Lesser-known Bangkok day trips
Image adapted from: afamily
Whenever there’s a long weekend, Bangkok is often the choice destination for most of our neighbours abroad. 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 getaway, switch up your itinerary and venture out. These 5 spots are no more than 3 hours away from Central Bangkok, perfect for quick day trips.
1. Hua Hin
A destination that locals 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 route from Bangkok: Take a train from Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Hua Hin Railway Station
Estimated travel time: 3 hours
Explore a cave and take a dip by a waterfall
Image credit: @claire_lemer
If you love the outdoors, 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. 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
Image credit: @inspiringdom
Image credit: @khanompungg
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. For a breezy trek with lush views of flora, hit up the Bueng Bua Wood Boardwalk walking trail.
Shop at art markets and munch on street food
Image credit: @cicadahuahin
There are 3 markets in particular you can visit while in Hua Hin:
- CICADA Market, where you can get handcrafted gifts, art exhibitions, and frequent performances at the amphitheatre.
- Hua Hin Walking Street for authentic street food
- Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village, which has a quirky funfair vibe and mini attractions
Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village
Image credit: @iamnicksoncheng
Have fun at theme parks
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Experience more than just Thai culture when you visit the nearby Cha-Am district. There are plenty of theme parks, all within walking distance of one another. And if your budget doesn’t allow you to visit Greece itself, Santorini Amusement Park is the next best thing.
Image credit: @_be.ngoan
You’ll feel like you’re at the actual Grand Canal when you take a gondola at The Venezia.
Image credit: @ploy_diary
Camel Republic will transport you right to the heart of Marrakech, where you’ll get to play with animals like llamas and camels.
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.
Kanchanaburi is another alternative to Bangkok that’s known for its rich history and chill lifestyle.
Recommended route from Bangkok: Take a train from Thonburi Railway Station to Kanchanaburi Railway Station.
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
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.
Image credit: @thefloathouseriverkwai
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.
Visit a submerged temple
During the 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. Built by the Mon and Karen tribes, the temple is what remains of a lost village that was destroyed by flood in the 60s.
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.
Image credit: @metas.34
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.
Image credit: @khem_tc
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.
3. Koh Samet
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 route from Bangkok: Take a bus from Ekkamai Bus Terminal to Ban Phae Pier. From the pier, take a ferry to Koh Samet.
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
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, you’ll be greeted with a wide stretch of sand that’s perfect for some Baywatch-inspired slo-mo prancing.
Bask in the seclusion of Ao Wai
Image credit: @amyboulert
If you think Koh Samet is secluded, then consider Ao Wai beach even more so; it’s one of the more tranquil beaches you’ll find around. The beach has a resort and restaurant, so you can travel here for a nice, peaceful break.
Enjoy water sports at Diamond Beach – Haad Sai Kaew
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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.
4. Khao Yai
Khao Yai is full of locations with stunning backdrops that’ll make your Instagram followers think that you’re either in a whole other country or on the set of a blockbuster fantasy film.
Recommended route from Bangkok: Take a bus from Mo Chit Bus Terminal to Pak Chong (nearest town to Khao Yai)
Estimated travel time: 3 hours
Spot animals in their natural habitat
Image credit: @sinedgn
At, Khao Yai National Park, you’ll get to be in the company of elephants, as well as pangolins, deers and geckos. 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.
Conveniently, after a day of nature walking, you can unwind with a glass of wine at PB Valley Khao Yai Winery, found within the national park itself.
Image credit: @yolandaljy
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 Lord of the Rings moment – for free!
Image credit: @michelleous_
Palio Village is a tiny Italian-themed village, full of cute cafes and rustic architecture. Don’t forget to visit Primo Piazza too, which has snap-worthy cottages and even adorable animals like sheep and donkeys you can pet and feed!
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.
5. Koh Chang
Though it’s an island that’s comparable to places like 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 route from Bangkok: Take a flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Trat Airport
Estimated travel time: 1 hour
Visit 1 of the 7 waterfalls on the island
Klong Plu Waterfall
Image credit: @stephhhshawww
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
But if you’re someone who prefers more of an outdoor adventure, head over to Klong Neung Waterfall. This is the tallest waterfall on the island, so expect the falls and currents to be extra strong – and the pools deeper than most – here.
Party away on the beach
Image credit: @moonid_jang
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.
For hip 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.
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.
Image credit: @biskys
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!
Go through an outdoor obstacle course through the forest
Image credit: Tree Top Adventure Park
Treetop Adventure Park isn’t your ordinary obstacle course. Expect cooler activities like the flying skateboard, which is 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 domestic 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.