5 Breathtaking Lesser-Known Destinations in Northern Thailand

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With hundreds of beautiful and stunning places to visit in Northern Thailand, it’s easy for many of them to get overlooked or simply be unheard of. Popular names like Doi Suthep, Golden Triangle or Wat Rong Khun are amazing and must-see, but here’s always something special about going to a spectacular location that few travelers venture to.

Let’s have a look at some of breathtaking little-known places in Northern Thailand. Some places are best to visit at its proper period, but all of them are surely impressive and memorable. Find some time to visit them at least once to discover the hidden beauty of Northern Thailand. Of course, since they are little knowm, there is no popular Phu Chi Fah, Pai and Wat Rung Khun in the list.

1. Phu Lang Ka (ภูลังกา), Phayao.

Phayao Province is probably one of the less known city in Thailand. Many Thailand people say besides Kwan Phayao, there is nothing else to see here. The good news is they are wrong. There are is much more to see in Phayao, only that you have to travel off the beaten track which should be unforgettable adventure. One of the hidden beauty is Phu Lang Ka. Phu Lang Ka is a small and remote area in the mountains of Pong District, Payao province. This spectacular area  is perched on the side of a mountain that looks down into a valley with a couple of limestone outcrops of the same type that grace destinations like Krabi, Vang Vieng and Ha Long Bay. Only that Phu Lang Ka is very far away from the sea, so you will have more feeling of mountains and local living.

Road to Phu Lang Ka at dawn

Road to Phu Lang Ka at dawn (Photo by [email protected])


The photo above is the view of road number 1148 leading from Chiang Rai to Phu Lang Ka. This could be the most lonely and romantic road sight in Thailand.

The main attractions of the forest park are the “Islands of fog” or “Sea of fog”  in the valleys in the early morning and the mountains of Doi Hua Ling, Doi Phu Lang Ka and Doi Phu Nom. Most of mountain-like destination in Thailand offers spectacular view of sunrise, but only few has equally beautiful sunset view. Phu Lang Ka has both. Here, beside the beautiful sunrise, during the dawns, the valley filled with fluffy mist pierced by the outcrops. Phu Lang Ka has only the one accommodation available – Phu Lang Ka Resort. The resort offers very basic but comfortable. It has several bungalows and rooms in a longhouse all built overlooking the valley. They are all set attractively around the site so as to make the most of the view below; beautiful countryside and rice paddies, temples and limestone mountains.

Beautiful view from the resort

Beautiful view from the resort (Photo:neverendingfootsteps.com)


2. Doi Kat Phee (ดอยกาดผี)

Doi Kat Phee is a hilltop of one of the highest mountains in the area of Doi Kat Phee National Park which lies with Doi Chaang and Doi Wawee Mountain covered 6200 Rai (10 sq km). This little known place has been discovered only a few years ago, and recent it become a popular spot where locals camp in tents and wait for the sunrise.  In Thai, Doi means hill, Kat (or can be written as Kad) means market and Phee is ghost. So the meaning of Doi Kat Phee is a hill of spirit market. It’s located only 52 kms from Chiang Rai town, but because the terrains are hilly and mountainous, it will take as much as 3 hours to get there by car.

Attractions on Doi Kat Pee are beautiful natural scenery and the channels to neighboring countries, there are including many beautiful of viewpoints and popular places during cool season when morning mist cover all area of cool breeze, green cauliflowers fields. The best time to visit is during winter (November – January) when you can watch the sunrise through a sea of fog..

One good thing about Doi Kat Phee is you do not have to climb a mountain, you only need to hire a SongThaew or drive a pick-up to get there and wait for the sun to rise. Even a car can reach there, it is recommend to use truck or 4WD instead.

Sunrise at Doi Kat Phee

Sunrise at Doi Kat Phee (Photo: [email protected])



Doi Kad Phee - 06

Night sky at Doi Kat Phee (Photo: [email protected])



3.  Doi Loung Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai

Doi Chiang Doi is not that too little known. It became widely known in recent year, but many people still don’t know what’s in here. It is set in a lush, middle of jungle in the shadow of a enormous limestone mountain. Chiang Dao is becoming popular country escape from the steaming urban plains of Chiang Mai. Only that traveling to Doi Chiang Dao is pretty difficult and that’s why majority of travelers don’t come here. You must have a strong body and mind because you must carry your heavy luggage and water to go see a panoramic view of Chiang Mai at 2,225 meters above sea level. The journey maybe tough, but once you are there, you will want to go back to visit it again.

Sunrise at Doi Loung Chiang Doa

Sunrise at Doi Loung Chiang Doa (Photo by [email protected])


One of the best choice of accommodations in Chiang Dao is Baan Ra Beang Doa (House of Terrace Stars). It’s small house resort in the middle of the mountain and very close to great spots of Doi Chiang Dao. It is no way near luxury resort, but it give wonderful feeling among the mountain. In a clear night, stars can be seen from the balcony. The room rate is just 500 Baht per night including breakfast and dinner.

View from Baan Ra Beang

View from Baan Ra Beang (Photo by [email protected])


Breakfase at Baan Ra Beang Doa

Breakfase at Baan Ra Beang Doa (Photo by [email protected])


4. Huay Nam Dang (ห้วยน้ำดัง), Mae Hong Son

Every travel who visit Mae Hong Son must have visited Pai before but not many have gone farther north to Huay Nam Dang. Huay Nam Dang is not as popular as Pai, but it offers one of the most beautiful “Islands of fog” (ทะเลหมอก) in Thailand. It’s situated on top of the crest of hills and the same range as Chiang Dao (เชียงดาว) mountain range. The park offers excellent views of the mist and fog common to the area in the early morning. Huai Nam Dang is best visited in winter to fully experience the mist around the mountains. The temperature can go as low as 10 degrees centigrade from October to February but goes up to 25 degrees centigrade from March to April.



5. Doi Hau Singh (Lion Head Hill – ดอยหัวสิงห์), in Om Koi, Chiang Mai.

Doi Hau Singh is the hilltop of Doi Mon Chong, which is the highest hill in the Om Koi Wildlife Sanctuary. This little know place is located in the most remote district in Chiang Mai, Om Goi (อำเภออมก๋อย) which is 220 kms from Chiang Mai town. There are no towns around this areas, only a few scattered villages

Because of shape of one of the hilltops here looks like a lion’s head, it is call “Lion’s Head Hill”, or Doi Hau Singh in Thai. Once you’re on the top of lion’s head hill, you can see a panoramic view of of the distance horizon the with 360 angel.

Doi Hau Singh

Doi Hau Singh (Photo by [email protected])


Doi Hau Singh

Doi Hau Singh (Photo by [email protected])


Doi Hua Singh is very similar to Phu Chi Fah for the way it looks. Hiking trip up Doi Mon Chong can be done within a day, but it would be a very exhausting trip and most people don’t like to it. Thus, a minimum if a night stay is recommended. A visit to Doi Mon Chong requires an advance permission from Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary. First you have to contact the local ranger and make arrangements for a guide to drive us to the trailhead if you don’t know how to get there. Then walk up for another 6 kms (normally 4 hours) to the camp site near the summit. You need to have your body fit in order to visit this place. If you have heavy travel gears, you can hire local hill-tribe people to carry your staff.

The highlight is hilltopAttractions include the nearly extinct and therefore protected mountain goat, as well as breathtaking vistas. Thailand’s largest Azelia (Rhododendron), which blooms from December to January, adorns the mountains with its red-, pink-, and white-petaled blooms. The forests and plains are home to many rare birds and other creatures.

Now maybe it’s time to clear your schedule and add the unseen programme in to bring yourself to get in touch with fantastic nature in Northern Thailand.


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