When you think about Thailand, you may think about white sand beaches and sparkling blue seas in Phuket, or maybe busy streets and magnificent temples in Bangkok.
But hidden deep in the unknown, there are many places in Thailand where when you see it – you wouldn’t believe these places even exist, not in Thailand, nor even in this world.
These 19 unique places in Thailand can make your imagination run wild. From the underworld spectacular and natural phenomenon, to winged fairies and the golden dragon – you may say these places are truly “magical”
1. What will you see? Mickey Mouse, stars, or even animals! – Sam Phan Bok, the Grand Canyon of Thailand
No need to go to the US to see the Grand Canyon. Thailand has this natural wonder in Ubon Ratchathani., a province in North Eastern part of Thailand.
Sam Phan Bok when translated means 3,000 holes in English. The name came from the massive amount of holes on the bedrock of the Mae Khong River, a result from millions of years of water erosion. The water carved these rocks into different shapes and forms. And during dry season when the water subsides, these holes will reveal themselves like a mystical landscape.
The organic shapes of the rocks and holes will spark your imagination – some see a heart , a star, and some see animals. So just let your imagination run wild.
When you’re there, see if you can find the “Mickey Mouse” hole.
Try to visit early in the morning or before sunset, not only will the temperature be great, but the sunrise or sunset will add the magic to Sam Phan Bok and make you feel transported to a different world.
PS: Make sure to pack water, hat, or a parasol because there’s no shades and the sun can be strong.
2. Glide your way through the blooming red lotus lake – Talay Bua Dang, Udon Thani
Every year in January in the early morning, a normal lake in Udon Thani province will turn into a sea of red.
Over 8,000 acres of Lake Nong Han will be covered with blooming flowers of red lotus or water lilies, that expands the color red to the horizon as far as your eyes can see.
Even better, you can hire a boat to get close to these beautiful flowers. When you are out in the lake, gliding among the floating beauties, you can’t help but feel imbued with a touch of magic and romance.
That’s why Talay Bua Dang (Red Lotus Sea) is very popular destination for many pre-wedding photo shoots.
Photo Via Atsurat
The best time to go is before 10am when the flowers at their peak bloom, and if you’re there to take photos, remember to wear white clothing. It will make you really pop in the photo among all that red!
3. Have fun like Mowgli in the Jungle Book on a natural water slide! – Tham Phra Waterfall
Ever dreamt of living like Mowgli from the Jungle Book? While you might not have your very own Baloo to play with – you’ll still get a super fun day on a natural waterslide, in the middle of a jungle that’s 100% mother nature.
Located at Bueng Kan Province, in the northeastern region of Thailand, Bueng Kan is rich in natural beauty, especially waterfalls. You can actually visit 4 stunning waterfalls in one day – but the most unique waterfall in Beung Kan (or even in Thailand) is Tham Phra Waterfall, also known as Monk Cave Waterfall.
What makes this waterfall fantastic is not the height, but the wide open area of riverstone. Unlike many waterfalls that can be reached by foot or trekking through the jungle, the only way to get to Tham Phra Waterfall is by boat.
You’ll ride through the luscious green of the nature reserve, until you reach a big open space with streams of water flowing down big boulders. It feels as if someone deliberately built a water park in the middle of the jungle!
The rock is so smooth that you can slide from the top to the shallow pool below. And because the rock is very wide, it creates the most beautiful white water curtain that will take your breath away during the rainy season.
Another surprise waiting here are the Buddha statues strangely placed inside the cove on the upper level. This area used to belong to a Buddhist temple that has since relocated. Now it’s open to the public to enjoy Mother Nature’s playground!
4. A mountain with three flying whales in the sky – Hin Sam Whan, Phu Singh Forest Park
It’s impressive enough how these massive and ancient (over 75 million years) rocks can sit on top of the mountain 350 meters high above the ground.
But from a drone view, it has been revealed that these giant rock formations look like a family of whales. The heads of the whales stick out from the mountain as if they were about to fly off from their mountain home into a magical land.
The surface of the rocks are so smooth, and even has bumps and scratches like real whale skin.
You are allowed to walk on the rock but do be cautious as there are no guard rails, and you should not walk too close to the steep (and slippery if wet) edges. There’s an extremely stunning view when you reach the top of the rock (or the back of the whale), looking over the forest down below.
There are also many shapes of rock formation in Phu Singh Forest Park. According to locals in the know, you can find Elephant Stone, Heart Stone and Stone Wall along the way.
5. A waterfall that is the mightiest of all waterfalls in Thailand – Thi Lo Su Waterfall
Biggest, tallest, and mightiest are some of the words used to describe Thi Lo Su Waterfall, located in Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, Tak Province.
How big is Thi Lo Su? The fall is about 300 meter high and covers about 5 football fields. During the rainy season, you will witness the sight of endless flow of powerful water crashing down below – creating white mists coming off the fall and often a rainbow too.
During the dry season, you will see a different kind of beauty. The water will cascade down from the top onto different levels of rocks which are covered in moss and green trees. It almost looks like a patchwork of manicured gardens.
6. A mountain with a temple in the sky – Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Phrachomklao Rachanusorn, Lampang
Imagine being up on top of the mountain at 815 meters above sea level. There’s a sea of clouds that looks like a white blanket covers the entire valley. There are just a few pinnacles of the rocky mountain peeking through – and you’ll see a temple and more than 10 white stupas sitting on top of the pinnacle.
What a beautiful sight, isn’t it?
It’s not just the incredible location that makes Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Phrachomklao Rachanusorn magical.
The temple was built by the faith and determination of the community to pay homage to a sacred Buddhist relic at the highest peak of the mountain. Thais believes that anyone who reaches the top (by foot) where the sacred site is, will be blessed with luck and fortune.
7. Visit China’s famous Guilin… in Thailand! – Ratchaprapha Dam
Guillin is a province in Southern China that’s well known for beautiful karst topography. Luckily, you don’t need to go all the way to China to admire the beautiful landscape – it’s right here in Surat Thani Province in Thailand!
Once a limestone mountain range, the area was flooded to build Ratchaprapha Dam (also known as Chieo Lan Dam). It left the area with clusters of mountain peaks peaking sharply from the very still water.
The luscious green trees growing on top of the rugged surface makes a truly breathtaking view that’s hard to forget. Hence the reason why it’s dubbed as “Little Guillin” of Thailand
The most famous landmark in Ratchaprapha Dam that you need to see is called Khao Sam Gler” or “Three Friends Rock” in English where a group of 3 rocks forms almost a circle with the tops seem bounding toward the middle as if three close friends are having a conversation (and probably a round of drinks too).
People come to Ratchaprapha Dam to seek tranquility. You can also spend time in one of the floating water resorts and just spend days chilling here. Something about the contrast of calm waters against the grand backdrop of mountains can magically bring you peace and serenity.
8. The glowing blue lagoon fit for water nymphs – Sra Nam Pud, Krabi
What would you do if you were trekking in a dark dense foliage jungle full of big tall trees with twisting roots turning on the ground like big snakes – and suddenly you discover a small opening of trees leading to a pool of crystal clear blue water?
The sun shines down on the surface of the water, and it makes the pool look like it were almost glowing. You might think in just a few seconds, a magical water nymph would slowly emerge from the water.
The bad news is you might not find fairies frolicking here, but the good news is that you’ll be able to visit this Blue Lagoon at Khao Phra Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary, just 70km from Krabi City Center.
Also a part of the sanctuary is the Emerald Pool, a large natural pool filled with pure spring water running down the stream. The water is extremely crystal clear and reflects intense emerald hues.
Unlike the Blue Lagoon which cannot be swimmed in due to the surrounding dangerous quicksand, you can swim in the Emerald Pool. Just make sure to get there before 2pm before it starts to get crowded!
9. The sleeping elephant mountain that wears a spiked crown – Doi Chaang Pha Dan
Considered the highest point in Prae Province in Northern part of Thailand, from afar, Doi Chaang Pha Dan looks like a sleeping elephant – and you can clearly see the limestone rock on top of the mountain.
The jagged shape of the mountain top makes it looks like it is wearing spiked crowns, but the highlight of Doi Chaang Pha Dan is at the high point of the mountain.
First, hike up the mountain to a small monastery at the base of the peak. From there, you can climb to the very top. The climb is quite dangerous, not only because of the sharp edges of limestone rock, but also because there isn’t any other climbing gear.
But when you finally reach the top, the view is amazing, almost out of this world. Soak in the 360 degree panoramic view to see almost the whole province!
10. A beach where you can walk with the dragon – Talay Whag (Golden Scale Dragon Spine)
At a beach in Sa-Tun province, everyday at low tide, the sea parts and reveals something very big and very mysterious.
A mysterious long and narrow ban emerges from the sea. It curves and bends just on the surface of the water. It stretches almost 3 km long between two small islands, and when the sunlight hits, the mysterious ban glimmers like gold.
Could this be a sea dragon swimming?
That’s what the locals have imagined and thus named it “Golden Scale Dragon Spine”.
The stretch of glimmering gold is actually an underwater sand dune which emerges when the tide is low. Instead of sand, this dune is made from pieces of seashells which glimmers in sunlight just like golden scales of a dragon would (as one would imagine).
You can hire a boat out to the dune and walk from end to end. Legend has it that anyone who walks on this dragon spine will receive pure energy from the sea that will help to boost your inner chi. If it wasn’t from the mystical dragon, it’s definitely from the stunning scenery of this place.
11. A trail in a forest that may lead you to the Lost World – Ang Ka Nature Trail, Doi Inthanon National Park
Thailand is not always about hot and tropical weather.
Heading toward the northern part of Thailand will definitely require thicker clothes, especially at Doi Inthanon aka “The Top of Thailand” – the highest mountain in Thailand that’s over 2500 meters high. The temperatures here are always cold year round, and can even dip below 0 °C.
Because of the high altitude climate, the forest at Doi Inthanon consists of cold weather plants and floras which are uniquely different from the rest of Thailand.
Not too far from the summit, visitors can enjoy this beautiful landscape by walking along the Ang Ka Nature Trail, a 360 meter long trail that passes through luscious green valley. You will walk on a boardwalk covered in thick mosses, lichens, and fern.
Along the trail, you can also enjoy the big giant trees covered in thick moss on their trunks and branches as if the trees are wearing huge sweaters.
If you visit during a cold foggy day, the fog will add to the mysterious feel that will pull you to enter this magical forest.
12. Ever wondered what it feels to bathe in the moonlight? – Sangchan Waterfall
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to bathe in moonlight, you’ll come as close as you possibly can to it at Sangchan Waterfall – a waterfall that looks just like a beam of moonlight, in Ubon Ratchathani province.
Though the waterfall is small but it has a big impact when you see it. The fresh water runs through a big hole from the roof of the cavern down to a pool on the ground. The flowing stream of white water makes the waterfall look just like a beam of moonlight.
The best time to visit is at noon when the sun is at the same angle as the falling water. The sunlight passing through the hole will add a magical glow to the already beautiful waterfall.
Better yet, in the full moon around midnight is when the waterfall is the most beautiful – when the moonlight shines through the hole reflecting water droplets from the fall, giving out soft shimmering light that is purely magical.
13. The legendary cliff which the great giant lion admired – Pha Singh Liao, Chiang Mai
Carved by the gradual caving of the earth’s surface, this natural phenomenon created a remarkable cliff and majestic pillars.
The massive size of the cliff and pillars are not the only things that make Pha Singh Liao so impressive – these pillars are as tall as 50 meters and are considered the tallest dirt columns in Thailand – but the unique sight where mounds of dirt rests on top of them makes these pillars look like they’re wearing a hat. Some say they look like a flower bouquet or broccoli.
At some angles, the cliff also looks like Roman columns.
Do you spot a giant lion on top of the cliff?
Legend has it that these pillars is so beautiful, it made the Great Lion King turn his head to admire the sight. Hence the name, Pha Singh Liao, which translates to “Cliff of the Lion Turns Head.”
14. Calling E.T, the cave with an alien – Lam Klong Ngu National Park, Kanchanaburi
Going into a dark cave may not be for everybody. Especially at Lam Klong Ngu National Park where you’ll need to trek through the forest, crawling, and climbing to get to the cave. But when you reach there, we guarantee it will be worth it.
Inside the caves, you’ll beautiful limestone structures. Created entirely by the hand of nature over millions of years of water slowly dripping through the limestone rock – these magnificent structures decorates the cave chambers with different formations like a work of art.
Some hang from the ceiling like flowing silk curtains, while some stack up like columns from the ground.
Some can transform into unusual shapes like the creature from the movie “Alien”. This is why locals calls it “Alien Rock”.
One of the caves at Lam Klong Ngu National Park, Tham Sao Hin (Stone Column Cave), has the tallest limestone column in Thailand (and the longest column in the world), measuring 62.5 meters in height.
Standing inside these majestic caves and surrounded by ethereal underworld beauty will make you think that you’ve stumbled on a strange new world.
15. Ever dreamed of going on a space exploration to Mars? – Pong Yup, Ratchaburi
Find yourself on an entirely different planet and enter Mars at Pong Yup.
Witness this natural phenomenon where the land has sunken down from erosion over time, and what’s left is a 5 meter cliff that looks like a city wall with odd-looking earthen pillars.
You can walk around at the bottom of the cliff amidst the maze-like formation of pillars.
It truly might make you feel like you were on different planet
16. See the unique flaming cliff on a beach – Had Pha Dang
In Prachaub Khiri Khan, a province in southern part of Thailand, there’s a beach about 10 km long. Along this beach, there’s a very unique cliff that has great geological value and provides an unusual sight to see.
Because the cliff is made of laterite which has a natural red color, the sight is made even more beautiful, especially during the early morning when warm sunlight bounces off the red cliff making it look almost like the cliff is on fire.
Imagine seeing a cliff over 20meters high and 5km long that appears to be flaming in gorgeous hues of red. It’s so big that you can spot the red cliff from the adjacent island!
It’s not only the cliff that’s red, the beach also has the same reddish color as a result of the mixture of sand and red stone from the red cliff. With over 100,000 years in the making, the beach here looks almost as if someone painted many layers of red stripes onto the sand beach.
Though it is a beach, it’s not suitable for swimming because of the rip currents and whirlpools, but you can still enjoy this secluded beach during sunrise or sunset.