Thailand is a country of tropical dreams for many, especially for budget travellers and backpackers. In Thailand it’s not hard to find cheap accommodation, excellent value, and to live on next to nothing. Backpacking is easy here because the route is so well-trodden and well-established. Thailand has, genuinely, absolutely gorgeous and mind-blowing scenery.
In my view the real gems of Thailand lie beyond the “must-visit” destinations. After one month of backpacking through Thailand, although I loved it, we decided not to continue for another month as planned but to head to Malaysia instead. Thailand’s massive tourist industry can get draining after a while. Sure, Koh Tao is truly beautiful, and I loved the island and really appreciated having the opportunity to visit it, but I prefer to spend time in quieter, more low-key destinations with more of a local feel and less of a traveller scene.
The best place I went to in Thailand was Kanchanaburi – a small town near the border with Myanmar. Kanchanaburi is not a beach or an island, and doesn’t offer the classic vistas Thailand is renowned for. Most travellers to Thailand skip over Kanchanaburi, but they’re missing out on the River Kwai, riding the Death Railway, Elephants’ World and a laid-back town without the island tourist hassles, surrounded by rich tropical jungle and mountains.
I spent one month in Thailand, travelling overland from Phuket to the Cambodian border. I also returned to Bangkok several times as a regional gateway.