July and August are officially Thailand’s wet months,with the monsoon taking over the whole country. Travelling in Thailand in this season brings particular rewards and a unique charm to those willing to brave the rains sunlight glittering on the watery paddy fields in
Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son and the verdant green rice shoots which appear in the following month the air in Amphawa filled at dusk with fireflies and the mist-cloaked limestone mountains rising from the reservoirat Ratchaprapa Dam, Surat Thani just a few of
the season’s wonders that are not visible at other times of the year. A visit to Thailand in these months is even more special when you stay at a homestay or on a raft,which allows you to get closer to nature and provides an unforgettable experience you’ll be eager to repeat.
Amphawa, Samut Songkram
Only about one and a half hours away from Bangkok, Amphawa is a very popular daytrip destination. The district boasts historical, cultural and natural attractions with a glimpse into the past. Coming first on the list is Amphawa Floating Market,where you can enjoy shopping for vegetables and fruit from local orchards, and taste an array of local dishes, all from vendors’ boats on weekend evenings.
You can also stroll past the wooden shop houses which line the canal, take a boat ride to absorb the flavor of the local way of life, and make a memorable end to your day by taking a boat trip to gaze at the sparkling colonies of fireflies. Moreover, if you stay at a homestay by the canal, do not misstaking part in the early morning alms giving by boat, and later enjoy other activities like boating and cycling in the orchards.
Chanthaburi is another popular destination in the east of Thailand which is ideal for a weekend getaway. You can wander through the historic coastal region with its many cultural attractions,such as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, A Gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral over 300 years old, Tuek Daeng or The Red Building, and Khuk Khi Kai or Chicken Droppings Jail. The ancient riverside community of Chanthabun and the historical route of King Rama V’s royal barge are also worth a visit. For nature lovers, stroll along
a wooden walkway leading into the mangrove forest at Kung Krabaen Bay, part of the Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Centre, the Royal Initiative of King Rama IX, or cycle to the Nang Phaya Hill Viewpoint on Chaloem Burapha Cholathit, and end the day with a fresh seafood dinner at a homestay in a fishing village while looking out for the protected red-backed sea eagles. Don’t forget to taste Chanthaburi’s local fruits at the many lush orchards, some served in all-you-can-eat style. The fruit season runs until mid-July.
Mae Kampong, Chiang Mai
Nestle into the pristine nature of the emerald jungle filled with the sound of babbling streams at Mae Kampong, a small village hidden away in Mae On minor district, Chiang Mai. Enjoy dishes made with fresh, locally-grown vegetables at Teen Tok Royal Project, set your mind adrift on the stream flowing through the forest at Pha Namlod, sip coffee and take photos at cafés dotted around the area, (some offering homestay accommodation), dip in the cool water at Mae Kampong waterfall, or simply do nothing and let the day go slowly by - a truly relaxing holiday experience.
Mae La Noi, Mae Hong Son
Tucked into the foothills of Mae Hong Son province, Mae La Noi is a small, tranquil district that visitors fall in love with. Apart from learning about the simple life of ethnic groups amid unspoiled nature, Mae La Noi offers visitors a variety of natural delights, ranging from relaxing your mind with the vista of green rice terracesto tasting fresh foods and sampling the high quality coffee beans which are produced to supply a world famous coffee house chain. This is also Thailand’s only place where sheep are kept for their wool, which is woven locally into a fabric. You can also visit Mae La Noi Royal Project, where King Rama IX’s philosophy of Sufficiency Economy in Agriculture is practised, visit Huay Hom Village to learn about the simple life of the Karen people and taste the finest arabica inthe embrace of the mountain mists, and do some shopping on Mae La Noi Walking Street. Also enjoy an over night stay at the local home stay and shop for silver ware at Mae La Oob Village, the village of Lua, before dipping in the invigorating waters of Daovadueng Waterfalls on the way back. If you were not a big nature lover before visiting Mae La Noi, you almost certainly will be by the time you leave!
Ratchaprapa Dam, Surat Thani
Although the pictures que limestone mountains rising from Ratchaprapa Dam Reservoir, or Cheow Lan Lake, attract visitors all year round, it is in the wet season that the mountains are shrouded in swirling white mist, exuding the charm of Khao Sok National Park’s artificial lakes. An overnight on a floating raft for a closer touch of nature is recommended as it also allows you to enjoy water activities, such as taking a boat ride to sightsee Khao Sam Kler, the three iconic limestone cliffs, swimming, and kayaking. Besides, you can travel further to Khao Sok National Park,which is about an hour away from the dam,to view the lush forest.