For anyone currently in Thailand, the deals that are available to encourage domestic tourism are phenomenal. With Pattaya being one of the biggest beneficiaries of the push, those living in the city may want to consider the available options. Although there are countless possibilities, here are just seven that we think may appeal, but we would be delighted to hear your thoughts.
Phetchabun is a picturesque province in north-central Thailand renowned for its beauty and often goes overlooked by foreign tourists. It is approximately a five-hour drive from Pattaya, but the mountainous scenery and fresh air are a refreshing change and a complete contrast to Pattaya. One word of caution, it is worth checking that the hotels (as opposed to small resorts) have western rather than Thai toilets as this can be a problem for some foreigners.
2. Koh Chang
If you want an island break, then Koh Chang has been the destination of choice for most expats for years. It is approximately 4.5 hours to the south of Pattaya in Trat province. Some areas such as White Sands are quite commercialised, but it is still possible to find some more remote, tranquil places to relax and forget about your worries for the weekend.
Kanchanaburi is a province suited in the west-central region of Thailand and is perhaps best known for the River Kwai Bridge and the famous railway built by Prisoners of War in World War 2. Taking a trip by train to Hellfire Pass is breathtaking and moving. There are plenty of places of natural beauty for those less interested in history, including waterfalls and stop-offs along the river. A visit to Kanchanaburi can be educational or just relaxing; you can make it what you like!
4. Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park is another area of natural beauty and is the central region of Thailand on Nakhon Ratchasima province’s border. Staying within the park, you will get the opportunity to see plenty of natural flora and fauna and have the chance to watch all sorts of wildlife, including birds and even wild elephants. There are plenty of hotels catering for every budget in and around the park.
5. Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is in north Thailand and can easily be reached by plane from Bangkok or U-Tapao airport. The old city and its famous walls are impressive, as too are the city’s many temples. However, if you go up into the mountains, you can take in the scenery, play some golf or relax. The city has a famous elephant sanctuary and a Tiger Sanctuary, so there is plenty to do whatever your interests.
The closest weekend getaway on our list is the neighbouring province of Rayong where you will find some picturesque and largely unspoiled beaches. This really is a beach getaway, but if you want to visit and stay on an island, you can’t go far wrong with Koh Samet. There are plenty of hotels available to suit all budgets.
Lopburi is a province in central Thailand and is best known for its wild monkeys, which you will find in abundance in Lopburi city. Visit the ancient temples, feed the monkeys, and spend some time chilling out. There is not a lot to do, but in many ways, this is one of Lopburi’s attractions, and the slow way of life is a contrast to Pattaya.