The 5 Most Underrated Destinations in Thailand

Looking for a place to go to escape the crowds? Some of the country's best destinations are overlooked by tourists.

  • 01 of 05

    Chiang Rai

    Beautiful sunset at Temple wat hyua pla kang (Chinese temple) Chiang Rai, Thailand
    Sirintra Pumsopa/Getty Images
    For exploring Northern Thailand, mountain trekking and other outdoor activities, this small city close to the more popular Chiang Mai is the perfect base. The city’s temples and museum are worth a day of sightseeing, accommodations are inexpensive and the city has a relaxed, small town feeling.
  • 02 of 05

    Krabi

    Suzanne Nam

    Most tourists head to the islands of Samui or Phuket for a tropical vacation, but the mainland town of Krabi has some beautiful beaches, a good selection of accommodations, and its own airport with convenient flights from Bangkok. For island hopping, Krabi is a convenient base with plenty of longtail boats available to take you to Phang Nga Bay’s beautiful small islands, including Koh Phi Phi.

  • 03 of 05

    Bangkok

    Suzanne Nam
    Hard to believe, but many visitors skip the capital city altogether on their way to the beaches in the south or mountains in the north. The heart and mind of Thailand, with a population of more than 10 million, also offers scores of temples, the best museums in the country, and plenty of places to stay and eat. In the most developed parts of Bangkok, the vibrant metropolis feels like any other big international city, but turn a corner or wander into one of the old neighborhoods and the “Thainess” shines through.
  • 04 of 05

    Sukhothai

    Suzanne Nam
    Sukhothai’s national historic park is filled with ruins from when this city was a regional capital, 800 years ago. Nowadays the city is slow and sleepy, so much so that most visitors choose to rent bicycles to explore the ancient temples. There are convenient flights from Bangkok, upscale resorts and inexpensive backpacker guesthouses.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Isan

    Suzanne Nam
    The farming center of Thailand isn’t just about rice fields and water buffalo, though you’ll find plenty when you visit. There are also amazing Khmer ruins, small towns on the Mekong River, tributaries where you can relax and enjoy the scenery, and very spicy food to sample!