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When it comes to Thailand, its sandy beaches and beautiful islands probably come to mind. But did you know, there are some cities in this country that offer a cooler weather? That’s right! There’s no need to step out of Southeast Asia if you’re looking for a winter-like vacation nearby.Credit: GIPHYNovember to January are the best months to enjoy this wonderfully cool climate and this is also the season that flowers are in full bloom! So, escape the tropical heat and make your way to the chilly region of northern Thailand that’ll have you packing thick sweaters and chunky socks instead of a portable fan.
1. Chiang Mai
As Thailand’s northern capital, it is no surprise that the charming city of Chiang Mai attracts travelers like no other. Located among lush mountains and rolling hills, the cool climate and breathtaking scenery of Chiang Mai makes it a perfect destination for anyone looking to experience a cold weather vacation.One of the best spots to enjoy the chilly weather is at Doi Inthanon National Park. This is where you can hike Thailand’s highest peak, Doi Inthanon, and soak in the stunning views of limestone cliffs. As you travel to higher elevations, youcan expect to see some frost at the summit since temperatures are likely to dip as low as3°C! Make sure to dress warmly by layering your clothing.With higher altitudes, you will also have the pleasure of seeing wild cherry blossoms on your way up! Get your phone ready as you find yourself surrounded by pink shades of Himalayan cherry while strolling along the slopes of the park. To capture dreamy photos of these flowers, locate Khun Wang Royal Project, a research centre within the park and snap away to your heart’s content!Mon Cham Mountain is another hotspot to bask in the glory of floral fields. Just a 1-hour drive from Chiang Mai, this mountain is nothing short of amazing as you are greeted with colourful rows of flowers the moment you arrive.With plenty of opportunities for pictures, you’ll be left with amazing travel photos that will be the envy of all.Feeling hungry from a day’s worth of adventure? Head over to Halal Street Hilal Town where you’ll find plenty of halal food to choose from. If you want to savour authentic Thai cuisine, then make your way to Prikthai, located just atthe entrance of Hilal Street.Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Changklan road, Halal street, Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Thailand 50100Getting to Chiang Mai: Take a 1 hour flight from Bangkok (DMX or BKK) to Chiang Mai (CNX) or a 2 hour 45 minute flight from Kuala Lumpur (KLIA) to Chiang Mai (CNX).
Temperature ranges:10°C to 21°C
2. Chiang Rai
Nestled in the foothills of the northern Thai highlands as well, Chiang Rai is another destination where you don’t have to worry about sweating throughout your trip. With an all-around pleasant weather during winter, you’ll be able to breeze through all sorts of activities while you’re here.When in Chiang Rai, a popular attraction you definitely have to visit is the Mae Fah Luang Garden. Situated in the Doi Tung province, you’ll be greeted with a beautiful landscape of flowers once you pass the entrance. With a colder climate that is conducive for more exotic blooms, you can look forward to a garden filled with roses, dahlias and tulips.Add a touch of history to your journey by making a trip to the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). One glance at this uniquely designed structure and you’ll understandwhy the Bhuddist temple is a top attraction of the city.Wat Rong Khun is pure white with pieces of mirrors embedded into the structure. To enter the ubosot (main chapel), you’ll have to cross a bridge over a pool of hands reaching out from the ground that signify suffering souls who did not make it to paradise.If you happen to be carrying out your prayers at Darunaman Mosque, drop by next door to Rospraset, a cosy halal restaurant for some Thai-Muslim favourites. Feast on beef biryani, white rice with curry chicken and egg, or a hearty bowl of beef oxtail soup. Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: 407/7 Isaraparb Rd, Wiang, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, ThailandGetting to Chiang Rai: Take a 1.5-hour flight from Bangkok (DMX) to Chiang Rai (CEI).
Temperature ranges: Averages around 21°C. During nighttime, the temperature drops an additional 10°C to 15°C.
3. Khao Yai
If you’re a nature lover, then Khao Yai is the place for you. With temperatures hovering at a comfortable mid-20°C, have yourself a refreshing time as you travel north of Thailand to one of the country’s best kept secrets.Credit: The Bloomby Tvpool Kaoyai on Facebook Home to Khao Yai’s largest flower garden, The Bloom is where you’ll be able to fulfill your dreams of seeing an endless stretch of colourful flowers. Just a 3-hour drive from Bangkok, snap away at the garden’s multiple rows of flowers that make for an Insta-worthy backdrop to any picture.Why fly halfway across the world when you can get a taste of Europe right here in Thailand’s backyard? Stroll around Primo Piazza, the Italian themed square, and soak in the Mediterranean vibes of cobbled streets and rustic architecture. While you relax and unwind, throw some fun into it by feeding some sheep, donkey and alpacas here as well!Credit: Chakrit Tohnakayor on FacebookFuel your hunger by making a stop at Narknava Farm & Resort Halal Food also known as “Kaomok Hiso Restaurant”. This halal joint offers dishes from Indian to Middle East cuisine alongside several Thai food. Plus, there’s a mosque on the premise, so you can conveniently do your prayers here.Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Phaya Yen, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30320, ThailandGetting to Khao Yai: A 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Bangkok to Khao Yai
Temperature ranges: Averages around20°C during daytime. At night, the temperature can drop to 10°C to 15°C.
4. Saraburi & Nakhon Ratchasima Sunflower Fields
As two of the more popular regions for travellers to see sunflowers in Thailand, Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima is a must-visit for anyone who wants to catch a sight of these yellow blooms.Whether you choose to visit the Saraburi Sunflower Field or Manee Sorn Sunflower field, you’ll be able to get your fill of enchanting fields of yellow sunflowers.The best way to reach these locations is to hire a private car or taxi service as there are no public transportation available around the area. Once you’ve reached your destination, an entrance fee of 10 baht (RM1.38) may be charged while most farms offer free entry. Satisfy your hunger after touring the sunflower fields by making your way to Loving Hut Thailand - a famous vegan eatery with locations across multiple countries in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Located 20 to 30 minutes drive from the two flower fields, this eatery offers various enticing dishes such as thai style fried rice, pad thai, seaweed tofu and stir-fried chili thai basil with rice. Halal status: Vegan-friendly
Address: Saraburi; 16/80-81 Phahonyothin Rd., Phra Phuttabat, Saraburi ThailandNakhon Ratchasima: 334 Mittraphap Road, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima ThailandGetting to the sunflower fields: Saraburi Sunflower Fields: Drive for 2.5 hours from Bangkok.
Nakhon Ratchasima Sunflower Fields: Drive for 3 hours from Bangkok.
5. Khao Kho
While its well-known among the locals, Khao Kho is a hidden gem that flies under the radar among tourists which makes it the perfect escape from the bustling crowds and humid heat. For those looking to get their fill of cool, crisp air, Khao Takhian Ngo is the ideal mountain that will give anyone an unforgettable hike. Located in the Phetchabun province, catch a view of misty fog surrounding the mountains that resembles a ‘sea of clouds’. You can even set up a base camp at Khao Kho Post Office to further admire the picturesque view.There are countless of other spots where you can experience and admire Khao Kho’s ‘sea of clouds’ as well! Start your day with an impressive scene of mist passing through mountains at Tanrak Talaymok Resort. Perched on a cliff, feel the relaxing and mystical vibes of nature as thick fog and cool breeze surround you at this resort.If you’re looking for a more unique location that provides an equallyscenic view, then plan your stay at Phu Sandao Resort. Not only do you get to experience postcard-like landscapes, you’ll also be able to stay in their Jam Roll rooms that resemble a swiss roll! Instagrammable, panoramic and soothing - now that’s what you call an amazing winter-like retreat.Credit: Tanya Berry Farm on Facebook Get your fill of beautiful views and yummy halal food at Tanya Berry Restaurant. Located on a hilltop, indulge in authentic Thai cuisine as you enjoy the cool breeze and lush greenery.Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address:Khao Kho, Khao Kho District, Phetchabun 67270Getting to Khao Kho: Take a 1-hour flight from Bangkok (DMX) to Phitsanulok Province (PHS). Then, drive for 2 hours from PHS to Khao Kho.
Temperature ranges: 18°C to 21°C
6. Mae Hong Son
Blessed with beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures, there’s no wonder that the province of Mae Hong Son is dubbed as “The Switzerland of Thailand”. With a nickname like that and attractions to back it up, go right ahead and save your money for a more affordable winter vacation option.One of the greatest highlights of Mae Hong Son is the annual Bua Tong Blossom Festival that takes place at the endof the year. Prepare to be blown away by the vast sea of wild sunflowers that return to the hills and valleys of the province from November to December. Just like a scene out of a movie, this is the perfect place for you to enjoy the bright gold blooms of sunflowers.For more amazing nature attractions, visit the Namtok Mae Surin National Park where you’ll be able to explore many waterfalls, mountains and caves. To get the best out of your trip here, make sure to visit Mae Surin Waterfall. Standing at 180m tall, this gorgeous single tier waterfall is considered to be one of the highest waterfalls in Thailand.Unique to the evenings from October to February, Mae Hong Son’s Walking Street Market is a worthy spot to check out especially those who love shopping. Held along the roads around Jong Kham Lake, take your time browsing the stalls along the street and seek out some fun souvenirs and gifts to take home like colourful purses, bags and natural dyed scarves.Enjoy a simple meal of rice with curried chicken, beef noodles and khao soi chicken at Halal Muslim Food, an unassuming eatery located behind Mae Sariang Hospital.Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Mae Sariang, Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son 58110, ThailandGetting to Mae Hong Son: Take a 1.5-hour flight from Bangkok (DMX) to Mae Hong Son (HGN).
Temperature ranges: 18°C to 21°C
7. Wang Nam Khiao
To those who prefer to spend their cool-weather vacation in a more off the beaten path location, Wang Nam Khiao fits the bill. From lush mountain ranges to gorgeous sunsets, this alluring district located in Nakhon Ratchasima province has a wealth of sites for you to discover and explore.Credit:Atibordee Kongprepanon FlickrTreat yourself to a spectacular view of lavender at Wang Nam Khiao’s Flora Park! With other types of flowers planted here as well such as roses, begonias and cassias, the colourful landscape is nothing short of amazing. Once you’re done taking some Insta-worthy pictures, head over to Fah Prathan, a learning centre located in the vicinity of Flora Park, where you can learn more about sustainable agricultural development.Get up close and personal with animals such as alpacas, sheep and horses at Montana Farm. The inner child in you will be delighted once you step into the Alpaca land to feed some exotic alpacas. If that’s not exciting enough,go on a thrilling ride by renting a quad-bike and exploring a designated area in the farm!Satiate your hunger by having a meal at Andaman Halal Restaurant located on the hill of Khao Paengma. Feast on various dishes like fried rice, stir-fried mixed vegetables and clear tom yum soup. Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: No. 165/4 Wang Nam Khiao, Wang Nam Khiao District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30370, ThailandGetting to Wang Nam Khiao: A 3-hour drive via private car or tour from Bangkok to Wang Nam Khiao.
Temperature ranges: In the low 20s. By night, the temperature can drop to 10°C.
Known to be one of the less touristy spots with a laid-back atmosphere, Lampang draws both locals and foreigners alike for a peaceful retreat.Chae Son National Park is a place where you get to truly be one with nature. Set in a surrounding of lush greenery, a special feature of the park is its natural hot springs. Whether you want to simply dip your feet in the hot springs or cool off at the waterfalls nearby, the park is the perfect place for you to relax and unwind.Not only do you get to relax here, but youcan also enjoy a wonderful DIY snack of soft boiled eggs!During the winter season, Lampang is covered in a bed of golden yellow flowers instead of white snow. The city transforms into one of the most beautiful sites for sunflowers and becomes a popular tourist attraction for visitors who wish to see the incredible sight of a sunflower field. So, make sure your travel includes a trip to the Mexican Sunflowers at Mae Moh for a floral experience that will never be forgotten.A trip to northern Thailand wouldn’t be complete without tasting the iconic dish - Khao Soi! Despite its simple-looking menu, Khao Soi Islam serves flavourful bowls of noodles, satay and fried chicken that are absolutely drool-worthy. Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: Wiang Nuea, Mueang Lampang District, Lampang 52100, ThailandGetting to Lampang: Take a 1-hour flight from Bangkok (DMX) to Chiang Mai (CNX). Then, drive for 1.5 hours from Chiang Mai to Lampang.
Temperature ranges: 16°C to 20°CNow that you have your winter destination all set, all you have to do is book that flight to Thailand and embark on an unforgettable adventure!This article is brought to you by Tourism Authority of Thailand.