FROM NORTH TO SOUTH, THAILAND’S TOWNS ALL HAVE THEIR UNIQUE BEAUTY
They say that “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”, thus judging it is a deeply subjective endeavor. However, for today’s intents and purposes, we will give you, what we believe are, the top five most beautiful towns in Thailand. Some of them have beaches, others have temples; some are modern, others are historic.
Many would mention Krabi, but, we think, that Ao Nang is the place to be. With a longtail boat from the town’s beach, the more famous beaches of Railay and Tonsai are only a stone’s throw away. It is true that Ao Nang has become increasingly touristy over time, but there is still beauty to be found for those who seek it. You can rock climb on one of the numerous limestone walls, paddle board in the Andaman Sea or hike up the amazing Dragon Crest Trail.
There are also plenty of bars and clubs on the main road for entertaining nocturnal activities. You do know where the best place to start your evening is, don’t cha?
Phetchaburi’s foundation dates all the way back to the 8th century and you know what that means for you explorers? Ancient temples, traditional markets and royal palaces from bygone eras – you name it, you got it. Despite being only 130 km (~ 81 miles) away from Bangkok, Phetchaburi is, for the most part, an agricultural province. So, you won’t have to worry about fresh fruits and vegetables, which you can get from any one of the markets.
When it comes to sightseeing, you can’t miss out on Khao Wang, a beautiful Palace situated on top of a hill, overlooking Phetchaburi and its eponymous province. For an underground adventure, we recommend the Khao Loung Caves. In one of them you can find Buddha statues and in the other, there is a centuries-old tree dominating the center of the cave.
Chiang Rai often pops up on travelers itineraries, mainly because of the one-of-a-kind White Temple – Wat Rong Khun. Due to its location at the border, the town incorporates the influences of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos – commonly known as the Golden Triangle. You can, thus, only imagine how diverse the sites, food, the art, and cultures must be.
It is a town best explored with a bicycle, believe it or not. That way you can ride around town and check off a number of things off of your list such as the aptly named Blue Temple, the Guan Yin statue, and the Chiang Saen District. Venture outside the town’s border and head to Khun Korn Forest Park, where you can hike your way up to a 70-meter high waterfall. Oh, and don’t forget to drink a freshly brewed tea right at the plantation!
Similar to Chiang Rai, Nong Khai is a border town that lays only a few miles away from Laos. The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge connects the two countries, both figuratively and literally, over the Mekong River. Therefore, the cuisine, culture, and religion amongst other aspects are influenced by both countries.
Within the town’s border, we recommend visiting the province’s most important temple, Wat Pho Chai. But coming to Isaan is like traveling back through time, where there is no shopping mall, no traffic, no party buzz – only one hell of a gorgeous landscape. So, rent a scooter and visit Sangkhom village. From there you can make your way further up towards waterfalls, caves, and temples. Nong Khai is the perfect decelerator for Bangkok’s big city hecticness.
“762 Curves to Pai – We have done it!” A statement uttered by many with a sigh of relief. The road from Chiang Mai to the little mountain town is infamous and rightly so. Over the years, Pai got more and more popular amongst backpackers and, in turn, lost a lot of its former small-town hippie vibe. But we say “come for the town and stay for the scenery”. Rent a scooter and visit hot springs, waterfalls, and hilltops that are made for stunning Instagram shots. We also recommend taking a day tour to the Tham Lod caves and Mo Paeng waterfall.
Pai may have lost some of its older charm, but it still is a great place to meet plenty of backpackers without the madness of Khao San Road. Have a beer, light up a Jeffrey and enjoy the life of Pai.