Bangkok is a trip in itself, as it features many things to see and do. But, if you are wanting a day trip outside of Thailand’s capital, many provinces nearby offer unique experiences that can accompany your vacation. Such things as visiting a nearby beach to remind yourself that you are on a tropical island are definitely possible by just taking a short drive.
Furthermore, enjoying a trip to see ancient temples in Ayutthaya may just give you a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of a major city. Here, you can see the remnants of Thailand’s history, all in one amazing site. Additionally, if you want to try out some fine wine, travel just an hour to Siam Winery, where the award-winning wine brands will have you feeling warm and cosy.
10 Top Provinces To Visit Near Bangkok
1. Rayong Province (Koh Samet)
Koh Samet, in Rayong Province, offers a weekend getaway for those in Bangkok as it is only a 3-hour drive from the capital city. Furthermore, the island is mostly part of the Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park. Named after the ‘Samet’ trees, or cajeput trees, the island is full of beauty. With turquoise blue seas and white sands, water sports are clearly a fun way to spend the day. Moreover, the island’s nightlife is full of fire shows and good times.
The island has many beaches, including Monkey Beach where (as the name suggests) you can feed monkeys. One thing to remember, in addition to the more crowded areas, the further south you go, the less developed it gets. Visitors can also take advantage of just about any kind of accommodation they wish for, as the island caters to all kinds of tourists.
With just a two hours drive from Bangkok you will come across, Kanchanaburi, the city famous for its historical relics. This place has fascinating war history, gorgeous river huts, Instagram-worthy waterfalls, ornate temples and plenty of outdoor activities. Kanchanaburi is also famous for being the site of the famous Death Railway Bridge, which was built by POW labour during WWII. Aside from that, beautiful national parks, including Erawan National Park, with its breathtaking seven-tiered waterfall, can also be found in Kanchanaburi. Its recommended hiking to the waterfall to experience its true wonders. Discover beautiful green forests, underground caves, and charming riverbank towns as you explore further into this town.
To get there you can either take a cab, bus or train from Bangkok to reach Kanchanaburi in 2-3 hours
3. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Once the 2nd capital of Thailand, Phra Nakhon’s Ayutthaya is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Wats here are some of the most iconic in the country. However, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is one of the most popular. Located in the royal palace grounds, its bell-shaped pagodas definitely serve as a striking landmark.
Nonetheless, the small ruins surrounding the pagodas have their own place in history. The crumbled remnants are thought to be those of the old royal housing. The placement of the temples in Ayutthaya was strategic as the city became a hub for global diplomacy and commerce back in the 14th to 18th centuries. Additionally, it was located above the tidal bore of the Gulf of Siam (Thailand was known as Siam previously), to prevent the attacks of warships and other nations. Its history and beauty is definitely a sight to see for those touring the nation’s temples.
4. Chon Buri (Koh Larn)
Coral Island, or Koh Larn, in Chon Buri province, is where visitors can escape from Bangkok’s busy streets. This little piece of paradise offers blue waters and white sands and is only 7.5 kilometres away from Pattaya. As a result, it has become quite a popular destination to go to in the morning and stay for a few hours. Moreover, if you are looking to do a bit of water sports, the island offers it all. From snorkelling to parasailing, Koh Larn will refresh your mind against the backdrop of a palm tree-lined beach.
In addition to the water activities, visitors can relax on their beach towels and sunbathe with the ocean waves lapping in the distance. Furthermore, if you want to take your relaxation to the next level, a beach masseuse is surely nearby to stretch out your muscles and get you ready for more fun in the sun. But, before you get back to the hustle and bustle of the big city, enjoy a healthy lunch on the beach. And, you can definitely wash it all down with a nice, tropical beverage.
Phetchaburi is a peaceful village surrounded by jungle-clad mountains with gorgeous temples, palaces, and old teak shophouses. This town’s small streets and canals give it a timeless feel. With amazing food, beaches, and history, it’s the ideal vacation from Bangkok’s rush and bustle.
Despite being a famous tourist destination among Thais, this town is largely undiscovered by international visitors, making it even more enjoyable to explore. While you are there you can visit the narrow waterways, riverside markets, old teak shop-houses. Other than that, you can just take in the peaceful atmosphere of this relaxed temple town.
The best way to get from Bangkok to Phetchaburi is to train. Alternatively, you can minivan, which takes 2h to get there.
6. Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin)
In Prachuap Khiri Khan province, the seaside resort of Hua Hin is definitely quite popular with locals and expats alike. As the area is located along the Gulf of Thailand, it is the perfect getaway for those working and living in Bangkok. Furthermore, the area is known for its beautiful landscapes as well as interesting activities for everyone to do. Kids will especially like the water parks and ocean activities that can turn a few hours into a whole day.
In Hua Hin, shopping is plentiful, with many new and modern ‘villages’ offering a themed escape from reality. Santorini Park, for example, is definitely a cool place to visit as its surroundings and decor transcend visitors to Greece. Visiting the temples also provides a bit of cultural education and aesthetically pleasing architectural visuals.
7. Nakhon Ratchasima
One of the largest provinces in Thailand is Nakhon Ratchasima which is often known as Khorat. It was historically used to mark the border between Lao and Siamese territory. Korat is one of Isan’s major cities and is often referred to as one of the “Big Four of Isan.” This place is a popular stopover for those who want to visit the adjacent Khao Yai National Park. Nakhon Ratchasima also features fancy cafes, luxury hotels, and shopping malls.
Halfway through the journey, you’ll come across Khao Yai National Park, one of Thailand’s most popular National Parks. This national park is home to to various creatures such as elephants, gibbons, macaques, bears, lizards and numerous bird species. Historical landmarks such as city pillar, city Gates, fossil museum and the petrified wood museum are also worth visiting in Nakhorn Ratchasima. You need to take a bus or train from Bangkok to reach this place in 4-5 hours.
8. Samut Sakhon (The Floating Vineyards)
If you go to Samut Sakhon Province in Thailand, you’ll see an amazing floating vineyard. Best of all, it is only 1 hour away from Bangkok. The Siam Winery is an award-winning winery featuring the Chatemp and Monsoon Valley wines. Thus, trying these wines is a must-do for visitors to the vineyards. Planted in rectangular isles, the vines are separated by canals that are reminiscent of Venice.
The Chao Phraya Delta produces the bulk of the vineyards’ grapes, defying the commonly-held belief that wine cannot be produced in such areas in Thailand. Regardless, wine buffs can take a wine-tasting tour and can visit the floating vineyards for an additional fee. Visiting Siam Winery is definitely a good option for those wanting to experience how Thais do wine.
9. Samut Prakan
Samut Prakarn can be a great visit if you are looking to escape the bustling city of Bangkok. When you are there, you can explore one of the biggest outdoor museums in the world know as Muang Boran Ancient City. Aside from that, you can take day trip to relax and unwind in Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park And Botanical Garden. It is a great spot to enjoy some greenery and fresh air while walking or cycling. You can also visit intriguing temples such as Pillar Shrine or Wat Asokaram.
Samut Prakan city is a modern, lively expression of Thai culture, with everything from historic rural heritage to contemporary nightlife and entertainment. Samut Prakan’s diverse offerings should all be explored while visiting in order to get the most out of this region. There are 4 ways to get from Bangkok to Samut Prakan by MRT bus, taxi or car. Its only 30 mins drive from Bangkok
Trat has over 50 islands and some of them are among the most beautiful islands in Thailand. This place has beautiful landscape and a handful of peaceful hideaways for beach and wildlife enthusiasts. The province is also known for its fruit-growing, fishing, and gem-mining industries. Koh Chang, Koh Kood, and Koh Mak are the three most popular islands, where you enjoy not only the sea, sand, and sun, but also the abundant marine life, greenery, and traditional ways of living.
It takes roughly 4-5 hours by car or bus from Bangkok to the islands in Mu Koh Chang National Park, followed by a 45-minute ferry ride. You can also fly to Trat from Bangkok but its pricier.
It’s easy for travellers to forget about the rest of Thailand when visiting Bangkok, as the capital can provide weeks of fun activities. But, for those wanting to get away for a bit of fun in the sun, visiting the nearby provinces is a good option. Koh Larn, Koh Samet, and other nearby islands and beaches are some of the most beautiful ways to catch some rays.
Taking in the surrounding provinces is definitely a good idea if you want to venture out into the country. With an abundance of ancient temples, wine vineyards, and the infamous Pattaya nightlife to see, a short trip to experience the rest of the country is surely quite obtainable as travel fees are cheap. Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone, as the road trip along the way will provide some amazing snapshots of rural Thailand.
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