The world’s tropical getaway of choice, Thailand is comprised of a whopping 76 provinces and two special administrative areas, with each vying with the other to offer the best experience to tourists. Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, may be the most popular and biggest draws for tourists, but remember that there are 75 more provinces that beckon the visitor with their own unique attractions. Below is a brief on some of these provinces and their top draws.
Chonburi province is the main province on the East coast of Thailand, of which the main tourist attraction is Pattaya. While Pattaya is the hub of the tourist trade, there are numerous other places to see and experience across Chonburi. The 130-meter-high Buddha Mountain is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the region, visible to anyone from miles away. The mountain also has some beautifully landscaped gardens and lotus pools, giving an air of tranquility to the place.
There is also the Sanctuary of Truth, which was constructed to withstand the wind and sunshine on the seashore at Rachvate Cape, in Chon Buri Province. It is a gigantic wooden construction which covers an area of more than 3,200 square meters. The top point of the building is about 105 meters high.
Trat: Islands and beaches
The southeastern-most province in Thailand has a colorful military history, but today it is more known for its beautiful islands. The three most popular islands are Koh Chang, Koh Kood and Koh Mak, where you can enjoy not only the sea, sand and sun but also rich marine life, greenery and local ways of life.
Koh Chang (Elephant Island) is well-known for its size and its diversity and offers a wide range of activities. Thanks to its mountainous and forested landscape, Koh Chang visitors get to enjoy not only the beaches but also hiking and relaxing in the Khlong Phlu waterfall area.
Rayong: Urban tourism
Rayong is a province on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand with 100-kilometer-long coast. The city is a center of seafood and various kinds of fruits. With its richness of food and beautiful places, Rayong is one of the must-see cities responding to various styles of visitors. For those who like historical tourism, are recommended to pay homage to the Shrine of King Taksin the Great, see the 30-year Crudia chrysantha tree, visit a 10-meter-high pagoda on an Island in Wat Samut Khongkha or Wat Pak Nam.
Apart from tourist attractions, Rayong has many joyful festivals and traditional activities, particularly the Rayong Fruit Festival occurring annually during May. There are also a lot of activities such as fruit parade, fruit competition, Miss Fruit Gardener Contest, and also selling fruits in a cheaper price.
Chiang Mai: Trekking
Doi Inthanon National Park covers 482.40 square kilometers. As one of Thailand’s most popular provinces for tourists, Chiang Mai has plenty of great attractions but one of the best has to be Doi Inthanon National Park. Capped by the 2,565-meter peak of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest, it is a lush expanse of waterfalls, trekking trails, campgrounds and hill tribe villages.
The province of Lampang is a popular destination for those who like to get close to nature. The Thai Elephant Conservation Center under Royal Patronage lets you spend anywhere from a few days to a month helping care for some of the 50 elephants that live there.
Lamphun: Historic temples
The most popular sight in this small but historically significant province is Wat Phra Tha Haripunchai, which dates back anywhere between 1,200 and 400 years, depending on what you consider the original structure to be. Debate aside, the 46-meter-tall chedi is as impressive as any you will see in Thailand.
Nan: Buddhist art
One of the most remote provinces in Thailand, Nan is quiet and leafy. Among Nan’s highlights are the mysterious and intricate carvings and murals at Wat Nong Bua, which are likely over 100 years old, although no one knows for sure as records have been lost.
Nong Khai: Sculpture park
This skinny little province was an important site for warring empires over the past few centuries, but today it is busy with traffic in and out of Laos via the Friendship Bridge.
One of its wackiest attractions is Sala Kaew Ku (aka Wat Khaek), built by a philanthropist who believed all religions could mix harmoniously. There are dozens of large statues from Christian, Hindu and Buddhist religions, among others, spread throughout the landscaped grounds.
Roi Et: Plalan Chai Lake
The people of Roi Et province know how to build monuments, the place is littered with them. But for a relaxing day out you could do worse than Bueng Phalan Chai, a large lake with plenty of green space, walking trails, shrines, statues and waterfalls.
Phang Nga: Similan Islands
Phang Nga’s Similan Islands offer some of Thailand’s best scuba diving. This province’s claim to fame is that key scenes for James Bond film ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ were shot there.
Much like Krabi or Phuket, to list a single attraction is impossible, but with the number of beaches and islands that make up Phang Nga, you would not have any problem finding something to do. The Similan Islands, for instance, are renowned for their underwater offerings for scuba divers.