Let 2022 be your year to
#RediscoverThailand, as the Land of Smiles kickstarts its quarantine-free Test & Go programme once more.
In Airbnb’s first-ever Thailand Travel Guide, we shortlist our hottest and most underrated destinations across the country, delicious gastronomic specialities, as well as one-of-a-kind stays and experiences for an incredible getaway.
There’s never been a more opportune time to revisit your favourite destinations, and explore new sois and neighbourhoods along the way – so let’s dive in!
Airbnb’s Top 5 Hottest, Most Underrated Destinations of 2022
Nan: Bordering Laos in northern Thailand, Nan is home to some of the highest peaks in the country. Nan combines exciting adventure with unique culture – from lush green valleys, scenic roads and rice terraces to the archaeological wonder of Sao Din Na Noi, and its historic city centre with art hangouts and coffee shops. Pro tip: head to the mountains in the cold season for beautiful photography in the mist!
Trang: Often overlooked in favour of Phuket and Krabi, Trang is home to 46 islands along the southern Andaman coast, as well as amazing cave formations and majestic limestone karts. Its almost 200km coastline is ripe for exploring by beach lovers, while foodies can enjoy local specialities including grilled Trang-style pork, mee nam leaw (yellow noodles in gravy with chicken, pork, crab and shrimp), and the famous Trang ring cake. Don’t forget to check out Trang’s three-wheeled tuk-tuks and the Kantang ferry!
Phang Nga: Khao Lak, the Similan and Surin Islands, and Phang Nga Bay are some of the first places that spring to mind when people think of Phang Nga province – but this former tin mining province is a hidden gem in the waiting. Forests, waterfalls and hidden coves await intrepid explorers who make the effort. Check out the white sandy beaches and clear seas at Koh Pah, or immerse yourself in nature at Thailand’s last remaining lowland rainforest in Thailand, Khao Sok National Park. Samet Nangshe, Tamnang waterfall and Cheow Lan Lake (in neighbouring Surat Thani province) offer up some incredible views!
Ubon Ratchathani: Thailand’s Northeast has so much to offer those willing to get off the beaten tourist trail. Home to Thailand’s very own “Grand Canyon”, Sam Phan Bok is the biggest rock reef along the Mekong River and renowned for its craggy, Mars-like landscape with over 3,000 ‘holes’ or shallow lakes! Known as the “Emerald Triangle” where Ubon Ratchathani borders Cambodia and Laos, nature-lovers will be spoilt for choice exploring the numerous national parks in the area. Discover local handicrafts such as hand-woven textiles and brassware, and definitely try the local sausages: northeastern-style fermented sausage, Thai sweet sausage and white pork sausage.
Phitsanulok: Phitsanulok is a road trip pit stop for many, but it’s worth taking a day or two to properly explore one of Thailand’s oldest cities. From the 700+-year-old Phra Si Rattana Mahathat temple and impressive stupas at Wat Aranyik, to the King Naresuan shrine and the ancient city walls, there's plenty for history and cultural buffs to soak in. Caves await the more adventurous. Don't miss the famous Phitsanulok Night Bazaar, and you can’t leave without a photo of hoi kha at a noodle restaurant!
Top 5 most unique Airbnb Stays in Thailand
Immerse yourself in Ratchaburi’s mountainous backyard with this high-ceilinged farm stay designed by Superhost, Sujitra. Enjoy picking fruits and vegetables in the edible garden out front, while revelling in the fresh air and stunning scenic views from your patio. Modern House with Farmstay Mountain View (Ratchaburi):
Perched high above the village of Chalok Baan Kao, this modern villa comes fully furnished with stay-home amenities and spectacular sea views at every turn. On clear days, you can even spot nearby islands Koh Phangan and Koh Samui from your bedroom! With a spacious terrace, private infinity pool and a fully kitted out kitchen, the house makes a perfect romantic getaway for two. Horizon Luxury Pool (Koh Tao):
Surrounded by the rice fields and mountains, this majestic wooden house on stilts is designed in the traditional Northern Thai style. The property offers an entire acre of tropical gardens, a private pavilion and a 15m long pond. Enjoy the soft bubbling of the neighbouring creek and the lush greenery all around. For a quick trip into town, Chiang Rai city is located just 10km away. Stunning Wooden Stilted House (Chiang Rai):
These luxurious turtle-shaped villas surrounding a lotus pond make for one of the cutest eco-friendly nature getaways around. Nestled between Sai Noi beach on the east, Khao Tao Mountain on the south and Royal King’s reservoir up north, the villas are a great base from which to explore Hua Hin’s incredible attractions. Turtle Bay Hua Hin (Hua Hin):
Welcome to Canal Next Door, where you can experience Bangkok’s Old Town like a true local. Forget the hustle and bustle in the city – this warm, cosy studio located by the waterway in vibrant Thonburi offers the perfect base to explore Wat Arun and Wang Lang street market. Simply hop on the ferry across the river to explore the beautiful Grand Palace and much more. Canal Side Stay (Bangkok):
Top 5 most unique Airbnb Experiences in Thailand
Make offerings to the Master, learn about the religious traditions behind Sak Yant and receive a blessing from the Master with your very own sacred tattoo. Each design has a different function, such as to protect you from bad luck or bless you with success, so choose wisely! Get Your Real Sak Yant Tattoo (Chiang Mai):
Join the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project for a day and learn how the wonderful team here has successfully helped to re-introduce the near-extinct species back in the wild. Learn how to make gibbon nutrition balls, differentiate and understand their voices and movement behaviour. Save Gibbons And Save Forests (Phuket):
For those looking for something a little different to do in Bangkok, why not explore the spiritual side of the city? Get ready for hair-raising tales of love and loss as you walk down small alleys and meet a local Thai mortician. The Death and Ghost Story (Bangkok):
S Get creative with this street art and graffiti workshop. No experience is needed and you get to paint on a real wall, legally! Guests can also paint on cloth bags and take their masterpieces home – proceeds will go towards funding free art classes for disadvantaged children. treet Art Workshop with Local Artist (Chiang Mai):
This 3D2N all-inclusive adventure is a one-of-a-kind way to explore Chiang Mai and its mountainous surrounds by Thailand's iconic Tuk Tuk! Meet the local hill tribe communities, enjoy a traditional Thai-style BBQ in the rice fields, and embark on thrilling waterfall treks. Tuk Tuks, Hill Tribes and Mountains (Chiang Mai):
Most interesting things to eat in Thailand
Northern Thai cuisine - Also referred to as “Lanna” cuisine, the dishes of northern Thailand are less spicy but equally flavourful with fresh ingredients grown locally in the cooler northern climes. Popular dishes to try: sai oua (grilled northern Thai sausage), khao soi (crispy noodles in coconut curry) and khanom jeen nam ngiao (rice noodles in a spicy, salty curry).
Street food - Thailand’s famous for its fiery flavours and there’s no better way to get that on-the-spot food sensation than eating from a street vendor. Pull up a plastic stool, sit down on the sidewalk and dive into some of the freshest and most inexpensive food you’ll find anywhere such pla meuk yang (grilled squid), look chin yeun kin (stand up fish/ pork balls) khao niew moo ping (grilled pork on skewers and sticky rice) and much more.
Seafood in southern Thailand - For seafood lovers, bring your taste buds on a journey to Thailand’s southern coast e.g. Hua Hin, Chumphon, Samui, Phuket, Krabi etc. Dishes to try: goong pad makham (stir-fried shrimp in tamarind sauce), hoi chak teen (wing shells) and gaeng som pla (sour fish curry).
Airbnb’s Top Travel Tips
Be respectful to your local hosts. Take off your shoes when you enter homes and temples, never point with your feet, and avoid patting people on their heads.
Follow the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s COVID-19 measures and D-M-H-T-A safety measures and wear a face mask when in public spaces and on public transport, bring a hand sanitizer with you when you head out, and test yourself with an ATK kit if you display any early symptoms.
If you’re planning outdoor adventures, bring some mosquito/ bug spray.
Don’t forget the sunscreen! Whether you’re visiting temples, hitting the beach or trekking, sunscreen is essential whatever the season!
Have your own reusable shopping bags on hand, as some markets and malls may not provide plastic bags.