When choosing somewhere exotic to go on vacation, the beauty of a country, region or resort is one of the main factors in our final decision. It will come as no surprise to you that, in terms of stunning scenery, there are few places on this planet that are visited more for its looks than Thailand. The culture, colours and, of course, the sights have to be seen up close to be believed.

If you have your heart set on going on holiday to Thailand, it might be tempting to visit the big cities, but there’s more to the country than Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. By heading away from the major metropolises, you can get a feel for what Thailand is really like which could increase your sense of adventure, which is what holidays are all about, right?

A step back in time

If you’re keen to learn more about the rich and diverse history of the country, then a visit to the ancient city of Sukhothai is as good a place as any to start. Located in the serene northern part of the country, it’s a former Thai capital and is home to some of the most intriguing visitor attractions in the whole of South East Asia.

As well as being the apparent birthplace of the Thai alphabet and a place where Buddhism is firmly entrenched in the local culture, it’s also home to the Sukhothai Historical Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While there, you might want to buy some Teen Jok cloth, made with care by the skilled locals and bring it home to wear or decorate your dining table!

Island fun

Away from the Thai mainland, there are a number of islands where you could spend time soaking up the sun, snorkelling, swimming, hiking or just sightseeing. One of the lesser known islands off the coast of southern Thailand is Kho Phi Phi Don, the largest of a small archipelago. For anyone who likes to head to the beach but values peace and quiet, where’s better?

What makes Kho Phi Phi Don stand out from the rest of the country’s beach/island retreats is its marine life. Here, by taking scuba diving lessons, you can see for yourself how diverse it is, but you have to be careful as much of the island is a designated marine reserve.

Borderline entertainment

In the eastern province, the city of Udon Thani, which lies close to the Laotian capital of Vientiane, is great for anyone who wants to see a bustling regional city. As well as being home to archaeological sites of great importance, the waterfalls of Phu Phan are amazing up close, and if you want to stray eastwards into Laos, you’re in the right place!