Road tripping Thailand: Weekend getaways to beat the crowds

This March 16, 2019 photo shows local monkeys gathering at Phra Prang Sam Yot temple in the center of Lopburi town, known as Monkey City, in central Thailand. Lopburi, one of Thailand’s oldest cities, boasts Khmer-era temples and the uncrowded ruins of King Narai’s Palace. (AP Photo/Nicole Evatt)

Get off Thailand's well-trodden track by rail or road with lesser-known weekend getaways

BANGKOK — Thailand's southern beaches lure travelers with their turquoise water and dramatic limestone cliffs, but there's more to explore in the Southeast Asian country that's one of the world's most popular destinations.

For a Thai road less traveled, try one of these getaways outside Bangkok, far from the overly Instagrammed backpacker hotspots or the party scene of Phuket or Pattaya.

___

BAN KRUT FOR THE BEACH BUM

In laid-back Ban Krut, travelers will find one of the cleanest and quietest stretches of white sand within driving distance of the capital, Bangkok.

This sleepy seaside community, known mostly by locals, is a five-hour drive or six-hour train trip down the Gulf of Thailand.

Don't miss the magnificent Wat Tang Sai, a massive, fairytale castle-like Buddhist temple perched atop Thong Chai Mountain.

___

RIVER KWAI FOR THE NATURE LOVER

Most visitors come for the beaches, but the rivers and parks in Thailand's Kanchanaburi province have much to offer the off-the-beaten-track road tripper.

Scenic trails and waterfalls abound in Sai Yok and Erawan national parks.

Just two hours from Bangkok is the famed bridge over River Kwai featured in the French novel-turned-1957 Academy Award-winning film.

Stay on the river at one of Kanchanaburi's many floating hotels, or floatels, where you can kayak to your front door.

___

PHRAYA NAKHON CAVE FOR THE HOLIDAY HIKER

Lush hiking trails, wetlands and mangrove forests make Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park a weekend adventure worthy of topping your Thailand to-do list.

The park's crown jewel is the extraordinary Phraya Nakhon Cave. Come early to catch the picturesque chamber flooded with morning sunshine spotlighting the royal pavilion that sits inside.

Outdoorsy travelers can camp in a park bungalow or opt for more luxe accommodations in the nearby touristy town of Hua Hin, three hours by car or four by train from Bangkok.

___

LOPBURI FOR THE HISTORY BUFF

Bypass the tour groups at the ancient city of Ayutthaya and head two hours north of Bangkok for a more serene stroll through Thai history.

Lopburi, one of Thailand's oldest cities, boasts Khmer-era temples and the uncrowded ruins of King Narai's Palace, built in the 1600s.

It's also known for the mischievous monkeys that gather at Phra Prang Sam Yot temple in the center of town. Pro tip: Keep a safe distance from the monkeys and hide anything you don't want them to steal.

___

GETTING AROUND:

A car rental costs about $20 (U.S.) per day, and an international driver's permit is required. You can also hire a driver at most major car rental companies, book a taxi or explore by train.

Be sure to have Google's maps and translate apps at the ready.

___

Follow Nicole Evatt on https://www.instagram.com/nicoleevatt/

Related News

Slain runner from NYC laid to rest in Massachusetts

Aug 16, 2016

A New York City woman killed while out running near her mother's Massachusetts home was remembered at her funeral Tuesday for the light she brought to the lives of everyone she touched

'American Horror Story' coming to Halloween Horror Nights

Aug 17, 2016

The ghosts, vampires and other freaky misfits from "American Horror Story" are coming to Universal Studios

Casino mogul Wynn readies lavish new Macau resort

Aug 17, 2016

Steve Wynn's Macau resort brims with auspicious Chinese symbolism, and the U.S. casino mogul will need luck on his side as launches his $4.2 billion Wynn Palace project in the gambling hub as growth downshifts

You may also like these

'American Horror Story' coming to Halloween Horror Nights

Aug 17, 2016

The ghosts, vampires and other freaky misfits from "American Horror Story" are coming to Universal Studios

Casino mogul Wynn readies lavish new Macau resort

Aug 17, 2016

Steve Wynn's Macau resort brims with auspicious Chinese symbolism, and the U.S. casino mogul will need luck on his side as launches his $4.2 billion Wynn Palace project in the gambling hub as growth downshifts

Most limits on US-Mexico flights are about to be lifted

Aug 20, 2016

Delta, American and Southwest move quickly to add flights as US and Mexico ease restrictions

Traveller SEA (South-East Asia) is for wanderlust looking for an adventure in the South-East Asia region and the rest of the world.

Contact us: sales@tvlseacom.com