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Thailand has long been a popular destination for budget travellers, providing a mixture of affordability and adventure activities from surfing and diving to kayaking and kite surfing – there’s plenty to keep you busy on a Thai holiday.
That said, you might be ready for something new. Maybe you’ve lost count of the number of times you have basked on the beaches of Phi Phi or strolled the boozy backpacker haven of Koh San Road, or maybe you’d like to find somewhere that isn’t quite as heavily frequented by other tourists.
Check out our list of destinations like Thailand that could be the perfect place for your next holiday.
Boasting 7,107 islands and gorgeous beaches to delight any beach bum, the Philippines offers a wonderfully diverse island-hopping experience.
The widespread use of English is an added attraction for many travellers, especially first-timers as it makes getting around easy.
The natural beauty of Malaysia is only surpassed by its assortment of cuisines and idyllic sandy beaches. Some of the must-see Malaysian attractions are the pristine beaches and dense jungles of Pulau Langkawi and the breathtaking surrounds of Pulau Tiga National Park, also known as “the Survivor Island”.
Bali has long been a magnet for sun-seeking tourists seeking an affordable tropical paradise and for good reason. It offers something for all sorts of traveller, from adrenaline junkies and party hunters to nature enthusiasts and family tourists.
Cambodia’s beaches are only matched by its rich cultural history. The temple at Angkor Wat is a must-see, depicting the might of Cambodia’s early kingdoms.
Cambodia is also riding a growing wave of ecotourism that introduces travellers to the country’s tropical wilderness and unique wildlife.
The natural beauty of Vietnam is breathtaking and some of the most memorable in the world. For something akin to Thailand, make a visit to Ha Long Bay. Here, thousands of rugged limestone islands jut out of pristine waters.
Another foodie paradise, Vietnam’s street food also rivals Thailand’s for those who want to eat like a local.
Goa boasts white beaches and wide-ranging outdoor activities on top of the glimpse into a rapidly developing nation. The infrastructure in most places is good and easy transportation options are available for those who wish to travel further.
Sri Lanka is hotly becoming the place to explore spectacular beaches, tropical rainforests and ancient culture. In it, adventurers can indulge in adventure activities and watersports, spiritual travellers can meditate in 2000-year-old temples and families can while away days on any one of its unspoilt beaches.
Tonga’s 170-odd islands provide an excellent opportunity for travellers who want to get off the beaten track. The overall atmosphere in this tropical paradise is incredibly relaxed and it’s largely unspoilt by tourists. A visit provides an excellent opportunity to gain a true cultural experience from a tiny Pacific island nation.
Borneo often gets overlooked amongst its more popular neighbours but for those who make the effort to travel there, it provides some of the most astounding natural scenery on Earth. Expect lush green rainforest, vivid blue ocean and rugged mountains as well as hundreds of pristine beaches undiscovered by tourists.
Thailand’s neighbour to the west, Myanmar is noticeably less crowded and boasts beaches and temples that rival those in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Samui.
Historical and spiritual sites abound with some areas boasting so many attractions that it would be impossible to see it all in a single visit.
Still a relatively undiscovered gem amongst the travel crowd, Okinawa is all about the sun and the sea. While there are plenty of shrines and temples to fill your days, the focus is all on the 160 islands and whether you want to dive, snorkel, surf or sail.
Food, drink and hotel costs sourced from: BudgetYourTrip.com, Numbeo.com and Hotel Finder in February 2020.
Thailand can seem like the perfect hub for travellers, attracting those looking for white-sand beaches, exotic food, ancient culture and cities full of life. It’s a well-worn destination that is easy and convenient to travel through for first-timers but also offers plenty of opportunities to get lost and away from the crowds for those craving some time off-the-beaten-track.
As the region develops and more travellers venture to new countries, it’s becoming easier to find all of the things we love about Thailand in a brand new location just waiting to be explored.
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