5 Popular Big city to go if not Bangkok


5 Popular Thai City Alternatives to Bangkok

So, you’re planning a trip to Thailand, love city life but feel Bangkok is just too big and hectic for you? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our list of five alternative cities where you can get all your creature comforts without being completely overwhelmed.

Whether you are looking for history, culture, night life or just some good old fashioned relaxation on a tropical beach, we’re confident we can help you find your perfect Thai city break.


One of the most popular destinations in Thailand, Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand has an altogether slower pace of life than in the capital, Bangkok. An arts and culture lovers paradise, the best way to take in Chiang Mai is foot, with a leisurely stroll around the many beautiful temples the city boasts.

Coffee fans won’t be disappointed as Chiang Mai produces some of the country’s best, meaning a coffee shop is never far away when it’s time to rest and recharge.

If you travel with food in mind then Chiang Mai’s local Lanna cuisine is worth the trip alone. Don’t miss the chance to try the famous khao soi curry noodles and Chiang Mai sausage.


Phuket is Thailand’s biggest and most visited island which means it’s heavily geared towards tourism. With dozens of daily flights from Bangkok, Phuket is probably Thailand’s easiest island to get to. Sure, there are quieter islands in Thailand with a more ‘desert island’ feel but for those looking for a mix of nightlife, a good choice of international restaurants and top quality hotels, Phuket could be the ideal choice.

Phuket town is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon and evening to sample some of the fantastic Chinese influenced local cuisines.


For those wanting to learn about Thai history and culture, Ayutthaya is not to be missed. Ayutthaya was Thailand’s capital city until the Burmese invasion of 1767 when the city was burned to the ground and turned into a ghost town. Nowadays the old stone temples are part of the modern day city where tourists flock to get a glimpse of what an impressive city Ayutthaya must have been. The ruins are best visited by bicycle which you can rent all over town.
There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses in Ayutthaya but it’s only about an hour and a half drive from Bangkok, making it very easy to visit for the day.


Kanchanaburi is located around two and a half hours drive west of Bangkok and is undoubtedly one of Thailand most beautiful provinces. Surrounded by lush forests all the way to the Burmese border, Kanchanaburi is a nature lover’s dream. The River Kwai runs through the main town and a trip on the old train across the famous ‘Bridge Over The River Kwai’ is a highlight of any trip to Kanchanaburi.

Kanchanaburi is also home to one of Thailand’s most beautiful Waterfalls – The Erawan Falls. Made up of seven tiers of stunning crystal clear turquoise water, a trip to The Erawan Falls is must visit destination on any Kanchanaburi itinerary.

The waterfall does get extremely busy, so take our advice and get there early to avoid the crowds.


Pattaya is located just an hour and a half drive from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. With its lively nightlife and large expat community, Pattaya draws huge numbers of tourists each year looking for a convenient beach destination with plenty of nightlife and western comforts. Pattaya boasts some of the cheapest five star hotels in the country so you can have a little slice of luxury without breaking the bank.

Pattaya definitely isn’t for everyone, though, and If the hustle and bustle gets too much you can easily hop on a ferry to the nearby island of Koh Larn for a proper Thai island experience. Koh Larn gets very busy with day trippers at the weekends, so a midweek trip is highly advisable.


“Live in Thailand”

Insider’s guide to explore Thailand like locals

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