If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, you’re going to want to see the coolest places around. Maybe you’ve heard that the Grand Palace in Bangkok has amazing architecture, and all your friends have shared phenomenal photos from their trips there—but do you only want to check out what everyone else has seen?
Thailand is home to some incredible, one-of-a-kind natural formations that define the country as an adventurer’s paradise. And though the Southeast Asian country is home to hundreds of beaches, caves, islands and waterfalls, here are five unique finds we think are especially mind-blowing:
Tham Khao Luang Cave
Cave exploring is a must in Thailand. But while you might be spooked at the idea of walking through a hollow underground chamber while cool, damp air chills your body and gives you goosebumps, not all cave experiences are that eerie. Specifically not Tham Khao Luang Cave, which is located in Phetchaburi, approximately five kilometres from Khao Wang, a popular historic park.
This cave is made up of limestone and has several natural holes in the ceiling, allowing streams of natural light to shine through, keeping the dampness away and the sun rays bright. The cave used to be a multi-chambered temple containing over a dozen Buddha statues, and it’s said that King Rama IV built the stone gate that separates the main chamber from a second chamber as a security measure for a couple who once lived in the cave during the Royal Rattanakosin Dynasty. Remnants of the temple remain in Tham Khao Luang, though, along with the religious statues, which are what make the cave so unique. But watch out—Tham Khao Luang is also home to lively monkeys, so keep your belongings close.
Bua Tong Waterfall
What do you call a waterfall you can actually climb up? Bua Tong Waterfall. It’s located in one of Thailand’s many national parks, Bua Tong Forest National Park, close to Chiang Mai. It’s also known as “the sticky waterfall,” since the rocks beneath the waterfall contain limestone deposits, providing traction and a great grip surface for bare skin. The rocks are rough to the touch and there’s no algae or slime that adheres to them, meaning anyone can just climb up.
Bua Tong Waterfall runs through a forest, and is not difficult to find once in the park. If nothing else, it would make a unique story to tell your friends.
Koh Tapu is a unique 20-meter-tall vertical rock formation in the middle of Phang Nga Bay in Ao Phang Nga National Park. This unusual sight is easily accessible by boat. You can book a boat tour to this bizarre mini Island or you can even rent a canoe if you want to explore Koh Tapu on your own.
If this interesting vase-looking limestone rock looks familiar, you might have seen it in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. For example, it’s featured prominently in the background of this ridiculous duel orchestrated by a little person in a tuxedo and bowler hat:
Huai Nam Dang National Park
This National Park comprises numerous scenic lookout points between the high mountains of the Thai-Burmese border, which allows tourists and travellers to experience the wonders of Thailand\’s vast landscape.
Doi Kio Lam lookout point is one of the most beautiful, as a sea of mist emerges especially in the morning during the colder seasons. Another favourite lookout point is Doi Chang, which, while only accessible via a four-wheel drive, is Huai Nam Dang’s highest point, so tall you’ll feel like you’re standing above the clouds.
And though Thailand is hot, it doesn’t mean hot springs are out of the question. Located in the high hills of the park a few kilometers outside of the charming city of Pai, the Huai Name Dang hot springs are divided into three progressively hotter natural mineral baths, reaching up to 36 degrees Celsius. If you keep walking through the forest, you can reach the hottest springs in this park. A quick exploration to these hot springs makes a soothing way to relax and relieve muscle tension after hours of hiking.