Thailand is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia if you’re longing for pristine white sand and tranquil beaches, a unique cuisine, picturesque temples, and plenty of culture and history. It’s a non-negotiable if you’re trying to build your long list of places to travel.
But did you know that as popular as it may seem, Thailand is also home to many secret places you might not know existed?
Here are 6 secret places to visit in Thailand:
1. Koh Yao Yai
Phuket is already beautiful as it is, but it welcomes an influx of tourists on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, Phuket is majestic, but there are also hidden islands and beaches in Thailand that are just as beautiful as Phuket. Koh Yao Yai is one perfect example. If you’re looking for a more relaxing place to visit, Koh Yao Yai offers a quiet escape from the rush of people.
This island is easily explorable via motorbike in just a day or two, tops. Visiting Koh Yao Yai basically equates to the feeling of touring a private beach. Of course, there are a handful of accommodations that are available around the island, but there are far more locally-owned and operated restaurants and establishments since it’s still a relatively rural area.
2. Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
Located in the northernmost part of the country (it’s quite close to the Myanmar border!) is the Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park. This park is one of the most pristine and well-preserved parks in the country. The national park, albeit unknown to many, houses Thailand’s second highest mountain top (Pha Hom Pok rises at about 2,285 meters above sea level) and is also a popular place for hot springs and geysers.
3. Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall
Brace yourselves, because the Huay Mae Khamin waterfall is actually one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. Plus, you get to enjoy it (almost) all to yourself!
Take note: Since this is a relatively remote destination, getting to the falls itself is kind of challenging with no direct public transport to the area. But when you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a majestic sight of the 7-tiered waterfall nestled among the equally beautiful lush greens around. If you’re planning to stay longer, camping is also an option!
4. ChangChill Elephant Sanctuary
If elephants–or any animal–make your heart beat fast, then this place is perfect for you. While it’s not as adrenaline-pumping as other tourist destinations in Thailand, it’s definitely worth a visit. Going to the ChangChill elephant sanctuary is not only highly educational, but also an authentic experience to witness the elephants roam freely in their natural habitat. Help prepare medicine and food for them, and have a little chat with the elephant caretakers while you’re at it! It’s truly a rewarding experience—plus, it promotes wildlife tourism!
5. Wat Rong Khun
Although it’s already known to some tourists, only a few are brave enough to attempt the trek and actually see the temple up close. The Wat Rong Khun white temple is unlike any other temple in Thailand because of its unique design and construction. Upon closer look, you’ll see frightening shapes, faces, and structures like gargoyles and hands reaching upwards. It’s quite unlike other Thai temples, so it’s definitely a must-see.
6. Kaeng Sam Phan Bok
Explore the Grand Canyon of Thailand that is the Kaeng Sam Phan Bok. In Lao/Isaan language, Sam Phan Bok literally translates to “3,000 holes.” While it is impossible to accurately count them all, the different-sized holes that blanket this vast rock formation is truly a sight to behold.
*This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.
Preview is now on Quento! Click here to download the app for iOS and Android and enjoy more articles and videos from Preview and your favorite websites!