Lesser-known Bangkok day trips
Image adapted from: afamily
Whenever there’s a long weekend, Bangkok is often the choice destination for most Singaporeans. It’s a short trip away, and with various floating markets and bazaars in nearby districts like Chatuchak and Sam Phran, shopping is virtually guilt-less.
But these areas have become way too common among tourists. For your next BKK jaunt, switch up your itinerary and venture out to the following 5 less tourist-trappy locations. They’re no more than 3 hours away from Central Bangkok, perfect for quick day trips throughout your visit.
A destination that Bangkok citizens themselves escape to over the weekend, Hua Hin is a great BKK alternative. It’s less hectic, and you’ll be able to explore and relax without having to worry about excessive crowds.
Recommended mode of transport from Bangkok to Hua Hin: Take a train from Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Hua Hin Railway Station.
Estimated travel time: 3 hours
a. Explore a cave and take a dip by a waterfall
Image credit: @claire_lemer
If you’re after a challenge, Pala-U Waterfall will be a great spot to visit. It has about 15 levels, but beginners can just keep to the first 3 where you can take a dip in mini pools.
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Venture in further and you’ll reach Phraya Nakhon Cave, which houses a hidden pavilion. Go during the day - that’s when this golden monument looks most divine under sunlight.
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Thailand’s known for its many national parks, but Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park definitely takes the cake. Its majestic name “Mountain of Three Hundred Peaks” isn’t just for show; there, you’ll find a multitude of peaks with amazing views.
Image credit: @khanompungg
For a breezy trek with lush views of flora, hit up the Bueng Bua Wood Boardwalk walking trail. Think of it as the bigger and prettier version of our very own Lorong Halus Wetland.
b. Shop at art markets and munch on street food
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CICADA Market is short for “Community of Identity Culture Arts & Dynamic Activities”, so you can expect to get handcrafted baubles, art exhibitions, and frequent performances at the amphitheatre.
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Authentic street fare is what you’ll get at Hua Hin Walking Street. The walkways may be narrow, but since there aren’t too many tourists, you’ll be able to walk around unhindered.
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Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village is a quirky marketplace that’s more polished than the average street market that you’re used to. It also has a funfair vibe, with plenty of affordable food vendors and mini attractions.
c. Have fun at theme parks
Experience more than just Thai culture when you’re visit the nearby Cha-Am district. There are plenty of theme parks, all within walking distance of one another.
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If your budget doesn’t allow you to visit Greece itself, Santorini Amusement Park is the next best thing.
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You’ll feel like you’re at the actual Grand Canal when you take a gondola at The Venezia.
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Camel Republic will transport you right to the heart of Marrakech. You’ll even get to play with animals of the camelid family, including llamas, vicuñas and, yep, camels too.
d. Visit the most royal-looking train station
Image credit: @stephglobetrotteuse
Hua Hin Railway Station is one of Thailand’s most beautiful stations. With its striking yellow and red facade, and castle-like architecture, this is the stop you’ll want to make, even if you’re not catching a train.
A common pit stop for NS men who’ve been to Lopburi province for overseas training, Kanchanaburi is another alternative to Bangkok that’s known for its history and overall chill lifestyle.
Recommended mode of transport from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi: Take a train from Thonburi Railway Station to Kanchanaburi Railway Station.
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
a. Walk over water on railway tracks
Image credit: @sho.kou
The name Death Railway refers to the thousands of lives lost when creating this bridge during World War Two. The area itself is unsuspectingly picturesque - between the museums, war cemetery, and short train rides to bring your around the landscape, there’s plenty to take in.
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The river that flows underneath the railway also runs along FloatHouse River Kwai Resort, where you can have a luxurious stay that’s got breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.
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For a truly quiet experience, head over to the Wooden Mon Bridge that’s located near the Thailand-Myanmar border. Cross over into the nearby village to try some authentic Mon food and buy handcrafted items.
b. Visit a submerged temple
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During dry season, you’ll be able to walk the ruins of Wat Samprasob, aka “The Sunken Temple” that’s almost fully submerged for most of the year.
c. Hike up a mountain and check out land erosion columns
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Dubbed “Knife Edge” for its narrow ridges, Khao Chang Phueak is a favourite among trekkers. While its name sounds daunting, it’s actually considered a moderately-challenging trek.
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Terrestrial-looking columns caused by land erosions make Pong Yup look like a cross between a maze and a mini Grand Canyon. It’s considered by many as sacred ground.
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Lam Khlong Ngu National Park has several caves that you can explore. One of such is Tham Sao Hin. Exploring its limestone caverns will feel like you’re discovering a lost realm.
A paradise of sand, Koh Samet is an island that’s known for its many beaches. If you want to stay away from shopping and visiting theme parks, this will be the perfect spot for your getaway.
Recommended mode of transport from Bangkok to Koh Samet: Take a bus from Ekamai Bus Terminal to Ban Phae Pier. From the pier, take a ferry to Koh Samet.
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
a. Relax along the blue waters of Ao Wong Duean
Image credit: @rodrigo.b.deoliveira.3
Boasting the bluest waters and whitest sand, Ao Wong Duean will not disappoint. At low tide, its stretches of sand get super expansive, perfect for some Baywatch-inspired slo-mo prancing.
b. Bask in the seclusion of Ao Wai
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If you think Koh Samet is secluded, then consider its Ao Wai beach even more so; it’s one of the more tranquil beaches you’ll find around.
c. Enjoy water sports at Diamond Beach - Haad Sai Kaew
Image credit: @aiminursyameem.sohaimi
Haad Sai Kaew is pretty much the crown jewel of the island; translated to Diamond Beach, this is where most of the action on the island happens. There’s a variety of restaurants to fill your tummy at, and several water activities, like parasailing and jet skiing, that you can partake in.
Khao Yai is full of locations that’ll make your IG followers think that you’re either in a whole other country or on the set of a blockbuster fantasy film; the area’s full of places with stunning backdrops.
Recommended mode of transport from Bangkok to Khao Yai: Take a bus from Mo Chit Bus Terminal to Pak Chong (nearest town to Khao Yai).
Estimated travel time: 3 hours
a. Spot animals in their natural habitat
At, Khao Yai National Park, you’ll get to be in the company of elephants, as well as pangolins, deers and geckos.
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Head to the top of the national park, at Pa Deo-Die, and you might even spot a majestic falcon or eagle, above the park’s breathtaking expanse.
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Conveniently, after a day of nature walking, you can unwind with a glass of cabernet at PB Valley Khao Yai Winery, found within the national park itself.
b. Explore the Shire of Thailand
You can step into Tolkien’s fantastical domain of The Shire at Baan Suan Noi, where even if you’re not staying the night, there’s a hut where you can dress up as hobbit folk and capture your LoTR moment - for free!
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Palio Village will give you some serious Under the Tuscan Sun feels. It’s a tiny Italian-themed village, full of cute cafes and rustic architecture. Truly belissimo!
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The fluffiest of alpacas are abound at Primo Piazza. Amongst quaint but snap-worthy cottages, you’ll get to pet and feed plenty of other adorable animals too, like sheep and donkeys.
c. Bask in flower galore
The largest flower garden in Thailand, The Bloom is a grand sight to see even if you’re not a floral enthusiast.
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If you’ve got a fondness for sunflowers, then hop on over to Saraburi Sunflower Field. Its endless fields will make it seem like you’re wading through a gorgeous sea of bright yellow.
d. Get blissfully lost in a garden maze
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A great way to pass the time without costing you dollars is to put yourself through a maze - Pete Maze isn’t too challenging, plus, once you find your way out, the overlooking view is quite pretty.
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Hidden within a forest, the Secret Art Garden is exactly as its name suggests - a whimsical little spot that’s a world unto its own, full of flowers, exquisite paintings and sculptures, and cafes that are super family-friendly.
An island that’s comparable to Phuket size-wise, Koh Chang is much less saturated with tourists. It’s called “Elephant Island” due to the fact that part of it is shaped like an elephant, and also because you’ll encounter many there. (Note: Avoid going on elephant rides. Elephants used in discovery treks are often cruelly treated, so it’s best to not partake in such practices.)
Recommended mode of transport from Bangkok to Koh Chang: Take a flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Trat Airport.
Estimated travel time: 1 hour
a. Visit 1 of the 7 waterfalls on the island
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Out of 7 different waterfalls throughout the island, Klong Plu Waterfall is the most popular one, thanks to the nearby nature walk that’ll bring you around the lush surroundings.
Image credit: @iamKohChang
Klong Neung Waterfall is the tallest waterfall on the island, so expect the falls and currents to be extra strong - and the pools deeper than most - here.
b. Party away on the beach
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The largest stretch on the island, Klong Prao Beach is great for long walks along the coast, fresh seafood and water activities. The corals are a sight to behold, and you may have chances of catching sight of sea turtles and whale sharks.
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Known for its nightlife, Lonely Beach is ironically the most happening beach here. It’s a backpacker haven so look forward to knocking down a drink or two with fellow travellers.
c. Island-hop to neighbouring pockets of paradise
Image credit: @familyearthtrek
Since Koh Chang is within close proximity to a few islands, a day-trip within a day trip is very possible. In less than an hour - on a fast boat, it just takes 20 minutes - you can reach neighbouring island Koh Kood.
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Another adjacent island, Koh Wai, is so quiet, you’ll be hard pressed to find vehicles around. And WiFi is only found in some of the bungalows and restaurants - talk about a digital cleanse!
d. Go through “OBS on steroids”
Image credit: Tree Top Adventure Park
Treetop Adventure Park is similar to OBS, but with cooler activities like flying skateboard - similar to flying fox, but with skateboards. You can even go at it by way of bicycle!
Day trips from Bangkok
Taking nothing more than a short road trip or local flight, you’ll be able to reach these locations in no time. Think of them as Bangkok alternatives; areas that you visit once you’ve already covered the typical corners of BKK. And with relatively lesser tourists at these places, you can expect to enjoy a much more relaxed Thai vacation.