In Thailand, November and December are truly the best months totravel. The North tempts with cool breezes, mist shrouded mountains and blooming wild flowers, while the South’s warm sun,turquoise sea and clear blue skies beckon. Wherever you go, yourdestination is guaranteed to make your holiday more special now than other times of the year. Chiang Mai and Phuket may for long have been tourist hotspots, but the Land of Smile shas much more to offer.
“Go Local” is an award winning campaign of the Tourism Authority of Thailand that promotes tourism in some of Thailand’s lesser known destinations with an abundance of natural attractionsand distinctive local sights, culture and cuisine. Best of all are the welcoming locals who are eager to give visitors a truly local experience to make your travels unique and memorable.
Lampang is said to be “beautifully lost in time”: a town with a laid-back vibe, historic architecture,Lanna temples and horse-drawncarriages, elements that combine to createKhelang Nakorn’s unique charms. Things no visitor should miss include a visit to Wat Phratat Lampang Luang, a complex of buildings with murals reciting the history of the province of Lampang; Wat Sri Chum, a temple dating from the reign of King Rama V, whose wooden architecture blends Thai Lanna and Myanmar styles; and Wat Pong Sanuk, a UNESCO-listed temple. It is also worth visiting Kat Kong Ta, the cluster of old buildings where the Lampang Arts Center is located. The city offers other activities that will make your holiday even more memorable, too, such as trying Chae Sawn Hot Spring egg salad, a speciality served only at the hot spring in Chae Sawn National Park; hand-painting the iconic chicken bowls, a symbol of Lampang craft; and shopping for herbal products from a selection of more than 100 herbal health products, at Lampang Herb Conservation Group. The Group also offers wellness services, such as traditional Thai massage, herbal massage, and herbal steam and sauna.
Dubbed ‘the Province of the Sea of Mountains’, Loei is a true paradise for nature lovers. It offers a wide choice of activities, particularly for the more adventurous traveller, such as trekking along the nine-kilometer trail to the top of Phu Kradueng and watching the sunrise and sunset at Pha Nok Aen and Pha Mak Dook viewpoints, taking in the vista of the endless sea of mist from the top of Phu Ruea, ‘the coldest spot in Siam’, and following the Jurassic footprints and animal tracks in Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary. For cultural enthusiasts, there is the Thai Dam Cultural Village, a well preserved, century-old settlement of the Thai Dam people, or why not explore Chiang Khan, a charming old town by the Mae Khong River, by bicycle? The town has plenty of places to stay, and some great little shops and cafés to check out.
Located at the easternmost end of Thailand is Ubon Ratchathani. One of the big four Isaan (northeastern) provinces, it offers a wide variety of attractions, such as natural wonders by the Mae Khong River, stunning temples, and a site with evidence of prehistoric human habitation. Some must-see attractions are Pha Taem National Park, where the cliffs are filled with prehistoric paintings dating back 3,000-4,000 years, as well as other archaeo logical evidence suggesting that humans settled in this area between 14,000 and 6,000 years ago. Pha Chanadai, the country’s eastern most sunrise view point, is spectacular in the winter months, when mist fills the Mae Khong River valley. There is also Sam Pan Bok, and Kaeng Chom Dao, known as the Grand Canyon of Thailand, the rock reefs in the Mae Khong River whose stunning beauty is revealed only during the dry season, when the water is low; and Hat Hong, a golden sand dune glittering in the sunlight. Besides these natural wonders, be amazed by the painting of the fluorescent Kalapraphreuk tree at Wat Sirindhorn Phu Phrao, where you can also enjoy snapping great photos from the many viewpoints.
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat has recently become famous among travellers as the home of Kiriwong Village in Lan Ska District, the community with the best weather in Thailand. Nakhon Si Thammarat has plenty of other natural and cultural attractions to travellers to enjoy besides this, though.. The 1,400-year-old Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, a temple with a large white Lanka style pagoda which houses a relic of Buddha. Its high spire is covered with pure gold. Baan Nang Talung, the only learning center in Thailand dedicated to shadow puppets and their history is another of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s unique attractions.It is worth visiting Pak Phanang Basin Area Development Project Under Royal Initiatives, which was constructed under the supervision of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to solve the so-called ‘Four waters - three flavors problem’ (the four waters being flood, drought, saltwater and wastewater while the three flavors are freshwater, saltwater and acidic water.) Following the building of Uthokvibhajaprasid barrage, Pak Phanang River Basin was restored to original levels of fertility. Do not miss the tasty local dish: Kanom Chin Muang Khon(Nakhon rice vermicelli) served with many kinds of authentic southern sauces, such as coconut milk, fish curry, and chili, and shop for Nakhon Nielloware, delicately crafted accessories in gold and silver color, depicting historical scenes from the Ayutthaya period.
When we think of seasof mist blanketing the verdant mountains, the northern part of Thailand comes to mind, but Narathiwat, the southern most province that borders neighbouring Malaysia,can also boast magnificent landscapes of mist-covered ranges. In Phukhao Thong subdistrict, Sukirin District, there are several spots to enjoy the breathtaking views,such as the Last Peak of the Golden Axe Sea of Mist Viewpoint located at the monastery of Phra That Phu Khao Thong, Pha Son Viewpoint - 530 meters above sea level, Phu Sala Viewpoint, and Khao Phaeng Ma Viewpoint. Additionally, you can travel further to Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, home to 9 of Thailand’s 12 native species of hornbills, taken as a sign that Hala Bala is an intact ecosystem. For a more adventurous activity, navigate the Saiburi River on a raft fromPhu Khao Thong Rafting in Aipajo,whichalso gives you a chance to strike it rich by panning for gold with the villagers afterwards. Apart fromwallowing in the province’s natural beauty, you can soak up the cultural heritage of Narathiwas in places likeSiri Maya Pagoda, which houses a Buddha relic, the 300 year-old mosque at Talo Mano Village, (Thailand’s oldest wooden mosque), Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace, Pa Phru To Daeng, Thailand’s largest peat swamp forest and home to more than 200 animal species, and the border market at Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat’s largest border market.
Go local in Thailandwith Thai Smile from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Ubon Ratchathani and Narathiwat,or with Nok Air flights from Bangkok Don Mueang’s Airport to Lampang, Loei, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Ubon Ratchathani. Book now at thaismileair.com or nokair.com.