Tourists are spoilt for choice with Thailand’s picture-perfect beaches. Yet, there are several parts of the country that remain severely underrated. Steer clear of the tourist traps this holiday season and explore Thailand in all it’s glorious fullness. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

Ria Lawrence

The night markets
Bright lights, fresh food and soulful performances- the Rot Fai markets, Asiatique and Patpong are some popular night markets in Thailand. Arrive before 10pm if you want to catch all the vendors open. These markets are incredibly cheap and make for a wholesome, fun evening. You can find second hand collectibles, vintage clothing and local snacks all under one roof.

Explore the floating markets
Thailand’s rivers and canals have become vibrant hubs of activity. Several merchants gather to sell, buy and trade local fresh produce and souvenirs. All the movement is via boats only; you can choose to paddle alone or hire a boatman. The Pattaya market, Khlong Lat Mayom and Muang Boran are strongly recommended.

Day trip to Ayutthaya
Thailand’s former capital, Ayutthaya is a day trip from Bangkok. It boasts a stunning fleet of sun-kissed temples. You can take the train, taxi or bus to get there; the options are plenty. Once there, you can hire a bike or taxi to explore the temples. It’s an expansive part of the country so exploring it on foot may be overwhelming.

National Parks
A myriad national parks at your disposal, get a glimpse of Thailand’s pristine wilderness- up close. The Kui Buri national park is famous for its elephants. You can get there by pickup trucks or 4*4 vehicles, and can rent a bungalow to stay overnight. The Kaeng Krachan park is mostly rainforest. There are many activities available for families like boating and hiking.
The Erawan national park has a seven tiered emerald green waterfall; you are allowed to climb up and bathe in the pools. The easiest way to get there is to take a bus from Kanchanaburi which takes about an hour and a half.

Visit the Terracotta Arts Garden
The small cavern like garden is actually an outdoor showroom replete with moss-covered terracotta artwork. You can take a ferry to get there and travel around by bike. And yes, there are several snacks and hot teas to enjoy once there. The gardens are a hidden, little gem and fairly uncluttered. All the more reason to add it to your itinerary.

Party at Bangla Road, Patong
If you wish to take a small break from the kids and enjoy some alone time, Bangla Road will not disappoint. This part of the city comes to life once the sun has set. You’ll see a kaleidoscope of neon lights, eating places and peppy music. All the bars are open fronted and the crowd is friendly and fun. One of the highlights of Bangla Road is the variety of street food.