Thai destinations you should visit before everyone else does

Trat Thailand

If you’re wondering which Thai destinations to visit next, try these. Source: Shutterstock

IN 2015, southern Thai destinations such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Hua Hin, Koh Tao, and Phuket welcomed more than 23 million international arrivals.

That is 77 percent of the national total. And of that number, only 1,4 million travelers (five percent of the national total) took the road less traveled to visit northern Thailand.

This means travelers are still only gravitating towards the popular attractions, which could result in adverse effects (such as the Maya Bay closure) if nothing is done to distribute the high traffic of tourists.

Identifying the problem, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) rolled out its latest “Go Local” campaign to promote the country’s emerging generation of destinations.

Aside from better balancing the distribution of tourist arrivals, “Go Local” also aims to even out the seasonality factor between the months of travel and encourages more travel during weekdays to reduce pressure on weekends.

TAT and the Thai government worked together to implement a series of tax deduction measures to promote leisure travel and MICE events in those secondary destinations, which stands at 55 in total, all through 2018.

Promoting secondary destinations will be TAT’s focus for 2019 as well, on top of three existing priorities: gastronomy, content marketing, and environmental awareness.

Here are some secondary Thai destinations you should visit before everyone else does. And if you have never heard of them, fret not. All the more you should be putting these on your travel bucket list:


Located in the central region of Thailand, Lopburi is one of the oldest cities in the country, boasting many historical structures, artifacts, and prehistoric settlements.

Source: Shutterstock.

Dotted all around the province, split into the “Old Town” and the “New Town”, are well-preserved reminders of the Khmer empire times gone by, when Lopburi was still known as Lavo.

History aside, it is also known for its sunflower fields and notably proud of its monkey population of 3,000, so much so that an annual festival is held in their honor.

To get to Lopburi, you can either take a bus (three-hour ride) or a train (two-hour journey) from Bangkok.


For those who are fans of the ocean, Thailand’s easternmost coastal province beckons.

Trat Thailand

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Bordering Cambodia and the Cardamom Mountains, Trat is home to an archipelago of more than 40 islands with white-sand beaches and coral reefs called the Mu Koh Chang Marine National Park.

The largest island, Koh Chang, boasts a lush tropical jungle, waterfalls, splendid reefs, an abundance of marine life, and a traditional Thai village with its houses on stilts.

To get to Trat, you can either take a flight (one-hour journey) or a bus (five-hour ride) from Bangkok.


Nothing says “off the beaten path” like Loei, a rare gem in a largely undiscovered part of Thailand.

Loei Thailand

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Surrounded by mountain ranges with summits covered by fog, nature reserves which are untouched by mass tourism, and an atmosphere filled with the chorus of songbirds, Loei is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

Thanks to its elevation and topography, it is one of the few provinces in Thailand where temperatures drop below 0°C – truly a breath of fresh air for travelers.

To get to Loei, you can either take a flight (one-hour 10-minute journey) or an express bus (eight-hour ride) from Bangkok.

The project will target 10 million tourists to travel to secondary cities and communities, generating an estimated THB10 billion in tourism revenue in 2018.

The 55 provinces are Nakhon Si Thammarat, Udon Thani, Chiang Rai, Lopburi, Phitsanulok, Suphan Buri, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Nayok, Nong Khai, Sa Kaeo, Loei, Tak, Trat, Phetchabun, Chanthaburi, Mukdahan, Nakhon Sawan, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Phatthalung, Trang, Si Sa Ket, Prachin Buri, Satun, Chumphon, Sukhothai, Surin, Sakon Nakhon, Lamphun, Nakhon Phanom, Uttaradit, Ranong, Lampang, Roi Et, Mae Hong Son, Phichit, Phrae, Chai Nat, Nan, Ang Thong, Maha Sarakham, Kamphaeng Phet, Uthai Thani, Narathiwat, Yala, Phayao, Bueng Kan, Kalasin, Yasothon, Sing Buri, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Amnat Charoen, and Pattani.