11 July 2024

When you think of an island or beach getaway, Thailand’s famous shores often come to mind. Yet, beyond these well-trodden paths lie secret, lesser-known destinations waiting to be explored

These hidden gems offer a perfect retreat, especially during the rainy season, where you can immerse yourself in authentic Thai culture and lush nature far from the usual tourist spots.

Lakeside wonders in Pak Pra Village
Phatthalung province

Nestled on the tranquil shores of Songkhla Lake in southern Thailand, Pak Pra Village in Phatthalung is a hidden gem.

This secluded haven, known for its colossal lift nets that grace the lake’s surface, offers a serene escape steeped in local fishing traditions and natural beauty.

At dawn, visitors can witness the mesmerizing sight of the towering lift nets silhouetted against the sky, epitomizing the village’s timeless charm.

A visitor takes a boat ride to explore Phatthalung’s tranquil lakeside in Pak Phra fishing village.//Photo: Baan​ Tonlamphu​ Pakpra

For generations, fishing has been a way of life here, with fishermen skillfully using traditional bamboo-supported lift nets.

These nets, managed carefully by family allotments, maintain a balance between fishing and environmental conservation.

Accommodations range from cozy homestays to eco-friendly resorts, all blending seamlessly into the breathtaking surroundings.

Towering lift nets are silhouetted against a vibrant sky at Pak Phra fishing village in Phatthalung province.//Photo: Baan​ Tonlamphu​ Pakpra

Guests can enjoy boat excursions, morning observations of fishermen at work, and leisurely walks through lush riverside forests, encountering local wildlife like water buffaloes and native birds.

From the boat, panoramic views of the Rama VIII Bridge and the Ekkachai Bridge—Thailand’s longest lake-spanning structure—highlight the remote beauty of this isolated sanctuary.

For those seeking an authentic Thai adventure, Pak Pra Village is an unmissable destination where time stands still amidst the storied shores of Songkhla Lake.

Songkhla Lake, boasting vast marshlands, serves as a habitat for numerous bird species.//Photo: Baan​ Tonlamphu​ Pakpra

Serenity in Mae Chaem
Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai province

Nestled in the valleys of Mae Chaem, Pa Pong Piang is a hidden gem in northern Thailand, known for its stunning rice terraces.

During the rainy season, these terraces turn a vibrant green, creating a breathtaking landscape.

The journey to this remote village, along winding roads, reveals the region’s natural beauty and leads to cascading terraces that shimmer under the rain.

Staying in Pa Pong Piang means embracing rustic charm, with traditional wooden huts offering incredible views.

Pa Pong Piang is renowned for its breathtaking rice terraces, which transform into a lush green paradise during the rainy season.//Photo: TAT’s Chiang Mai Office

Mornings start with mist rising from the fields and the gentle patter of rain. The rice fields, nurtured by monsoon rains, come alive with farmers at work.

The village paints a picture of traditional Thai life, with friendly locals eager to share their stories. Exploring Pa Pong Piang lets visitors taste local delicacies and enjoy communal meals with fresh, flavorful food.

The changing light and shadows across the landscape, with sunsets painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, make it a photographer’s dream.

In Pa Pong Piang, time slows down, allowing visitors to disconnect and enjoy the serene beauty of Thailand’s countryside.

Mae Chaem also has small yet beautiful temples worth visiting for their murals and unique architecture, adding a cultural touch to the experience.

Rustic Charm in Mueang Khong
Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai Province

In the heart of Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai, the tranquil village of Mueang Khong emerges as a hidden gem, flourishing during the rainy season.

This remote hill village, adorned with panoramic rice paddies, offers an authentic glimpse into Thai rural life.

Upon arrival, the lush, rain-kissed landscape welcomes you, and staying in a rustic chic cottage at a local homestay provides a perfect blend of comfort and tradition.

The remote hill village of Mueang Khong, adorned with panoramic rice terraces, offers an authentic glimpse into Thai rural life.

Mornings in Mueang Khong are magical, with mist lifting to reveal endless green rice paddies and herds of water buffalo roaming freely, capturing the harmony between nature and village life.

Exploring the village, you connect with hill tribes, engaging in daily activities from weaving to traditional farming, and learning about their unique customs and crafts.

The vibrant rice farms, lush in the rainy season, are a photographer’s paradise, with shifting light and shadows creating an ever-changing landscape.

In Mueang Khong, time slows, immersing you in the peaceful rhythms of rural life.

The combination of breathtaking natural beauty, cultural richness, and simple village joys makes this destination truly special.

Nam Wa River Escape
Nan Province

Nestled in northern Thailand, the Nam Wa River in Nan province promises an unforgettable escape, particularly during the whitewater rafting season.

Originating from the Phi Pan Nam mountain range, this river offers a thrilling 120-kilometer journey along the remote Thailand-Laos border.

Over five exhilarating days, rafters navigate the wild waters of the Nam Wa River, testing their skill and endurance against rapids with evocative names like “Forest Ghost.”

Wild Wa River: Every rapid presents unique challenges, with the river’s twists and turns amplifying the excitement.//Photo: Phoowadon Duangmee

Each rapid presents unique challenges, with the river’s twists and turns heightening the excitement.

The route winds through dense rainforests and mountain valleys, creating a stunning, untouched natural backdrop.

As you paddle through roaring rapids, the jungle’s symphony—exotic bird calls, rustling leaves, and distant gibbon cries—envelops you.

Nights on the Nam Wa River are equally captivating. After the adrenaline fades, tranquil campfires become the gathering point, where adventurers share tales of the
day’s exploits by the flickering flames.

Tranquil campfires become the gathering point for whitewater enthusiasts, where adventurers share tales of the day’s exploits beside the flickering flames.//Photo: Phoowadon Duangmee

The jungle comes alive with nocturnal wildlife, providing a natural soundtrack as you drift off to sleep.

The Nam Wa River offers more than an adventure; it’s an immersion into the wild heart of Thailand.

The combination of thrilling rapids, breathtaking scenery, and deep camaraderie among rafters makes this journey a profound escape into nature’s embrace, leaving memories that linger long after the final rapid is conquered.

Wander through Mystique Marshlands
Rayong Province

Rayong Botanical Garden, a serene 400-acre escape, offers tranquility and natural beauty for nature lovers and researchers alike, showcasing diverse flora from Eastern Thailand’s marshlands.

Just 40 minutes northeast of Samet Island, this hidden gem’s peaceful ambiance is in stark contrast to the vibrant beach life.

A kayaker explores the mystical marshlands of Rayong Botanical Garden.//Photo: Rayong Botanical Garden

The true magic unfolds on the water—seize a kayak, push off from the dock, and feel daily worries melt away as you paddle through calm waters, enveloped by the majestic cajuput trees reflected in the lake’s mirror-like surface.

Cycling through lush greenery or leisurely punting on a traditional raft are equally enchanting ways to explore this natural haven.

The magic unfolds on the water—grasp a kayak, push off from the dock, and feel daily worries dissolve as you paddle through serene waters in this mystic marshland.// Photo: Rayong Botanical Garden

The garden’s rich biodiversity includes over 400 species of endangered local plants and serves as a habitat for numerous wildlife species, including rare marine creatures.

Visitors, whether big or small-time botanists and horticulturists, can wander along a path through a miniature kingdom of native plants.

The “Samed Khao” forest, with its strange, ancient-looking paperbark trees, adds a touch of mystique to the marshland.

Unplug in Lahu Village
Chiang Mai Province

Nestled deep within the lush forests of Chiang Mai Province, Pong Ngan Village offers an unparalleled escape into nature’s embrace.

Accessible only by a six-kilometer hike or a serene bamboo raft journey along silvery streams, this hidden gem is perfect for those seeking tranquility and a complete disconnection from the modern world.

Rafting along silvery streams to this remote Lahu village is perfect for those seeking tranquility and complete disconnection from the modern world.

Home to the Lahu people, the village is a testament to simplicity and harmony with nature, far removed from city life with no electricity or phone reception.

Travelers stay in rustic bamboo huts at Pong Ngan Homestay, surrounded by verdant mountains and the soothing sounds of nature.

Evenings are spent savoring barbecues, warming by the fire, and stargazing under a clear sky, while mornings bring simple local breakfasts featuring chili paste, fresh vegetables, and omelets.

The Lahu villagers, whose lives revolve around farming and livestock, welcome guests into their modest lifestyle, offering a glimpse into their harmonious existence.

By Thai PBS World Feature Desk