Southeast Asia fans are no strangers to Thailand’s lure. Its phenomenal food and kind people have long drawn Canadian tourists who are looking for exotic getaways that still offer safety and the promise of a vacation worth writing home about. For most, that trip to Thailand will start and stop with a “Things to do in Bangkok” approach. Bangkok is a main travel hub which makes it an easy entry point to the country. But never exploring further would be to miss some of the best of what Thailand has to offer. Don’t make that mistake. No matter what you are hoping to get out of your next vacation, chances are Thailand can deliver. Here are three  trips to Thai provinces that you can take from Bangkok to satisfy your get-out-of-the-big-city vacation needs.

Trat, Thailand
Image courtesy of Tourism Media

Island Lover : Koh Chang, Trat 

There are many islands in Thailand and not all are created equal. Some have a bustling nightlife, some are so peaceful you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone to talk to if you didn’t bring them with you. In the middle of the pack is Koh Chang, located in Thailand’s easternmost province of of Trat. Between the quiet fishing village of the Salakkok community, the towering coconut trees and the selection of quiet beaches you may find it hard to leave.

Stay at The Chill Resort and Spa Koh Chang  –  a four-star property with a gorgeous infinity pool and access to the regions incredible snorkeling and learn-to-dive opportunities. Don’t miss the chance to have a Thai massage or another treatment in the Chill spa. There are a choice of rooms including some that have direct access to a splash pool.

Insider tip: Want something even more remote? Head to Koh Wai, the tiny island is only 2-3 km long and wide and has an untouched forest interior.  The beaches on the Northern shore are pristine.

Culture Junkie : Lampang, Phrae and Nan

Culture is unavoidable in Thailand; you can’t throw a stone without hitting a temple and the country’s connection to history through it’s food and stories is strong. But heading outside of Bangkok offers a chance to take it all in in a quieter locale without the constant buzz of tourists and flashing cameras. Lampang offers a quieter Thai experience. Hop in a car or on a tour to explore the area and you’ll find culture at every corner including local pottery that will having you wishing you’d brought a bigger suitcase. Neighbouring Phrae province offers the popular indigo dyed clothing and ancient weaving that are revered by everyone (including royalty!) here. And in  Nan and you’ll find the Nan Riverside Art gallery. Proprietor Winai Prabripoo shares the area’s connections to art with guests through centuries-old murals that still impress and young, local modernists who reinterpret the originals and create masterpieces of their own.

Where to stay: Lampang River Lodge  is a Lanna-style resort located in a serene natural area of Lampang.  The lodge itself is a peaceful oasis. The quiet spots to fill your journal are plentiful and often it’s only the water lilies crowding your space. The lodge is also only a  short drive from the local markets where you can sample everything from authentic curries to fresh from the jungle silkworms as you wander.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Image courtesy of Tourism Media


Nature Nurturer :  Kanchanburi or Loei

Pure Eco-tourists will head for Loei. The province is made up of fog covered mountain ranges that when captured on film give a surreal feel to the place. When the fog lifts it’s the flora that will capture your attention. National Parks here are always a draw. It’s history is equally intriguing.  If you have to choose another province for natural bounty, try Kanchanburi.

 Where to stay:  The Thai Loei 300 isn’t luxurious, but it is an authentic stay in the region. You’ll feel like a local and it fits right in with its mountainous surrounds. Best of all? It’s only 5.7 miles from the Phu Rua National Park which means morning hikes will be that much easier.

Insider Tip: If you want to expand your natural adventure, head to Kanchanaburi province. Its gorgeous waterfalls are the perfect backdrop to an afternoon picnic.