Hit The Road: Thailand’s Best Routes For Road Trips That Should Be On Your Radar

Have you had enough of long lines at airports and red-eye flights? A road trip might be your preferred travel mode for the year. Whether you’re looking for a day trip outside of Bangkok or a few days on the road to explore the beauty of Thailand, here are some routes on our #RadarList that we believe should definitely be on yours. Whether it’s by motorbike or car, we guarantee you’ll have the most fun while soaking in the scenic beauty of Thailand’s landscapes.

– Cover image credit: Unsplash/Evan Krause

Temporary Escape: A Day Trip Outside Bangkok

Look beyond Pattaya and Hua Hin; there are other noteworthy destinations that, thankfully, are not as touristy but equally as beautiful. 

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Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

Go on a thrilling day trip just under a 3-hour drive from Bangkok to the historic city of Kanchanaburi. Explore WWII landmarks such as the iconic Bridge Over The River Khwae, Tham Krasae Railway Bridge, and the moving Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Nature enthusiasts will be enchanted by attractions like Erawan National Park, Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, and Tham Than Lot National Park. It’s a perfect blend of history and natural wonders for an unforgettable adventure.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Rutpratheep Nilpechr

Bangkok to Ayutthaya 

History connoisseurs will find a day trip to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, commonly known as Ayutthaya, an absolute treat. This former capital of Thailand is renowned for its historical attractions and temple ruins that provide insight into the bygone era of the country. Travel back in time to admire the glory of the Ayutthaya Kingdom at Ayutthaya Historical Park and embark on a temple tour by visiting landmarks such as Wat Maha That, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit, and Wat Lokkayasutha, to name a few.

Food enthusiasts should not miss a stop at the Ayutthaya Floating Market and Ayutthaya Night Market. And, if you ask us, a visit to Ayutthaya is never complete without indulging in the province’s famous candy-floss-wrapped roti (Roti Sai Mai). One of the best spots to enjoy this snack slash dessert is at Michelin’s Bib Gourmand-awarded Roti Sai Mai Mae Pom.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Allyson Beaucourt

Bangkok to Saraburi 

For those craving a nature escape away from the tourist hustle, Saraburi should be your go-to. With just a mere 2-hour drive from bustling Bangkok, you can trade the city chaos for Saraburi’s natural wonders, thanks to not one, but two national parks: Chet Sao Noi National Park and Namtok Samlan National Park. From November to early January, Saraburi is also a popular destination for sunflower fields that draw city dwellers to admire their sunray-shade blooms every year.

However, Saraburi isn’t just about nature; it’s also a haven for restaurants and cafes. Dive into must-try spots like The Barnery, Baan Naam Khiang Fah, 9th September, and qoofe. For wine lovers, a visit to Khun Malee Vineyard is a must, and you definitely don’t want to skip that.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Niels Steeman

Bangkok to Si Racha

When the sea calls out your name, but a week-long vacation is out of reach, head over to Si Racha, which is just a 3-hour journey for a much-needed dose of vitamin sea. This seaside town in Chonburi province offers the perfect blend of nature, culture, and just the right touch of city vibes. Visitors can choose to unwind at beachfront restaurants and cafes or embark on sightseeing adventures to places like Koh Loi Si Racha, Wat Koh Loi, Wat Khao Phutthakhodom, Khao Phra Khru Monastery and Muang Si Racha Food Market. Other fun-filled attractions include the Space Inspirium and Khao Kheow Open Zoo.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Matt Anderson

Up North Fun: Scenic Routes in Northern Thailand

While Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai undoubtedly charm globetrotters with their well-preserved nature and numerous must-visit attractions, the lesser-known scenic routes below in Northern Thailand are also perfect for a few-day getaway.

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Lampang – Phrae – Nan 

From personal experience, we love the cool and calm these 3 provinces exude. They are perfect destinations for those who want to immerse fully into the Nothern lush landscape and indulge in the gourmet Northern delights. 

Onsen lovers will find pure bliss at Chae Son National Park in Lampang. This idyllic destination boasts not only invigorating hot springs but also enchanting waterfalls and picturesque hiking trails. Amidst the serene beauty, the park provides camping grounds and accommodations. Yet, what truly captivated us during our visits were the mineral baths where we lost track of time indulging in hours of rejuvenation.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Waranont (Joe)

While in Lampang, don’t miss the chance to visit the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and Kad Kong Ta Street Market. Afterwards, embark on a journey to the tranquil and picturesque province of Phrae, known as “The Gate of Lanna East.” Here, you’ll be greeted by beautiful temples, charming small businesses, and the mesmerizing Phrae Mueang Phi, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Northern Thailand.

Next in Nan, must-visit spots include Doi Phu Kha National Park, Nan National Museum, Wat Ming Mueang, Wat Phumin, Wat Phra That Khao Noi, Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, and Wat Phra That Chang Kham Worawihan.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Colton Duke

Down South Adventure: Sand-sational Routes in Southern Thailand

Need a dose of vitamin sea? Take a trip down south for a few days (or weeks) of “sand-sational” road trips.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Tomáš Malík

Chumphon to Ranong 

Here are two Southern Thai provinces that should be on your radar for unspoiled seaside nature. While in Chumphon, explore countless pristine beaches, but what you truly can’t miss is a visit to Mu Ko Chumphon National Park for a stroll around the verdant mangrove forests. A drive down to Ranong will also be filled with attractions worth stopping for, especially for national park devotees, with gems like Lamnam Kra Buri National Park, Mu Ko Ranong National Park, Namtok Ngao National Park, and Laem Son National Park.

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Phang-nga – Phuket – Krabi 

While it’s wonderful to stay in Phuket or Krabi and explore the plethora of natural and lifestyle attractions each city offers, doesn’t it sound even more enjoyable to combine all three destinations and turn it into a fun few-day road trip?

Stop at Si Phang-nga National Park and Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park in Phang-nga to trek, take a refreshing swim in the waterfalls, and repeat. Wildlife lovers can also enjoy a boat expedition at The Little Amazon Takuapa to observe local birds and animals.

Once in Phuket, beach-hopping is one of our most favourite things to do. Whether it’s Patong, Karon, Kata, or Kamala Beach, each exudes its own distinctive charm, complemented by local restaurants, cafes, and bars in the area that make everything even better and extra delicious.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Sumit Chinchane

As you journey into Krabi, while island-hopping is a must in this Andaman gem, we simply can’t speak enough about Railay Beach. Our numerous return visits to this precious peninsula near Ao Nang speak volumes about its irresistible charm. Choose this spot if you’re into A) rock climbing, B) hiking, or C) a small location that can offer everything from restaurants and bars to great hotels. The nearby location like Ao Nang is also packed with scrumptious spots that offer everything from Southern Thai delights to Indian and Mediterranean feasts.