*Sibongile Sibiya, a Travel Expert from our The Fields Store in Pretoria, shares her experience of Thailand. With STA Travel, START THE ADVENTURE. #WeKnowBecauseWeGo

Think you’ve heard everything there is to know about Thailand? So did we; and it took just two weeks of rediscovery for us to realise that we couldn’t be more wrong. There’s always a secret lurking in the tropics!

  1. Freedom Beach, Phuket

We must admit, making it down a steep hill to get to Freedom Beach is a bit of a workout. Then again, a lot of Mother Nature’s most beautiful features are as hard to find as they are to forget. Go, it’s worth it.

2. Mae Wang, Chiang Mai

Fancy creating your own Thai version of The Amazing Race, then this district will be perfect for you. Adventure is the last thing that you will run out of in Mae Wang. From bamboo rafting on the river and making your contribution to elephant care. To meditating at the sacred Buddhist statues that you’ll come across as you trek through the hill-tribe villages. There’s a lot to do for every traveler.

3. Hong Island or rather, Ko Hong

Crystal clear waters, soft white sands, big palm trees plus no crowds around and voila, you’ve got yourself the perfect island paradise. Ko Hong is easily reachable from Phuket and Krabi by boat or ferry – just make sure you get the earliest arrival so that you can spend more time snorkelling, strolling through the mini-jungle behind you or taking 1 000 pictures for your next #lifesabeach Instagram post. 

4. Ploen Ruedee Night Market, Chiang Mai

For all our modern artsy types who love to thrift, eat and listen to live music, this is perfect for you. Hidden in plain sight, Ploen Ruedee night market is open every night and it’s in central Chiang Mai so getting there won’t be a hassle. The set-up is very chilled with the stalls on the sides surrounding a big seating area that faces the stage. You’ll find a wide range of local and international cuisine, clothing, music, and most importantly PEOPLE.

5. Chiang Mai waterfalls

Chiang Mai is known for being mostly untouched, natural land, so naturally (there’s obviously an emphasis on nature here) it’s got some breathtaking water wonders to offer. We visited one of the waterfalls in Doi Inthanon national park and it was as beautiful as people always say about waterfalls. We’re not sure what’s harder – eventually having to say goodbye to one of nature’s water wonders or fighting the urge to sing the classic TLC song about chasing waterfalls… Help.

6. Bang Krachao, Bangkok

Unless you want to rent a helicopter (we’re kidding here) Bang Krachao is best reachable by a quick boat ride across Chao Phraya River. Classic Thai living is the order of everyday here and it’s the perfect escape from inner city crowds and noise. Sri Nakhon Khuan Khan Park, aka “the lungs of Bangkok” is in Bang Krachao and it will leave you wondering how such a lush green oasis can be left untouched in a city like Bangkok. This was by far one of our best discoveries and it goes without saying that we recommend it for all our nature-loving travellers out there. Best way to make it through the whole park? Cycling, of course.

7. Wat Doi Sapphanyu Temple

Right in the middle of the heavy forests of Northern Thailand is a very interesting temple. Wat Doi Sappanyu has four golden buddha statues with the most popular one being said to be rocking a smooth wink. You’ll be faced with a large staircase as you make your way to the top of the temple so bring some water and a camera for the stunning views at the summit. This temple is not easy to reach but guess what, that’s what makes it a secret worth discovering.

By Sibongile Sibiya

Still not convinced? Perhaps pay Thailand a visit and let us know what undiscovered parts you find. We’re always ready to Start the Adventure!