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Thailand's smaller attractions and what to do there

Everyone knows about Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Krabi in Thailand, but what about the smaller towns? Getting out of the cities and off the beaten track is a great way to see more of the country you're visiting, so here are a few suggestions for places to go in Thailand that will give you a glimpse of another way of life.

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is roughly 3 hours northeast of Chiang Mai by car, way up in the north of Thailand. This city has many similar attractions to the major hubs, only without the crowds.

Take a look at Wat Phra Kaew, the city's most famous Buddhist temple. The Lanna style temple dates back as far as the 14th century and is a beautiful two-story wooden building that also houses a museum. From Chiang Rai, you can also take a day tour to the 'Golden Triangle', which is the intersection between Thailand, Laos and Burma. The trip offers gorgeous scenery and a stop at a hot spring along the way.

The Chiang Rai Clock Tower and Wat Rong Khun temple are also must-sees while in Chiang Rai.


Located almost halfway between Bangkok and Sukhothai, this town is very much in the middle of Thailand. The Sukhothai Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was once a Thai capital. It now showcases almost 200 reconstructed temples that you can check out for a look into the country's past when this area was at the forefront of Thai culture in the 14th century.

This area is positively overflowing with incredible temples and ancient buddha statues - Wat Sorasak and its elephant carvings, Wat Si Chum and its 15m buddha, and the massive Wat Phra Pai Luang to name just a few.

Koh Tarutao

Its very name is the Thai word for 'mysterious' and 'primitive', and it goes a long way towards explaining why it's practically unknown on the tourist circuit. This National Marine Park was once home to exiled Thais and pirates, and these days is known for being undeveloped and pristine.

The Koh Tarutao island is the biggest of 51 in the marine park, and is where you'll be able to stay in a campsite or bungalow and still enjoy the comforts of restaurants and other amenities. From there, you can explore more of the islands and their untold secrets in a place that still remains largely untouched by the outside world.