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Best places to enjoy peace and quiet in Thailand

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Situated in the heart of beautiful Southeast Asia, Thailand is a timelessly popular travel destination that’s suitable for couples, families and solo travellers. However, its overwhelming popularity over the past few decades has led to overtourism and overcrowding in parts of Thailand, causing great damage to this nation’s natural attractions, including its delicate marine environment. This is one reason why we hope to encourage our travellers to seek out slow travel in Thailand.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of slow travel, it’s about adopting a mindset of connection and of choosing quality over quantity. It’s about forming special connections and bonds with local people; lingering longer in destinations rather than flitting from one island or city to the next; and of course, finding more sustainable ways to travel.

So, if you’re keen to enjoy a quiet escape and embrace tranquil, slow travel – read on to discover the best ways to avoid the crowds and still enjoy an authentic experience of Thailand’s majestic landscapes and rich culture.

Boats on turquoise water along a lush beachfront in Koh Lipe, Thailand

Visit Thailand’s gems for wellness and indulgence

While Northern and Southern Thailand have some clear differences, there’s no question that, for those seeking wellness, relaxation or even the ultimate holiday indulgence, Thailand is blessed across the board with all kinds of soothing experiences and resorts.

The capital and central hub, Bangkok seems an unlikely destination for health-seekers – but actually, thanks to its clutch of wellness-focused facilities, it’s a surprisingly well-being-minded destination, offering great chances to slow your pace if you know where to look. Many of its top hotels offer their own in-house wellness spas, health clubs and, in some cases, gorgeous views of Chao Phraya River. So, if you’re a city explorer craving indulgence, Bangkok should be your first port of call.

Chiang Mai, a gloriously beautiful mountain city in Northern Thailand, is another wellness destination of note. Its serene landscapes, rich culture and temples steeped in spirituality, and amazing elephant sanctuaries all promote a slower, gentler way of life for both humans and animals. There is also no shortage of quality boutique resorts for wellness obsessives in Chiang Mai, many with a reputation for excellence.

Koh Samui is another idyllic wellness destination that has cemented itself as one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating places not just in the country, but in the world. Situated in Southern Thailand, as the country’s second-largest island, it attracts those in search of sunshine and R&R alike thanks to its stunning beaches, incredible sunsets, and healthy way of life. The resorts, spas and wellness centres here offer everything from soothing treatments to mindful meditation, yoga and more, all of which are sure to leave your mind, body and soul fully recharged and restored – and the options are plentiful, whether you’d prefer sanctuaries with private beaches and dedicated wellness programmes, secluded self-care, or activities with a fun twist.

What’s more, each of these destinations offers so much to see, do and enjoy that you can easily stay longer, encounter amazing people and above all, embody the spirit of slow, thoughtful travel!

Orange-robed monk in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Go off the beaten track for the best beach, mountain and island experiences

Thailand is a vibrant, multicultural country with diverse landscapes, ranging from mountains, plains and hills to long coastal stretches and idyllic beaches. And while these are easily found in its ever-popular mainstream destinations, such as Phuket, Krabi and even Pattaya, there are so many other, more off-the-beaten-track wonders where you can enjoy equally sublime, iconic scenery.

One such destination is Koh Lipe, Thailand’s most southern inhabited island. Forming part of the Butang Archipelago and of the Tarutao National Marine Park, Koh Lipe may just be one of Thailand’s truest travel gems. This tropical island offers a few gorgeous beaches for you to unwind on, including Sunrise Beach (possibly the most beautiful of them all); more than that, however, this paradise on Earth offers plenty to see and do. There’s Walking Street, the island’s main street, which buzzes with activity thanks to the many shops, bars and restaurants that line it; some lovely hotel and accommodation offerings; and of course, outstanding activities for all to enjoy.

Snorkel in or kayak through the crystal-clear waters; catch dramatic views from the aptly-named Sunset Beach; hop onto a long-tail boat to explore Tarutao National Marine Park; taste your way across the beach restaurants and bars; or perhaps even get a Thai massage. There is no shortage of fun and adventure to be had on Koh Lipe and its immediate surrounds.

If you’re in Northern Thailand, Pai is one of the best off-the-beaten-track destinations for captivating mountain travel. It’s a peaceful town surrounded by gentle valleys and lush landscapes, and which offers a temperate climate, making it great for year-round travel. It also has a rich cultural history that dates back to its original settlers, the Shan people. Today, Pai is fast becoming a well-loved destination, yet it’s lost none of its natural charm, traditional heritage, and ingrained culture.

Nature-lovers and adventurers will find so much to enjoy in Pai. Start by exploring its waterfalls, Pam Bok and Mo Paeng, or head to Pai Canyon (locally known as Kong Lan); with its rugged terrain, vast valleys and panoramic views, it makes for incredible photo opportunities and scenic nature walks. Pai is even blessed with blissful thermal hot springs at Sai Ngam and Tha Pai, altogether providing a chance for true healing in the heart of nature.

If you’re keen to learn about Pai’s cultural aspect, don’t neglect to visit its incredible temples, including the amazing Wat Phra That Mae Yen (also known as Chedi Phra That Mae Yen) and Wat Nam Hoo, which enjoys truly calming surroundings. For the foodies and night owls among you, Pai also has a vibrant nightlife scene down Pai Walking Street, which bursts to life with the Pai Night Market and its assortment of local foods, crafts, clothing, and live music performances. It’s the perfect place to soak up the town’s atmosphere, while sampling your way through delicious street food!

Sunset at Pai Canyon, Thailand

Getting to and around Thailand: when and how to visit

As far as travelling in Thailand goes, you’ll find many different means and modes of transport to choose from. Public transport is generally safe and overall, buses and trains are the most affordable ways to explore.

If you’re travelling between the main cities and wish to avoid flying (especially as this is part of the slow travel way of life), then trains are a great option. In-between, buses and minivans fill in the train gaps between smaller towns. Other land-based options include metered taxis, tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis and, of course, rental cars and motorbikes.

When it comes to exploring Thailand from its rivers, canals or waters, long-tail boats and ferries are both popular options for getting between islands or across major waterways. Ferry standards are generally decent, but always do your research and don’t board a noticeably overloaded boat.

If you’re wondering about the best time to visit Thailand, it’s important to keep in mind that the climate varies across the country. So, in many cases, you can actually plan a visit at any time of year. Overall, though, the best time to visit is from November to early April, as the days are warm and dry. From April, things heat up again, while June heralds the start of the rainy season.

Low season is generally from May to September, so if you want to miss the crowds and don’t mind the challenge of either oppressive heat or the rainy monsoon season, then it’s worth visiting during shoulder season. This also makes for a more cost-effective trip.

Make it happen

Our local experts can help you plan an unforgettable Thailand experience, so get in touch today to make your Southeast Asian travel dreams a reality!

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