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Lesser-known villages in Thailand

Thailand Tourism inviting tourists from around the world. But Thailand is not just limited to these iconic tourist destinations and experiences.

When travelers think of Thailand, they are usually imagining a world of exotic beaches, rich historic temples, iconic statues, shopping arenas and the delicious cuisines that is unique to Thailand. Understandably these iconic indulgences have become part of Thailand Tourism inviting tourists from around the world. 

But Thailand is not just limited to these iconic tourist destinations and experiences. Some lesser-known towns and villages of Thailand craft an itinerary to travel to the ancient life and cultural beliefs of Thailand too.

To make the most of your time in Thailand a trip to the local villages unleashes the natural scenic beauty, local lifestyle, regional dishes, and an experience par excellence. The villages of Thailand are truly worth a visit with their hidden gems, iconic living style, and journey. 

Here are some of the lesser-known villages of Thailand to travel through Thailand in the most authentic way possible!

Chiang Khong Village

A few kilometers from the town of Huay Xai, off the shore of the Mekong waters, the Chiang Klong Village is astounding beauty. Collecting the pieces of Thailand’s most unexplored valleys and gorgeous scenery, this village is getting popular for its local Friday markets, astounding artwork and living. 

The village has several temples that the locals worship with all their might. Take a walk of this laid back village or cycle through the surrounding valleys to visit the nearby small villages and lakes. 

With pleasant hikes, valleys, and rivers to greet your senses, you can experience what hasn’t been said about Thailand before. Immerse into the authentic lifestyle of the villages of Thailand on a tour to Chiang Khong Village.

Ban Na Ton Chan

On north-central Thailand, if there is one village that is truly worth a visit – its Ban Na Ton Chan. The ancient charm and iconic structures of this village seep through its lifestyle and activities. This small village has won accolades for its community-based activities. 

The fascinating traditions of the villagers, their beliefs and local wisdom are worth a conversation. Revere charm of the ancient buildings, castles, and temples of the village while connecting with the locals for their local wisdom and intriguing beliefs. At Ban Na Ton Chan you can also taste some of the mouth-watering dishes of Thailand cooked with fresh and natural ingredients. 

Taste the local desert Khao Mao, or join the weavers to learn their art – its both learning and unleashing experience at the village.

Mon Cham

Want to visit the mountains of Thailand? The Mon Cham village and farm on the outskirts of Chiang Mai is a perfect place to connect with the mountain style of living. The Mon Cham tribe is known to practice sustainable farming methods to produce fruits, vegetables, herbs and more. 

The colorful farms of the region create a jaw-dropping scenery to walk through and breathe in. As you go exploring the panoramic views of the mountain farms and village houses, you can enjoy viewing the sprawling flower fields, spice gardens, and vegetable farms.

Stop by at a local house or café to try some truly ecstatic meal and savor the taste of authentic and sustainable living. It’s impossible to ignore the beauty of the valley that practices environmentally sustainable style of living.

Chiang Dao

Nestle away from the crowded streets of city life, as you travel hundreds of kilometers away from Chiang Mai. The secluded and silent village of Chiang Dao settled in the limestone valley brings you close to the spiritual life of Thailand. Home to Thailand’s third-largest peak Doi Chiang Dao, this village is the perfect place for off-beat trekking and unleashing the beauty of the iconic Thailand temples. 

Connect to your inner self as you sit at the Wat Tham Pha Plong, the golden temple with stunning views and enchanting aura. Explore the Chiang Dao caves, go river rafting or soak into the hot springs of Pong Arng to connect back to nature in its most authentic form. The silence and peace of the village are what truly makes your journey worth your time.

Trang Village

To truly have an immersive experience of the real village of life of Thailand – Trang Village is the place to be. This village holds all the magnificent beauty of the Thailand cities minus the commercialization. The mountainous exteriors, powdery beaches, turquoise blue waters, greenery and pristine silence of the beach takes you back in time.

The villagers practice local sustainable farming and run the wet and dry markets which are truly worth exploring for cheap deals of artworks and souvenirs. A clock tower is a community place where the villagers connect and interact. 

The festivals of the village are arranged with much vigor and excitement to color the town red. For some authentic snorkeling and biking experience, Trang Village is a must-visit.

Rangong Village

One of the border towns of Thailand, Ranging Village is an off-shore Thai experience. Due to its far proximity to city life, most parts of the village is undeveloped and thus ethnic. The natural waterfalls and canyons of Rangong village are popular for their hot springs, bald hill, and natural beauty. 

The village is surrounded by several islands amongst which the Kam Islands and Koh Phayam hold the most spectacular views and beauty. The village is home to Punyaban waterfall and Ngao Waterfall National Park drafting an itinerary for your spots to visit in this ancient village. 

As the village is rich in its farming knowledge and techniques, the local cuisine drops hints of the most authentic cooking styles. Thailand’s most savored dishes are truly worth a taste here!

Phetchaburi Village

Translating to the city of diamonds, Phetchaburi Village is home to some royal palaces, spiritual sites, and ancient temples. The untouched beauty of the Cha-Am, Hat Chao Samran and Hat Puek Tian beaches makes for a pleasurable time unleashing. For a trip to the mesmerizing natural beauty and sandy beaches – Phetchaburi can be your rejuvenation village!

Intrigued by the village life of Thailand? These truly stunning villages of Thailand connect you back to the authentic living style, ancient temples and untouched beauty of Thailand – embark on the off the beaten path for a revelation!

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If you’re looking forward to a fun-filled October, fall season or holiday getaway but haven't decided on a destination, you should definitely consider a trip to Buena Park, California. It’s home to five of the seven major attractions in Orange County, which is why the area has long been considered the entertainment capital of Southern California. It’s an ideal location since there are so many exciting things for everyone to do within a few miles of each other! In fact, it’s only five miles from Disneyland, 15 miles from beaches and 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles ... but perhaps a million miles from your everyday life. So that means you’ll get the best bang for your travel buck!

For example, you can dive into some outdoor thrills at 'Knott's Berry Farm' theme park featuring rides that are sure to get your heart racing!  "HangTime," set 150-feet above the boardwalk, is the first and only dive coaster in California, while the new white water attraction "Calico River Rapids" will take you into uncharted territory. However, if adrenaline isn’t your thing, Knott’s Berry Farm is bursting with other attractions and entertainment for all ages, including stage shows, interactive experiences, delicious food creations and family-friendly fun featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang.

While in Buena Park, you can continue to make a splash at Orange County's largest outdoor water park, "Knott's Soak City," which boasts 23 water slides, a gigantic wave pool and cabana rentals!

And when the sun goes down, you can make "eating" an experience with interactive dinner shows like the "Pirate's Dinner Adventure" set aboard an 18th century Spanish galleon replica ... the "Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament"... or the new vaudeville variety dinner show, "Teatro Martini." For all you foodies hungry for high-quality cuisine, check out Porto's Bakery and Cafe featuring the owners' original recipes from Cuba. With its famed potato balls, pastries and more, you’ll quickly taste why this eatery has a four-and-a-half star rating on Yelp with nearly 4,000 reviews! Also be sure to check out Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner, which has been family tradition In Buena Park for more than 80 years!  One of America's most popular family restaurants, it’s been serving up Cordelia Knott's fried chicken, homemade biscuits and boysenberry pies since 1934. In fact, Buena Park is the birthplace of the boysenberry––created right there more than 60 years ago.

I also love the food and atmosphere at Rock N Brews, the brainchild of KISS front-men Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, which serves up comfort food and a side of rock 'n roll. Also popular is The Cauldron Sprits and Brews, an immersive dining experience featuring uniquely themed French-casual gastro grub with a wicked twist. This includes the “Knotty Kid” cocktail named after the adjacent amusement park, made of boysenberry cotton candy, vodka and lemon juice.

Another reason I recommend vacationing in Buena Park is because it’s an affordable SoCal destination with reasonably-priced hotels, and the city often has great promotions. In fact, this November and December, the City of Buena Park will honor the men and women of the United States Military with exclusive deals on the area's top hotels, attractions and restaurants. Perks include complimentary upgrades, free theme park admission and discounted rates on Buena Park Hotels.  Those interested can learn more at VisitBuenaPark.com/military.

So, in all, Buena Park is a fabulous home base for fall and holiday travel, with tons of potential for fun, food and adventures! Check out VisitBuenaPark.com for more information and to order your free travel guide!

Also fun this fall is Oktoberfest at Big Bear Lake happening every weekend from now through November 2, where you can break out those lederhosen and dirndls and cluck the night away to the chicken dance! Of course, you can also enjoy ice-cold German beer served at eight bars, including the Craft House, which serves a variety of beers to go along with juicy bratwurst hot off the grill, homemade sauerkraut and fresh apple strudel.

At Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, there’s continuous live entertainment on two stages––including traditional polkas and dance floor favorites performed by real German bands. Other fun activities include log sawing competitions, stein holding contests, beer pong and more. There’s also a family section full of midway carnival games, face painting, inflatable slides and multiple bounce houses. So, see for yourself why Big Bear Lake’s event is Southern California’s number-one rated Oktoberfest. Purchase tickets online at BigBearEvents.com.

While in Big Bear, also check out the ropes course, which takes family adventure to new heights! This two-level obstacle course for both kids and adults towers 35 feet off the ground and offers 37 different challenges. Many of its features are exposed to nothing but air. One exciting element is the sky rail zipline stretching 80 feet and extending out onto a ledge, enhancing the overall thrill. Big Bear ropes course ensures the highest standards of safety, including a full-body harness connected to a safety line that’s inserted into a continuous track system. Each participant is fully secured at all times, from start to finish. The Big Bear ropes course is open daily, all-year round, and the cost is just $12 per person. Check it out at BigBearRopesCourse.com.

All of that travel will surely make you hungry, so I have some tasty finds on that front as well—a few of my favorite experiences in San Diego.

First up in “America’s Finest City” is the Bristol Hotel in downtown San Diego, just steps from the famed Gaslamp Quarter, the waterfront and some of the city’s best restaurants and attractions. Known for offering exceptional service, the hotel recently put the finishing touches on a mid-century, modern-inspired renovation reflecting the vibrant art and music scene of the 1960s. Guests can choose from a variety of room types, including three luxurious two-room suites, each themed after a landmark year in the 1960’s.

Each suite features its own record player and record collection, so music fans can enjoy their favorite tunes while traveling. The Bristol’s “Party Like it’s 1969” package is fit for a fall getaway with a nostalgic twist. It features accommodations, discounted valet parking, an in-room game of Twister and a “morning after” kit – all perfect for a little weekend R&R! 

Speaking of mornings at the Bristol, you can start your day at their beverage brewing station with tea and coffee each morning.  Located on the lobby floor, the hotel’s comfortable lobby lounge is a great spot to meet with friends for a warm beverage to begin planning the day’s activities. Dining options around the property are aplenty from alfresco eating on the sidewalks of this dynamic and cosmopolitan district, to sky high at a rooftop lounge, or in an intimate and ornately designed restaurant.  View room options online at TheBristolSanDiego.com.

Also while in San Diego’s downtown Gaslamp Quarter, be sure to visit STK! Known for being “Not Your Daddy’s Steakhouse,” this restaurant offers a fun and dynamic fine dining experience. It’s an artful blend of a modern steakhouse and chic lounge into one fabulous outing focusing on the dining experience as a whole versus any singular aspect of a great night out. It’s not just STK’s food, sleek décor, in-house DJ or elevated Happy Hour offerings, it’s a combination of all these things creating their signature Vibe Dining. Popular dishes include bite-sized Lil’ BRGs made with Wagyu beef, Bigeye Tuna Tartare with soy honey emulsion, and, of course, the highest quality and cuts of steak. And, STK’s transparent and traceable beef program brings guests exceptional cuts of meat and crave-able rare dishes seldom found in restaurants. Find this and all of their locations online at STKSteakhouse.com

I would be remiss to not also tell you about Eddie V’s Prime Seafood––a luxury dining destination known for prime seafood and premium hand-carved steaks—which has multiple locations in San Diego, including La Jolla and the harbor adjacent to downtown.  This fine-dining restaurant serves only the freshest seafood from pristine waters around the world, plus artistically prepared seasonal items. Their steaks are hand-cut from the finest specialty-aged, center-cut beef available, ensuring peak flavor.

Its award-wining wine list is curated by its advanced sommelier, and there’s a crafted ‘Cocktails with Attitude’ menu in their “V Lounge.” Here you can sit back, relax and enjoy live Jazz, R&B and Blues musicians for an unforgettable evening. Eddie V’s can actually be found across the country and, while each location is unique in its setting, artwork and décor, they all share an unmistakable elegance. Visit EddieV.com for all locations, menus and live music schedules.

And finally, also in San Diego this fall—November 10th through 17th to be exact—the city will host its 16th annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, which is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs, culinary personalities and gourmet foods. It’ll feature over 200 wineries, breweries and spirit companies, and 60 of San Diego’s top fine-dining restaurants. Tickets for the fabulous Grand Tasting, and other festival events, are available online at SanDiegoWineClassic.com.


As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her exclusive cross-media platform that reaches multi-millions each month through several syndication channels: print and online publications as well as broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

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