Thailand is huge and have abundant of beautiful tourist attractions. Why do we only need to go to those popular destinations? Why do we only need to go to Phu Tub Berk, Koh Samae San, Koh Tachai, and so on? Why do we need to follow others there? Don't you want to create your own traveling book? To where people rarely talk about?
Therefore, I would like to introduce you to these places which are not totally new totally. But not that many people have heard about them or haven't been interested in them. However, I can guarantee the attractiveness of these hidden gems which are not less than those well-known ones. And you will be able to see the new angle of beauty which might not be common to find in those famous tourist spots.
I would mainly focus on places not far from Bangkok on this very first chapter of the hidden gems. I would like you to open up for these not well-known places. And I would like you all to be aware that there are so many tourist attractions close to our capital city but they have been rarely explored.
Klong Klone Village
Address : Klong Klone, Mueang District, Samut Songkhram
To get there : From Rama II Road, take the left turn into Rural Road 2021 or Bypass Road to Cha-Am. Then you need to turn left to Klong Klone Village. It is about 700 THB per person for one night stay and a day trip at Klong Klone Mangrove Forest Preservation Center.
A bar on the mouth of the Mae Klong River can be considered as one of the richest marine clay places in Thailand. It is also known as a hub of reasonable price fresh seafood restaurants. However, there is a hidden gem hidden in this Klong Klone Village where is not known by many people. It is mangrove forest planting, eating in the middle of the sea, watching cockle hunting, seeing mussel farm, and enjoying your time with many fun activities on the marine clay.
I normally like to travel with a package for 1 night including seafood meal and seasonal activities. There are numbers of homestays run by local available in the area as well. You can have a look and pick your favorite one from Google.com right away. However, the biggest operation would be the one run by Klong Klone Mangrove Forest Preservation Center. This organization is well-established by the help and support from locals in order to develop and run it as a center to educate how to preserve the mangrove forest sustainably. There are organizations, students, and companies come for a day trip or overnight stay here from time to time. If you are only few people, you then can join the day trip with those people straight ahead. You might be messy with all the clay but I am sure that you face will be messed with all the smiles.
Laem Phak Bia Royal Project
Address : Laem Phak Bia, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
To get there : From Rama II Road, take the left turn into Rural Road 2021 or Bypass Road to Cha-Am and follow the sign to Chao Samran Beach, Puek Tian Beach, and Cha-Am Beach. Then you will find Laem Phak Bia Royal Project on you left-hand side in front of Wat Samuttharam before approaching Chao Samran Beach.
You might be familiar with the name Laem Phak Bia Royal Project but do you really know what do they have inside? Is there anything interesting in there? First of all, I would like to tell you that this Royal project is mainly about Waste Water Treatment. There are numbers of lagoon treatments where hundreds of waterbirds use as their shelter. Therefore, it can be considered as one of the best bird-watching spots in the nation especially in winter time when birds immigrate from the Northern Hemisphere.
Apart from bird watching activity that you can take your children, nephews, and nieces to enjoy and learn, there is an educational mangrove trail. This trail is well-designed and along the trail you are able to see the plentiful mangrove forest. It is beautiful and very refreshing. It is a popular spot for pre-wedding photo shoot as well. I like to see crabs, walking fish, and variety of mangrove species. I enjoy to learn more about ecology system this way. You can even come to just enjoy taking photos as well.
Chong Lom Waterfall
Address : Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam, Mueang District, Nakhon Nayok
To get there : Drive on Rangsit - Nakhon Nayok Road and pass by downtown Nakhon Nayok to Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam. You can rent a boat by contacting boat rental service at the dam. It is about 1,000 THB which can accommodate up to 10 people.
Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam is very well-known. It is at the outskirt of UNESCO World Heritage site, Khao Yai National Park. However, waterfalls around the dam where can be reached only by boat haven't been discovered much by the tourists. Some may not be interested in. Some may think it won't be worth it from what you need to pay for the boat rental. I have got to tell you that if those are the cases, you have missed something very special.
Chong Lom Waterfall is the most attractive and the best to dip in in Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam. It is not huge. The fall goes down through the cliffs. There is a medium size pond which is not that deep. The fall is there all year round but the amount of the water is depending on the season. During the time that the dam holds a lot of water, the boat can drop you off very close to the waterfall. It is not even 100 meters. On the other hand, it can be 500-meter walk to it in dry season. Besides, you can view the beauty of what is under the water during the dry season though.
Pha Tad Waterfall
Address : Lin Thin, Thong Pha Phum District, Kanchanaburi
To get there : Drive from Bangkok and head to Downtown Kanchanaburi before taking the direction to Sai Yok District. It is about 40-kilometer far from Sai Yok National Park where you need to turn right to Pha Tad Waterfall, same way to Hin Dad Hot Spring .
The most famous waterfalls of Kanchanaburi go to those Erawan Waterfall, Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall, and Sai Yok Yai Waterfall. However, my most favorite one is none of the one mentioned above. It is Pha Tad Waterfall at Khuean Srinagarindra National Park in Thong Pha Phum District. Those who experience this waterfall for the first time will shout wow! out loud for sure. Because its beauty is second to none in Kanchanaburi.
The road to get to the waterfall is well-developed. And to walk to the fall is not far nor difficult. There are three levels of waterfall here. The lowest level is next to the parking space. The second level is not that higher up from the first one. The third one is the most beautiful and is only 400-meter away. The waterfall is not high but it is huge spreading horizontally. The best time to go is at the end of the rainy season and the beginning of winter. If you come during this best time, you will fall in love with it easily for sure. Last but not least, you can also do the camping near the waterfall at National Park Protection Unit.
Khao Phraya Doen Thong
Address : Phatthana Nikhom, Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi
To get there : From Bangkok to Saraburi and turn right at Pukae intersection to Highway number 21 to Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi. To go up to Khao Phraya Doen Thong, drive into Soi Phatthana Nikhom 15 or Soi Somapha Resort for 8 kilometers then turn right at Daen Sonthaya House of priest's sign. The road to the bottom of Khao Phraya Doen Thong is undeveloped. You should also ask the locals from time to time in order not to get lost.
Most of the people would say that we need to take the tram around, and go up to see the view from the observation tower when at Pa Sak Jolasid Dam. I would say that those kind of activities are for children. If you are fit enough you need to come up to Khao Phraya Doen Thong to view how gigantic the dam is from this high peak. Once you get here, you will be amazed with the unseen panoramic view which not many people have seen it before even thousands and thousands of people visit Pa Sak Jolasid Dam yearly.
The reason why Khao Phraya Doen Thong is not that interesting might be that the area is under-development. It is about 4-kilometer road to go up here on undeveloped road. You need to ride motorcycle or pickup truck. If not, you can just pay the locals to take you up there. Furthermore, this place is well-known among mountain bikers because it is commonly used for a race. On the top of the mountain, there is Wat Nong Na House of priest where people come to attend fasting practice during Buddhism festivals. It is still clueless if this place will be developed to be the official tourist spot in the future or not.
Pha Yai Tiang
Address : Khlong Pai, Si Khio District, Nakhon Ratchasima
To get there : Drive on Phahonyothin Road connecting with Mittraphap Road to Si Khio District. After passing by Lam Takong Service Area, take the right turn at Lamtakong Power Plant intersection (no traffic lights) to Khao Yai Tiang direction. Then all you need to do is just follow the sign of Eco-tourism Ban Khao Yai Tiang.
Those who drive through this Mittraphap Road and pass Si Khio District would always stop by Lam Takong Service Area to take a break or do some stretching. At this very particular point if you turn around you will see a big mountain range and this is Khao Yai Tiang. Don't you know that there are some amazing viewpoints and nice relaxing resorts up there?
Phุa Yai Tiang Viewpoint is located right at the cliff next to Lamtakong Power Plant. Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has developed the area to be the forest park and an Eco-tourist attraction. This development is for locals to be able to get advantage from this forest resource well and sustain the forest at the same time. The viewpoint is huge and can see so far as well as the whole Lamtakong dam. Even though the road is undeveloped but normal car can drive though easily.
Khao Ma Cho (Thai Island and Sea Natural History Museum)
Address : Samae Sarn, Sattahip District, Chon Buri
To get there : From Bangkok to Chon Buri passing Pattaya, Sattahip, and take the right turn to U-Tapao International Airport. Then turn left at the intersection to Ban Chong Samae Sarn and follow the sign to Thai Island and Sea Natural History Museum.
Koh Samae San is super very famous these days. I don't think there is a person doesn't know about this place. I have heard that people queued up to buy the ferry ticket to the island for hours last summer every weekend. I am surprised that not that many people choose to view the island from far away at Khao Ma Cho, even though the way up to the peak of Khao Ma Cho is right at the ferry terminal.
Anyway, I know that it might be tiring to come up here but trust me, it is totally worth it. The view from Khao Ma Cho or the top of Thai Island and Sea Natural History Museum is spectacular. You can see Ban Chong Same Sarn, Koh Rad, Koh Samae Sarn, Koh Kham, and many more including the beach within the Naval Area. In addition, you will learn why this area is called Chong Samae Sarn (Strait of Samae Sarn) after seeing this. Lastly, I want to confirm once again that the view you get up here is totally worth a walk.
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