Venture off the beaten track!

There is so much more to Thailand than the tourist enclaves of Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Why not venture offer the beaten path and experience the heart of the kingdom? You'll find the locals a lot more genuine, and the food a zingy treat!

We enjoyed a very memorable stay at a holiday villa called Green Gecko (www.thaivillarent.com), where we had our own villa and private pool, and where all our meals were cooked for us. The local family that ran the property showed us around the area and involved us in Thai village life, which was great fun!

They also run a second holiday villa called Gecko Villa (www.geckovilla.com) that offers the same kind of experience... but at cheaper rates.

Do make a point of visiting the local schools which the properties support through donations and fund raising events. And use Nok Air or Air Asia to get to Udon Thani: they're a lot cheaper than Thai Airways!

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