Written by Shannon Osztonits
Okay let’s be real, we all know that our natural wonders and “most beautiful places in the world” get their fame because they’re unique, striking or one of a kind. But have you ever traveled to another country and thought, “Wow, this totally reminds me of…” (say a place you’ve visited or the country you’re from)?
Well, we sure have, on many occasions. And it just so turns out that within Thailand, there are actually an incredible selection of places that have made us think twice about where in the world we actually are.
So here’s our list of places that truly take our breath away, all for their own special reasons.
17 Unique mystical places in Thailand and the really fascinating stories behind them
20 Unique temples in Thailand for an out-of-the-ordinary experience
19 Magical places to visit in Thailand with fairies, dragons and flaming cliffs
1. Provence, France vs I Love Flower Farm, Chiang Mai
Ah, Provence, one of the dreamiest regions in France, I’d say, and known for its gorgeous and unending purple fields of Lavender flowers.
Now, step into your very own fairytale and escape to a dreamy world full of purple and white flowers found in the hillside of Mae Rim, in Northern Thailand.
I Love Flower Farm
Price: From 70 Baht / approx. USD $2.30 (Entrance, Drink and Snack); 500 Baht / approx. USD $15.98 (Tea Set in Flower Field) Website
Address: 33 Mueang Kaeo, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai 50180, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 82 897 2679, +66 88 266 7885
Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 6pm (To Reopen in November)
2. Matamata, New Zealand vs Hobbit House @ Alpaca Hill, Ratchaburi
CALLING ALL LORD OF THE RINGS FANS!!!
Ever heard of Matamata? This little town in New Zealand that sits below the Kaimai Range mountains is actually where the Hobbiton movie set was created for The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films!
And of course, where “anything is possible” in Thailand, why not stop over at Alpaca Hill – yes, they do have alpacas – and explore The Hobbit House! (There’s even a Harry Potter Hut, so this one has some major movie feels going on too, know what I’m saying 😉).
Hobbit House @ Alpaca Hill
Price: From 290 Baht / approx. USD $9.27 Website
Address: 357 Moo 8, Phapok-Tako Land Rd, Suanphung Ratchaburi 70180, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 80 821 2108, +66 81 145 9565
Opening hours: Mon-Thur from 9.30am to 5pm, Fri-Sun from 9am to 6pm
3. Ban Gioc (a.k.a. Detian Falls), Vietnam & China vs Thi Lo Su Waterfall, Tak
Considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Detian Falls is famous because it actually sits in both Vietnam and China (it’s actually the international border!) – crazy right?!
But no need for cross-countrying here, Thi Lo Su (Thailand’s greatest and most stunning waterfall), certainly lives up to its other South East Asian counterpart.
Thi Lo Su Waterfall
Price: 200 Baht per person / approx. USD $6.39 Website
Address: Mae Chan, Umphang District, Tak, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: By car from Umphang District, follow the Umphang – Mae Sot route and take a left turn at Km 161 (Ban Mae Klong Mai) to De Lo Pass or the “Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary” checkpoint for 30 km. Visitors should use a pick-up truck or a four-wheel drive car which has high performance. During the rainy season ((June- November), it is impossible for a car to access the sanctuary. you must walk or hire a raft to get to the fall.
Contact: +66 55 514 3411-3 (TAT Office in Tak Province)
Opening hours: Daily from 8:30am to 6pm
4. Yunnan, China vs Baan Rak Thai, Mae Hong Son
Beautiful ancient and traditional houses still stand today, littering Yunnan’s province in China, especially if you visit Shuhe Old Town.
Did you know that there’s a small Chinese tea village in Northern Thailand (originally founded by Kuomintang soldiers from Yunnan Province), known for its breathtaking views and tea cultivation?
Baan Rak Thai
Address: Mok Cham Pae, Mueang Mae Hong Son District, Mae Hong Son 58000, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: It is just over an hour’s drive from Mae Hong Son town.
5. Santorini, Greece vs Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan
Life on the Greek hilly island of Santorini is relaxed and filled with gorgeous architecture, seaside cafes and culturally loved activities such as fishing villages and art spaces.
Somebody pinch me, are you sure we’re in Hua Hin? From Greek Taverna to Santorini replica villas, and even a theme-park made to mirror the streets of the Greek island, you’ll find yourself slipping into a Grecian dream.
Price: From 150 Baht / approx. USD $4.79 Website
Address: Petchakasem Road, Amphoe Cha-Am, Phetchaburi, Thailand 76120 Amphoe Cha-Am, Phetchaburi, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 81 930 8967, +66 82 229 4464
Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 6.30pm, Sat-Sun from 9am to 6.30pm (Temporarily Closed until 2021)
6. Bodh Gaya, India vs Bodhgaya Wat Chongkham, Lampang
Seeking spirituality in India? This is where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath the sacred Bodhi Tree, the birthplace of Buddhism you could say. Some of Buddha’s relics are inside the Chedi.
Now check out Thailand’s replica Bodhgaya Wat Chongkham, and although not the original birthplace of Buddha, it’s still considered as one of the holy sites.
7. Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan vs Wat Chulabhorn Wanaram, Nakhon Nayok
Ah, incredible Japan, you never cease to amaze us. In this scene, imagine rows of sky-high bamboo shoots growing proud and tall at Kyoto’s very own natural Bamboo Forest.
But wait, seen this scene before in Nakhon Nayok? There’s no denying the opportunity to visit Thailand’s very own rendition – plus, it makes for epic photos!
8. Li River, Guilin, China vs Ratchaprapa Dam, Surat Thani
According to National Geographic, the Li River, or Li Jiang, in Guilin, Southern China is considered as one of the world’s top water wonders for its surreal, clear emerald green water and its magnificent backdrop of stalagmite-looking mountains.
The atmosphere at Ratchaprapa Dam is very much the same and was dubbed by locals as Thailand’s Guilin, with gorgeous mountains protruding from the waters around you and a scene of green.
Price: 200 Baht / approx. USD $6.39 (Adults), 100 Baht / approx. USD $3.19 (Adults) Website
Address: Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani 84230, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: From Phuket, there is a bus service (one bus per hour; the last leaving Phuket around 2pm). From there it’s a 4 hours drive to Khao Lak, and a further 2 hours from here (including a 20 min stop in Takua Pa that you may use to visit the local market). We recommend making it a 2-3 days trip to Khao Sok.
Contact: +66 77 242 560
Opening hours: Daily from 7am to 5pm
9. Seychelles vs Koh Lipe, Satun
The Seychelles (located in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar) has been on my bucket list since I was a child due to its ridiculously pristine, crystal-clear waters and, of course, its abundance of marine life and oceanic activities.
Now say hello to Koh Lipe, the tiny Thai isle with its own set of jaw-droppingly gorgeous waters, and ocean filled with all sorts of sea creatures (not to mention the entire island itself).
P.s. Both are perfect destinations for proposals, just in case you were wondering 😍.
Address: Satun, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: If you’re travelling from Hat Yai, you will need to book a minivan to bring you to Pak Bara Pier where the ferry will bring you to Koh Lipe.
10. Mount Fuji, Japan vs Phu Pa Poh, Loei
If you’ve ever visited the snow-capped mountains of Mount Fuji, well I’m just utterly jealous. The active volcano (just FYI) is the country’s largest mountain (with its iconic flat top) and many take on holy pilgrimages here.
Head to the hillsides of gorgeous Loei, although not snow capped, you’re completely surrounded by a sea of low-hanging clouds at the top of the Phu Pa Poh mountain + the views are everything.
Phu Pa Poh
Price: 60 Baht / approx. USD $1.92
Address: Puan Phu, Nong Hin District, Loei 42230, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: There are daily flights from Bangkok into Loei’s small airport, as well as multiple bus routes from nearby cities and provinces. You can also travel by car, bus or train to Loei (8 hours drive from Bangkok). Once you’ve reached Loei, drive for another 35 minutes.
Opening hours: Daily 24/7
11. Jiuzhaigou, China vs Emerald Lake, Lampang
Ever seen muti-coloured waters of blues and greens? Jiuzhai Valley National Park in China astounds all with her waters and always Autumn-coloured trees.
Seeing double? Emerald Lake in Lampang might just blow you away with such stunning shades of emerald, jade and blues, you’ll be reaching for your cameras immediately!
Address: Rural Road 6053, Ban Pong, Ngao District, Lampang, 52110 (Coordinates here)
Getting there: It’s located in the Ngao district of Lampang in Tham Pha National Park (3.5 hours east of Chiang Mai). Stay on route 1013 instead of taking Google Maps’ proposed shortcut, and you’ll see signs with images of the Emerald Lake that will direct you the rest of the way. Once you reach the park, it’s accessible via a narrow concrete and partially dirt road.
Contact: +66 83 203 7330, +66 5 422 0364, +66 94 698 5741
12. Sapa, Vietnam vs Pa Pong Piang, Chiang Mai
Sapa puts the cherry on the rice paddy cake. With clouds floating across a hillside of layered shades of green rice fields – it’s a seriously gorgeous scene and one of my favourite places in Vietnam.
Located just 2.5 hours from Chiang Mai, this secret-in-the-mountains i.e. Pa Pong Piang has gathered quite some talk over recent years, being called ‘the most beautiful rice field’ in all of Thailand.
13. Grand Canyon, USA vs Pha Chor, Chiang Mai
The Grand Canyon is something you grow up learning is one of our Natural Wonders of the World, and rightfully so – there truly is nothing like it on earth.
The name, perhaps borrowed from the original in the good ol’ USA, perfectly defines the Thai version of the natural wonder, albeit being in Chiang Mai. Looming orange cliffs flow into still emerald waters, painting a picture of peaceful perfection.
Price: 100 Baht / approx. USD $3.19 (Adults), 50 Baht / approx. USD $1.60 (Child); 20 Baht / approx. USD $0.64 (Motorbike parking), 30 Baht / approx. USD $0.96 (Car parking)
Address: Mae Wang National Park, Santi Suk, Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: From Chiang Mai city, take Highway 108 (21km), follow the signs and turn right for Mae Wang District on Highway 12039 (36km). This will take you straight to Pha Chor.
Opening hours: Daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm
14. Sahara Desert vs Hong Beach (a.k.a. Swan Beach), Ubon Ratchathani
Now we all know the Sahara Desert (well at least I hope so! 😉) spans over a number of countries (mostly African), with its endless sand dunes and amazing lighting (always).
No need to travel to Africa, get out your desert safari fashion wear; Swan Beach is actually a part of the Mekong River, and when the tides drop ultra low, the river banks really rise, creating high sand dunes.