Wat Rong Khun Temple is in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand (Alamy/PA)
Wat Rong Khun Temple is in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand (Alamy/PA)

Thailand reopens for some vaccinated visitors: 4 lesser-known places to see in the Land of Smiles

The Southeast Asian country is set to welcome vaccinated UK travellers from November.

Katie Wright
Tuesday 12 October 2021 13:02

Thailand has announced it will end quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from 10 low-risk countries from November 1 – including the UK. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a televised address that visitors will need to “present a [negative] Covid test… and test once again upon arrival”. If both tests are negative, they can then “travel freely like Thais”.

That means the Land of Smiles, as it’s affectionately known, will once again become a viable holiday destination for many, and the country’s tourism industry – which lost an estimated £37bn during 2020 – can start to recover.

Tempted by Thailand? If you’ve already been to Bangkok and popular islands like Phuket and Koh Samui, or you want to avoid the crowds, try these off the beaten track destinations instead…

1. Ko Phayam

TODO: define component type factbox

A tiny island off the south west coast, Ko Phayam is as one of Thailand’s best kept secrets.

Only a 45-minute speed boat ride from the mainland town of Ranong, the unspoiled isle is home to idyllic beaches and miles of mangroves, perfect for kayaking. While more upscale resorts offer all mod cons, to really switch off from the stresses of modern life, hire a beach bungalow and enjoy a digital detox.

2. Chiang Rai

TODO: define component type factbox

Often overlooked in favour of sister city Chiang Mai picturesque Chiang Rai is located north and can be reached from Bangkok on a short flight (or an 11-hour bus ride, if you’re on a budget).

For a bit of rural relaxation, take a trek through tranquil paddy fields and bathe in stunning waterfalls, and be sure not to miss the breathtaking Wat Rong Khun, aka the White Temple.

3. Pai

TODO: define component type factbox

Another gem nestled in the north of Thailand, the laidback riverside town of Pai is a world away from the frenetic pace of life in Bangkok.

Surrounded by misty mountains, it’s a great base from which to begin treks or rafting trips, and while the town has a sleepy reputation, its streets come alive at night as travellers gather at bars and restaurants to sample spicy local cuisine washed down with Singha beer.

4. Kanchanaburi

TODO: define component type factbox

History buffs should make a beeline from Kanchanaburi, around a two-hour drive west of Bangkok, home to the famous Bridge over the River Kwai and the Allied War Cemetery, where you can discover the tragic history of the Death Railway.

As well as World War Two memorials and museums, the region is known for its outstanding natural beauty, with waterfalls and watersports opportunities found at nearby Erawan National Park.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in