Thailand is currently one of the hottest travel destinations on the planet, particularly for backpackers or budget travellers.
With some of the lowest travel costs, the most beautiful scenery and top-rated beaches, it’s a no brainer for Gen Y travellers.
Here are some of the best off-the-beaten-track locations to see.
Pai is a sleepy town 50 miles north of Chiang Mai that is famous for giving a glimpse into the more rural part of Thailand.
It used to be a quiet village where travellers could rest and recuperate, but now it’s a unique place to explore a more hidden part of Thailand away from the crowds. Pai will help give you a closer experience of the local culture.
Nightly cost in a hostel: about $5 USD a night.
The city of Ayutthaya has some of Thailand’s oldest, most beautiful historical temples, parks, and pagodas.
It’s originally the capital of the Ayutthaya province, where a king fled to avoid a smallpox outbreak and set up a brand new kingdom.
When you think of a stereotypical picture of Southeast Asia, Thailand, or Buddhist temples, it’s usually from the area near Ayutthaya.
Nightly cost in a hostel: about $8 USD a night.
#3 Chiang Mai
For those that want to get away from Bangkok, which tends to be busier and more polluted, Chiang Mai is more of a "fresh air" option.
You can head north to Chiang Mai via bus, train, or plane, but depending on the weather options, the bus is often the safest route. During peak weather seasons, the train is often shut down, de-railed, or has other serious issues.
Chiang Mai is an outdoors activity heaven. If you want to go to Thailand for elephant rides, jungle treks, camping, taking off-road vehicles, or other activities, Chiang Mai is the place to be. Whereas the south of Thailand is more "party" and beach focused, Chiang Mai has a sleepier, more comfortable suburban feel compared to Bangkok.
Nightly cost in a hostel: about $10 USD a night.
#4 Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is famous across the world for having some of the most beautiful and recognizable beaches on the planet.
Featured in The Island with Leonardo DiCaprio, Koh Phi Phi has dozens of nearby islands, beaches, and jump off points where daily local tours can bring you for an afternoon or several days.
The island is heavily geared towards tourism and partying (a younger crowd), so expect higher prices, longer lines, and dealing with more haggling than you’re used to.
For a quieter, more private island, see #5 (Koh Samui).
Nightly cost in a hostel: about $20 USD a night, however around peak tourist season, you will rarely find a room without booking ahead of time at least several weeks.
#5 Koh Samui
For those that want the fantastic scenery of Koh Phi Phi, without the partying and high prices, Koh Samui is the perfect alternative.
Samui is a quieter island, more off the tourist track, with spectacular views of the surrounding islands. Although it’s quiet, the surrounding vistas, islands, and island hopping tours are often just as good as Koh Phi Phi’s - and often at a fraction of the price, without the crowd or the hassle.
Arriving on Samui is like arriving to a sleepy island full of locals that don’t even notice you; Arriving on Koh Phi Phi is arriving to a crowd of salesmen trying to give you "bargains" for their hotel deals.