country’s northeast, the city was a​ major centre of​ the vast and​ influential Khmer kingdom, which stretched across much of​ Southeast Asia, between the 9th and​ 15th centuries. Life moves at​ a​ relaxed pace here, compared to​ the main​ tourist centres. Just south of​ Nakhon​ Ratchasima, in​ a​ lush river valley, is​ the delightful market village of​ Dan Kwain, well known for​ the fine quality of​ its ceramics and​ distinguished by the individuality of​ its products.

Near Nakhon​ Ratchasima, there are dense forests, mountains, and​ rivers with spectacular waterfalls. Khao Yai National Park, listed as​ a​ World Heritage site in​ 2018, undulates over magnificent mountain​ ranges blanketed by thick forests, and​ plunges down deep valleys with wild river courses. Wildlife is​ abundant and​ accessible and​ you​ can see elephants, tigers, monkeys, black bears, deer, butterflies, insects, and​ birds. this​ is​ an​ ideal place to​ spot a​ Hornbill, which is​ common​ in​ the park from August to​ September. you​ can even join​ tiger-spotting trips accompanied by park rangers.

The quiet riverside town of​ Kanchanaburi, about 130 km west of​ Bangkok, is​ another place where you​ can explore more of​ Thailand’s natural and​ historic treasures. Kanchanaburi lies next to​ the Kwai River, where the famous World War II bridge still stands (the subject of​ an​ Oscar-winning movie, The Bridge Over the River Kwai). It’s a​ poignant reminder of​ the hardship endured by those who were forced to​ work on​ the infamous Thai-Burma Railway. Natural attractions here include numerous lovely waterfalls and​ caves. The trek through the steamy undergrowth, to​ the stunning seven-tiered Erewan Waterfalls, is​ well worth the effort. your​ reward is​ a​ plunge into the cool, clear water beneath the falls, where curious fish nibble at​ your​ toes.

North of​ Chiang Mai, in​ the jungle wilderness, is​ Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. The national park, also of​ that name, presents some of​ the regions most exciting trekking opportunities. Best accessed by motorbike, due to​ the rough and​ narrow roads, Doi Inthanon​ is​ a​ mountainous expanse with deep valleys that contain​ a​ rich diversity of​ distinctive flora and​ fauna. Be warned that temperatures on​ the mountain​ top can drop to​ –8 C and​ the peak is​ often swathed in​ mist. Here you’ll find the prized red and​ white varieties of​ rhododendron, as​ well as​ more than 350 bird species, more than in​ any other location​ in​ Thailand.

Sukhothai, Thailand’s first administrative and​ cultural capital, established in​ 1257, is​ today a​ group of​ well-preserved ruins. During its 120-year golden period, the old city was known for​ its stunning temples, statues and​ gardens, and​ is​ now a​ significant historical focal point. The site is​ well worth the short drive out of​ the current city of​ Sukhothai, about 400 km north of​ Bangkok.

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