While many visitors to Thailand focus on the beaches, jungles, and cities, there are plenty of picturesque villages and towns to discover too. Many offer a great window into local Thai life as well as interesting attractions and activities. Add some of these charming destinations to your bucket list.
With Culture Trip, you can now experience the best of Thailand with a small group of like-minded travellers on our specially curated 10-day adventure to Northern Thailand or Southern Thailand.
Wang Nam Khiao
Sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of Thailand, Wang Nam Khiao is a stunning mountain town in Nakhon Ratchasima. Lush greenery and verdant vineyards sit near waterfalls, flower fields, and quirky farms, and there are glorious views around almost every corner. The area is also known for having some of the freshest air in all of Thailand.
Located in the north of Kanchanaburi province and close to the border with Myanmar, Sangkhlaburi is a top place to experience a blend of cultures and communities living harmoniously alongside each other. From beautiful temples and a long teak bridge to a glistening reservoir where the tops of submerged buildings sometimes poke up from the waters, there’s plenty to admire here.
A laid-back hippie hangout in Northern Thailand, Pai is a charming and popular riverside town at the foot of the mountains – and you can now visit by joining Culture Trip’s 10-day small-group tour of Northern Thailand. Originally a tranquil Shan market village, the gorgeous area now attracts many travellers looking for a beautiful spot to chill and explore. There are waterfalls, canyons, and hot springs close to hand, not to mention the huge weekly market (held every Wednesday) where people from different ethnic groups come to sell colourful and unusual handicrafts.
A town with a long royal heritage, Phetchaburi has many striking buildings along with some fascinating caves. Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park (also known as Khao Wang) and Khao Luang cave temple are highlights, while nature lovers will find plenty of interest nearby in Thailand’s largest national park, the Kaeng Krachan National Park. A short way outside of the town, the coastal province also boasts several quiet beaches as well as Cha-am, a beach resort that is popular with holiday-making Thais.
Chiang Khan is a scenic area in Northern Thailand’s province of Loei. Sitting alongside the mighty Mekong River, just across from Laos, the small town is peaceful with few international tourists. Traditional wooden houses line the river’s edge and vendors sell an array of local handicrafts and foods. Wake up early to watch a picture-perfect sunrise over the Mekong before taking to the streets to offer alms to monks. Visit historic temples and stroll alongside the river before watching a beautiful sunset.
Another northern gem, Lampang town is a top place to learn more about the ancient Lanna kingdom and immerse yourself in the northern way of life. Horses and carts still carry people around the quaint streets and there are plenty of old temples and other historic buildings in various architectural styles to visit. The Wang River basin is next to the town, and beautiful mountains and national parks can be found just on the outskirts. The pagoda-studded mountains of Wat Chalermprakiat, about an hour outside town, are well worth a visit.
Khanom is situated along the Thai Gulf in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The seaside area attracts few foreign tourists but is a popular holiday spot for Thais. There are several pretty beaches and bays, most of which offer terrific views of the ocean and nearby islands, and you can explore the quiet fishing village and dine on freshly caught seafood. Nearby caves and waterfalls add to the visual appeal.
Ban Mae Or
Ban Mae Or is also known as Ban Rak Thai Village (Love Thai Village). It can be found in Mae Hong Son Province and it is the last settlement before the Thai-Myanmar border. Nestled in the mountains, there’s a lake next to the village and local homes are built from clay and rice straw with decorative Chinese-style features. Tea plantations give a boost to the local economy and the village has a unique vibe.
Prachuap Khiri Khan
A small town in the province of the same name, Prachuap Khiri Khan boasts twin curved bays with soft white sands and a mountain that you can climb for splendid views over the surroundings. Foliage-covered karsts rise from the waters and two types of monkeys call the town home: cheeky macaques and the much calmer dusky leaf monkeys. There are several temples to explore too.
Koh Kret is a delightful river village close to Bangkok. Traditionally home to a pottery-making Mon community, it’s a great day trip from the capital to see a completely different way of life and enjoy a much quieter vibe. Quiet paths lead through patches of green and past small homes, and there are several interesting religious spots to admire as well as old kilns, pottery communities, and a thriving market.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.