Budget Travel Guide: 10 Alternative Places to Visit in Thailand Other than Bangkok

Budget Travel Guide: 10 Alternative Places to Visit in Thailand Other than Bangkok

P.S. Some are even just a couple of hours away from the bustling capital.

Well-known and loved for its plethora of shopping havens, golden temples and floating markets, Bangkok simply cannot be missed when one is planning to visit the Land of Smiles. However, if you’re pining for an escape away from the constantly crowded streets and touristy gimmicks, then perhaps it’s time to venture further. After all, Thailand is so much more than its capital city and we are here to prove it!

For even more reasons to explore the hidden corners of Thailand, how about an awesome discount that will help you save on activities while you’re there? 

Here are 10 other places to visit other than the usual Bangkok on your next trip to Thailand:

1. Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai

thailand budget travel guide

Image credit: Klook

Chiang Mai may be the largest city in northern Thailand but it’s still a relatively quiet and tranquil place to venture around. Brimming with picturesque landscapes, friendly hill tribes and elephant sanctuaries, Chiang Mai exudes relaxed vibes that you can never find in Bangkok.

While you are here, be sure not to miss out on a visit to the elephant sanctuaries, where you can get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Have a go at hand-feeding them or even go for a little mud spa and bath session with them too!

Image credit: Klook

While gleaming and golden temples in Thailand are a given, Chiang Rai is home to the stunning Wat Rong Khun (or White Temple). Wander through the magnificent structure which includes nine buildings, a hall of relics and even an art gallery! If you’d like to have the grand tour, try booking Chiang Rai & The Golden Triangle tour, which brings you to the Golden Triangle (where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet) as well as other temples and attractions – including a boat ride down Mekong River!

Image credit: Klook

If you’d like to explore the jungles but are tired of doing the usual hikes and jungle treks, then try out the Flight of the Gibbon tour – which allows you to have a breathtaking view of the rainforest as you zip line your way through the jungle canopy! Who knew a forest adventure could be so much fun? Besides the zip lines, there are also sky bridges and abseiling courses that will get your adrenaline pumping. There is also Mae Kampong, an eco-village near Flight of the Gibbon, that is worth visiting. Experience rural Thailand and get a glimpse into the lives of the locals as they collect tea leaves or work out in the tobacco or rice fields. Seize the opportunity to have a cup of local coffee at the coffeeshops around the village and have a chat with the friendly locals. A visit to Mae Kampong is definitely a refreshing getaway from the likes of bustling cities!

If you have more time to spare, the Underground Gibbon tour is a 2D1N adventure trip that will take you from exploring the dark depths of caves to ziplining through forest canopies and frolicking in sparkling waterfalls. How awesome does that sound?

Klook Pro-Tip: Make sure to be properly attired when going on your adventure tours. Proper sports attire (and covered sports shoes!) are a must if you want to enjoy yourself to the fullest. Do remember to pack a swimsuit as well if you’re going to the elephant sanctuaries!

Want to save time while exploring this gorgeous city? Opt for a private car hire that will take you to where you need to go, minus the hassle of working your way around confusing train maps and charts or queueing up to get a transportation card. Share the cost with your group of friends; for a group of 3, it only works out to less than S$20 for a half-day hire (4-hour duration) or about S$35 for a full day hire (8-hour duration). How convenient and cost-effective is that?

 Klook even offers a top-up for a Thai SIM card that will help to keep you connected as you roam!

2. Sa Keow & Buri Ram

Image credit: Benh Lieu Song

Sa Keow and Buri Ram are provinces that are located east of Bangkok and are full of ancient treasures that history buffs would totally geek out over. While in Buri Ram, make your way to the Phanom Rung Historical Park where you’ll find Thailand’s rendition of the Angkor Wat, Prasat Hin Phanom Rung. Fun fact: this Hindu Khmer temple complex was built to symbolise the heavenly dwelling of Shiva (a Hindu deity).

Today, visitors enter to marvel at intricately carved embellishments and structures, as well as to cross between the naga bridges into the inner sanctuaries, which symbolises the passing from the earthly world into that of the gods!

Klook Pro-Tip: Visit Phanom Rung during the annual Phanom Rung Festival around April every year. On this day, traditional ceremonies and dance processes take place to honour the gods. There is definitely no better way to soak in culture and atmosphere than at a festival, where there’ll be light shows and fireworks too!

Image credit: Hanumann

Head to Ta Phraya National Park in Sa Keow to lay eyes on other astounding geographical features, known as Lalu (unique soil structures protruding from the ground). These “earth stalagmites” form from soil erosion and other natural phenomena and certainly make for interesting photos!

3. Khao Yai

Image credit: Klook

Have you heard of Khao Yai, a little town that is a mere 3-hour drive away from Bangkok? This quiet escapade makes for the perfect day trip or getaway destination, especially for when you’re tired of the hubbub of city life. Explore a mini Italian Town, numerous animal farms (where you can meet adorable alpacas) and even a Chocolate Factory. Get your cameras ready because the entire place is Instagram-worthy at any corner!

Can’t decide on where and how to visit all your favourite spots? We recommend booking a Khao Yai custom Tour from Bangkok with Klook. They will pick you up from the airport or your hotel in Bangkok, which means you don’t have to go through the tedious process of lugging your luggage and travelling on public transport (which involves two train transfers and one bus/taxi ride). Choose from various packages, customise your trip just the way you like it, sit back and relax as they handle the rest. All you need to do is show up and enjoy! Plus, these custom tours cost as little as S$54 per pax for a group of 3, or even S$18 per pax for a group of 10 – for a fully customised 12-hour tour. How’s that for getting your money’s worth!

Klook Pro-Tip: Don’t miss staying at the cute Lord of the Ring-inspired Hobbit houses of Ban Suan Noi while you are here!

4. Kanchanaburi

Image credit: (right) Roberto Faccenda

History buffs will surely appreciate a trip to Kanchanaburi, which is famous for the Burma Railway constructed by POWs during WWII. It will truly be an eye-opening experience as you spend two hours on one of Thailand’s most popular train journeys.

Another experience not to be missed is an afternoon spent browsing floating markets on River Kwai. Brush boats with the locals’ produce-laden boats and feel free to bargain to your heart’s delight!

Klook Pro-Tip: Have small change ready when shopping at the floating markets, and have them stored properly too… We wouldn’t want your wads of Baht floating into the river!

thailand budget travel guide

Image credit: Thai National Parks

How about foraging into Erawan National Park to explore the variety of caves and see the famous Erawan Falls? Take your pick from the variety of hiking trails and admire the flora and fauna as you trek your way through lush vegetation to the falls. As you make your way to the clearing, don’t be surprised to see the locals frolicking around the emerald-green pools of the sparkling seven-tiered waterfall. The pools are perfect for swimming in and you’ll even find fish in them too! Why not take your shoes off and have a little splash yourself?

5. Sukhothai

Wat Mahathat; Wat Si Chum | Image credit: (left) Tevaprapas Makklay; (right) Kittipong khunnen

Another place for those who love history and culture would be Sukhothai, which is most famous for its ruins of the ancient city. This UNESCO World Heritage City is home to many ancient sites containing temples and ruins, all of which comprise majestic historical sites that will fill you with a sense of wonder. Sukhothai remains to be one of Thailand’s more popular ancient sites, with many flocking here to get a taste of Thailand’s ancient civilisation and its raw, untainted charm of rural life.

Do visit the Sukhothai Historical Park for a real life temple run and be sure not to miss out the highlights here, which are Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Chum and the Wat Phra Pai Luang.

Klook Pro-Tip: For a novel cultural experience, opt for a homestay with the Ban Na Ton Chan community. This homestay community allows tourists to get a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals. 

6. Hua Hin

Image credit: (left) Klook; (right) Klook

For an exploration of nature’s best, go for the tours that will take you to visit the famous Pala-U waterfall or around a thousand-year-old forest in Kaeng Krachan National Park. Whether it’s hiking up trails, strolling through vineyards or taking a boat ride down the reservoir, the natural splendour of Hua Hin will certainly not disappoint.

thailand budget travel guide

Image credit: Santorini Park Cha Am

Who knew you’d be able to find little Santorini right here in Hua Hin? You can wander around the Greek-inspired surroundings and have a ball at the Santorini Amusement Park too! To get to Hua Hin, you can take a 3 to 4-hour bus ride or a 4-hour train journey. However, we recommend opting for privacy and convenience with this private Hua Hin charter, which only amounts to around S$30 per pax for a group of 3, or S$13.20 per pax for a group of 10!

If you can’t decide on where to go, try booking the Best of Hua Hin Day Tour tour that will help you make the best of your Hua Hin trip! This tour departs from Bangkok and will bring you to Santorini Park, Mrigadayavan Palace, Plearn Wan (a vintage shopping village), Hua Hin Railway Station, horse riding at Hua Hin Beach, before returning to Bangkok. For those that wish to spend the night, your guide can also drop you at downtown Hua Hin after the day’s activities.

Klook Pro-Tip: If you can’t get enough from shopping at Santorini Park, be sure to swing by Seenspace Hua Hin, Thailand’s first beachfront mall for more shopping and cafes!

7. Koh Chang

Image credit: Koh Chang Tourism

And of course, what is Thailand without glorious, pristine beaches? No need to go to Krabi or Phuket for a slice of island paradise when you have places like Koh Chang. Koh Chang, Koh Mak and Koh Kood are neighbouring islands – each one with its own gorgeous snorkelling spots and powdery white-sand beaches.

Image credit: Klook

Unleash your inner Tarzan as you scream your lungs out on a Treetop Adventure, that will guarantee hours of fun. Whiz through lush greenery on zip lines or test your skills and limits as you walk on rope bridges and tightropes! If you’re craving for some underwater action, grab your gear and go snorkelling instead! You’ll discover the wondrous reefs and admire a myriad of pretty corals and colourful schools of fish that Koh Chang has to offer. An unforgettable experience awaits!

You could book a private transfer that will take you directly from Bangkok to Koh Chang, or save money with this bus and ferry combined charter which will cost less than S$20! With a pickup straight from the heart of Bangkok near Khao San road, getting to this tropical wonderland isn’t that difficult after all! 

Klook Pro-Tip: Instead of spending all your time on Koh Chang’s most popular beach, White Sand beach, head for Klong Son beach or Lonely beach instead for a taste of the true blue beach bum life.

8. Koh Phi Phi

Image credit: Klook

The alluring Phi Phi islands is another fantastic and paradisiacal beach getaway destination for those who just want to live the island life all day, every day. Just imagine soaking in the tropical vibes as you laze around the beach for an afternoon snooze or paddle in crystal-clear, aquamarine waters.

Phi Phi also boasts magnificent geographical features, from towering karst landscapes to secret caves and lagoons which you can slowly explore and uncover all for yourself. If you prefer a little more structure in your itinerary, opt for this Maya Bay & Phi Phi Speedboat Tour. Get ready to go island-hopping from Maya Bay to Monkey Island and Pileh Cove, and swim and snorkel to your heart’s content.

Klook Pro-Tip: For sunshine-filled days and good weather, visit this beach island from December to March instead of during the monsoon season.

9. Hat Yai & Koh Lipe

Nestled out in the Andaman sea and near the borders of Malaysia is Koh Lipe, another one of Thailand’s idyll, tropical islands. Famed for its postcard-perfect beach landscapes of immaculate shores swirling into glassy, azure blue waters, it is definitely of no surprise that this place is also known as the ‘Maldives of Thailand’!

Image credit: Klook

With waters as delightful as these, snorkelling is definitely a must while you are here. We recommend grabbing a few friends and going for the Koh Lipe Eco Morning or Eco Sunset snorkelling tour, depending on which you prefer. Don’t worry, you will still be in for a spellbinding sight no matter which you pick. As if water and snacks are not enough, the package even includes a lunch box, so you can have a picnic lunch on the beach!

Picturesque beaches, clear waters and a satisfied tummy… Now doesn’t that sound like pure bliss?

Image credit: Klook

If you prefer to have adventures on land as well, there is also a jungle trekking and snorkelling tour available which will take you on hikes to amazing viewpoints high above and snorkelling for stunning views underwater. Keen to take it up a notch? Then the Full Day Scuba Diving tour is just the thing. Fret not if you’ve never scuba dived before, as beginners are more than welcome! With instructors from a PADI 5 Star Dive Resort, you’ll be in safe hands as you go on your own underwater escapade!

After having a splashing good time at Koh Lipe, head inland to Hat Yai to enjoy the floating markets or shop away as the plethora of stalls. After all, they don’t call Hat Yai the shopping hub of South Thailand for nothing! Indulge your inner shopaholic or treat yourself to a good Thai foot massage after a long day of fun.

Klook Pro-Tip: Taxi and tuk-tuks are really cheap in Hat Yai (as compared to Phuket and Koh Samui), so don’t hesitate to use these services to help you zip from one place to the other!

10. Surat Thani

Image credit: Tourism Thailand

Surat Thani is a relatively remote destination, allowing you to escape from the stresses of modern life into a place where you can reconnect with nature and yourself. The province includes islands and towns such as Ban Don, Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao.

Apart from beach-hopping and revelling in unblemished beaches and emerald waters, you can visit temples and pagodas like the Chaiya Chedi and Wat Khunaram. But we say that you should definitely seize the opportunity to go on a nature expedition and experience nature beyond your wildest dreams.

Thale Nai Lake | Image credit: Thai National Parks

Don’t believe us? Just check out the Thale Nai Lake at Ko Mae Ko and the viewpoints over the virgin islands at Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park! Besides sublime landscapes, there is also a variety of flora and fauna that will fill you with awe at what Mother Nature has to offer.

Khao Sok National Park is another place that will set the hearts of nature-lovers aflutter. Besides jungle trekking, Khao Sok National Park offers a variety of other exciting activities such as Elephant experiences and Safari tours.

One can trek up limestone hills or kayak and canoe to transcendent views. Here’s one activity that you shouldn’t miss though – taking a river cruise down Cheow Larn lake, and marvelling at spectacular, rocky cliffs covered in lush vegetation. A true sight to behold, indeed.

Klook Pro-Tip: Surat Thani hosts a sensational Full Moon Party EVERY full moon on Koh Pha-ngan island! If you’re someone who loves a good party, this is what to look out for. Expect drinks, music, dancing and lots of performances!

From beach enthusiasts and history buffs to nature lovers and adventure seekers, Thailand truly has something for each and everyone. Book your private car charters, customised tours and activities from Klook before you go, and you’ll be all set.

And if you’re wondering why to buy from Klook, here are some benefits:

  • Best price guarantee – find anything cheaper and they’ll refund you the difference
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  • User reviews – there are over 2 million (!!) to help you make an informed decision

With a variety of tour and charter packages to choose from, all you need to do is book what you want and let Klook handle the rest, and be rest assured knowing that you are in good hands!

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So long, Bangkok, it’s time to give these places a go!

Brought to you by Klook.

About Author

Beatrice Tan
Beatrice Tan

Beatrice absolutely loves stargazing and often fantasises about going into space one day. However, since she won’t be an astronaut anytime soon, her heart is set on being a globetrotter instead. She is always craving for a new adventure, and believes that travel nourishes the soul. You can most likely find her strolling around the museum, or in a quiet café with her nose buried in a book, and a soy latte in hand.