If you’re planning a bespoke trip to Thailand and want to take in the best of what it has to offer, then here are a few must-see recommendations
Train from Hua Hin to Petchaburi
Hua Hin is the charming coastal town where the king has his summer palace, with one of the best-loved street markets in Thailand.
A stay here is highly recommended (cheap and cheerful downtown, or blow the budget at the five-star Sheraton resort on the outskirts).
The one-hour train ride north to Petchaburi is a magical experience and will take you off the tourist track. Once there, the temple and architecture are worth the trip, but the journey itself is the most memorable part.
The train returns at sunset and costs less than a euro.
Discover Chiang Kham
This little-known northern district offers scenic countryside on the border of Laos far from the madding crowd and queuing of Bangkok.
Phu Sang national park is a wonderland of limestone caves, waterfalls and natural plunge pools – not to mention the rare flora and fauna, and the hidden temples such as Wat Saen Mueang Ma.
A double room in the Chiang Kham Grand Villa will set you back €20 a night.
Trek through the jungle
Less than an hour from the Myanmar border lies Pai, a hotspot for tourists keen to see Mae Yen waterfall. Wildlife will abound on the three-hour walk with farmers selling fruit at stalls along the route.
Your shoes might get a bit wet on the river crossings, but the views are spectacular and it’s well worth it.
Snorkelling at Mu Ko Surin
The Surin islands in the Andaman Sea are surrounded by coral reefs and are rated the number-one snorkelling destination in Thailand.
Day trips abound, but to fully immerse yourself in the experience a stay at the campsite at Mai Ngam bay is recommended.
A true must-see is Suthep Bay – the country’s first underwater signposted snorkelling trail.
A two-person tent costs €15 a night (nps.dnp.go.th).
The notorious Maya Bay cove was made famous in Danny Boyle’s The Beach.
You can spend a night on the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard boat in Kho Phi Phi after an opportunity to explore the caves and jungle before watching the sunset with a cold beer.
Snorkels are provided after dark and fresh local cuisine is served. Bedding is provided on the sand to sleep under the stars, or aboard the boat if you prefer.
The entire experience costs around €100 (mayabaytours.com).