As anyone who’s visited will surely tell you, there’s more to Thailand than its best-known cities. Though Bangkok is admittedly unmissable, there are thousands of small cities, teeny towns, and incredible communities in the Southeast Asian country that will leave a lasting memory. Here are five of them.
Ban Na Ton Chan
Where it is: Sukhothai, in the country’s north-eastern region.
What it has: Fabric-softening mud. For decades, the people of Ban Na Ton Chan have been dunking fabric in mud, then boiling it in salted water to produce an intensely soft, naturally dyed textile. Apparently, villagers noticed that the bottoms of local womens’ skirts would soften when they dragged in the mud, and so, decided to use the mud purposefully to treat textiles.
Where it is: About an hour north of Chiang Mai What it has: This tiny village is nestled within lush, green forests, which are perfect for hiking or more leisurely walks. Be sure to ask locals how to find the peaceful waterfalls that are found within the nearby jungles.
Ban salak khok
Where it is: The gulf islands of Thailand’s south east
What it has: Peaceful eco tours, during which visitors can sail among the area’s many lush mangroves and get a close-up look at what life is like in this quaint fishing community.
Thale Noi village
Where it is: Near the country’s southernmost tip
What it has: This village is famous for its basketry. During good weather, villagers will sit outside and weave reeds into beautiful baskets and other functional and decorative items. Be sure to ask permission if you wish to take a photo of basket-weavers at work — and, of course, consider purchasing some of these highly skilled artisans’ work to take home as a meaningful and unique souvenir.
Bann Bang Plub
Where it is: In the country’s south
What it has: Coconuts! Visit Bann Bang Plub to learn about the cultivation and harvesting of coconuts, then learn how coconut sugar is manufactured. Younger travellers may also enjoy moulding coconut sugar into fun shapes.
You can visit some of Thailand's lesser-known villages with our TailorMade trips. Learn more here.