Modern cities teeming with motorbikes and tuk-tuks, Buddhist temples tended by orange-robed monks, hill tribes selling handicrafts, verdant landscapes dotted with traditional farming villages, ancient ruins, and stunning coastlines peppered with gorgeous beaches and blue lagoons all make up Thailand’s animated scene collage.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Thailand
The idyllic Thai Islands are an ideal destination for those who want to spend a few weeks travelling around tropical islands. If you want big cities with lots of action, Bangkok will more than meet your expectations.
Northern Thailand’s hilly landscapes are an ideal place to immerse oneself in nature and learn about Thailand’s diverse ethnic groups, and the city of Chiang Mai is an ideal point of departure. These recommended sights in Thailand will help you make the most of your time in the region.
1. Ko Phangan
Ko Pha Ngan, the fifth largest island in Thailand, is characterised by its undulating hills, dense forests, and beautiful beaches. Ko Pha Ngan is less developed than Ko Samui, yet it still has lot to offer visitors, especially those interested in outdoor recreation.
Ko Pha Ngan is a great place to do scuba diving. Sail Rock, one of the most well-known dive destinations in the Gulf of Thailand, is not far from the island. There are more than 30 distinct beaches for sunbathers to choose from on Ko Pha Ngan.
The Full Moon Fiesta on Ko Pha Ngan is legendary. Haad Rin Beach becomes a vibrant open-air nightclub complete with live music, strong cocktails, and fire rope skipping on the night of the full moon every month. Every month, between 5,000 and 30,000 people show up for the event.
2. Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park is the third largest park in Thailand and is situated in the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range. The park’s terrain is surprisingly varied for its altitude, featuring both lush rainforests and open meadows.
Among the dense jungles of Khao Yai National Park are a number of hidden waterfalls. Haew Narok, the park’s tallest waterfall at 260 feet, is a sight not to be missed. The Haew Suwat Waterfall is less impressive in height, but just as beautiful, and it served as the location for the famous waterfall leap sequence in the film The Beach.
Khao Yai National Park is a popular tourist destination in part because of its rich variety of animal life. Many animals, including pig-tailed macaques, sambar deer, river crocodiles, and Asian black bears, are free to roam the park. It’s also one of the few areas in Thailand where large creatures like elephants and tigers can be seen frequently in the wild.
Tourists go to the small city of Sukhothai in northern Thailand to see the ruins of the ancient city of the same name. Dating back to the 13th century, ancient Sukhothai served as the country’s first capital.
Sukhothai Historical Park is home to a number of temples, palaces, and other relics from this time period. The park is segmented into different zones, each of which is home to a number of remarkable stucco-relief temples, chedis, Buddha statues, and other monuments.
The standing Buddha relics and lotus-shaped stupa at Wat Mahathat make it the most striking temple. The colossal 50-foot-tall sitting Buddha at Wat Si Chum pavilion in the park’s centre.
Manicured gardens, underground moats, and glistening lakes may all be found in the Sukhothai Heritage Park. Many antiques and relics from the park’s history are on display at the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, which is located right in the park.
Natural landscapes and outdoor activities may be found at nearby Sri Satchanalai National Park and Ramkhamhaeng National Park, all of which are within easy driving distance of the old city.
4. Ko Samui
Ko Samui, the third largest island in Thailand, wasn’t discovered by tourists until two hardy visitors in the 1970s rode in on a coconut boat. Ko Samui’s reputation for having some of Asia’s best beaches quickly made it a hotspot for tourists.
Ko Samui, unlike the other islands in Thailand (with the exception of Phuket), is home to a major airport. Ko Samui is more developed than its neighbouring island Phangan, which is known for its lively beachside “Full Moon Parties,” yet it still features a handful of tranquil and secluded beaches.
There are still quiet corners to enjoy on popular beaches such Hat Chaweng, which stretches for four miles. Little Chaweng, also known as Chaweng Noi, is located at the beach’s southern end, beyond a small point. There are two small islets offshore, and you can wade to one of them.
Those who like to mingle with locals while on holiday won’t be left wanting. Na Thon, the island of Ko Samui’s transportation hub, is home to several exciting eateries and nightclubs.
Coconut sculptures and batik garments, both printed by hand, have made the island famous. There are a number of significant Buddhist temples on Samui. At Wat Khunaram, you can see the preserved bodies of renowned monks. Wat Phra Yai, built in 1972, is home to the “Great Buddha,” a seated Buddha statue measuring 3 metres (9 feet) in height.
5. Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai, in Thailand’s far north, is a good jumping off point for trips to neighbouring Laos and Myanmar. This area is known as the Golden Triangle. Chiang Rai is a popular starting point for trips into the surrounding area because it is both a bustling city and a melting pot of cultures.
Most of the town’s package visitors leave for day trips throughout the day, leaving the village quiet. But, once night falls, the neon signs come on and the restaurants and gift shops come to life.
Many museums showcasing regional history, art, and culture can also be found in the city. Saun Mai Ngam Park is a great spot to unwind or celebrate the end of the year with a flower festival thanks to its beautiful landscaping.
You may get your fill of local cuisine, unique souvenirs, and free cultural acts in the many markets and the night bazaar. Picnics and riverboat rides on Chiang Rai Beach are common activities.
The Gate of Siam, located just outside of Chiang Rai on the Laos border, is a unique spot with breathtaking scenery. Hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls can be found in Namtok Khun Kon Forest Park.
There are beautiful views, hiking routes, and picnic sites all around Lion Hill Cave. Chiang Rai is home to a number of tour agencies that take visitors to the surrounding hill tribes to learn about their way of life.
6. Phanom Rung
Phanom Rung is a Hindu temple complex in northeastern Thailand, perched atop an inactive volcano. In the town of Nang Rong is a temple sanctuary dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and constructed by the Khmer civilization between the 10th and 13th centuries.
Phanom Rung is a Shiva temple in Cambodia made of sandstone and laterite, standing in for the holy mountain Kailash. The building is oriented to the east, such that the sun can shine in through all fifteen sanctuaries at least four times a year.
The park’s hours are extended, and the Phanom Rung Festival, which centres on the alignment in April, features both traditional Brahmin rituals and cutting-edge light and music displays.
Phuket is the most visited island in Thailand due to its beautiful beaches, world-class scuba diving, and abundance of high-end spas. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and is connected to the mainland by two bridges in the country’s southern region.
The beaches of Phuket are the most popular tourist destinations due to their white sands, blue lagoons, and plenty of water activities. Patong Beach has the most resorts, hotels, shops, restaurants, and lively nightlife of any beach in Phuket.
With its stunning caves, aquatic grottos, and limestone islands, Phang Nga Bay makes for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. You can get pampered to the max in Phuket, since the island is home to everything from massage tents on the beach to five-star spas in picture-perfect locations.
From museums dedicated to seashells and fish to national parks where you can go whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, scuba diving, and jungle trekking, the world is your playground.
8. Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is home to some of Thailand’s most breathtaking scenery, including towering limestone mountains and lush tropical forests. With a history stretching back 160 million years, Khao Sok National Park is significantly more ancient than the Amazon Basin.
Cheow Lan, a beautiful turquoise lake where people live on floating rafts and travel around in brightly painted long-tail boats, serves as the park’s focal point. Of particular note is the fact that the park has the largest remaining tract of undeveloped rainforest in all of Southern Thailand.
Waterfalls, caves, and groves of wild fruit trees await visitors in this lush woodland. Ziplining, kayaking, and tubing down the Sok River are some of the other options. Visitors to Khao Sok come for the unique fauna as well as the beautiful scenery.
It is estimated that more than 5% of all species on Earth can be found within the park’s boundaries. Larger animals like Asian elephants and tigers are rarely seen, while smaller animals like Malaysian tapirs, wild boars, and pig-tailed macaques are frequently spotted.
Ayutthaya, central Thailand, was founded in 1350 and is found in the valley of the Chao Phraya River. Located on an island with three rivers leading to the Gulf of Siam, it is easily accessible.
It was declared the capital of the kingdom by King U Thong. The ruins of Ayutthaya, once considered the most gorgeous city in the world, are now a popular destination for tourists in Thailand.
Ayutthaya was the spectacular capital of the Thai Kingdom, home to three palaces and more than 400 temples. It was a prosperous time for the city from the 14th through the 18th centuries.
Over a million people were living there by the year 1700. Ayutthaya was an important commercial hub and transit hub between the Western world and the Asian continent. Ayutthaya fell to a Burmese invasion and subsequent conquest in 1767.
During this invasion, many of the world’s most exquisite reliquary towers, monasteries, temples, and palaces were destroyed. A few buildings, however, remain intact and are open to visitors.
Ayutthaya is home to numerous archaeological sites, some of which are concentrated in the western part of the island while others are more dispersed. Wat Phra Mahathat is one of the most visited temples. A Buddha statue with his head intertwined with the Bodhi tree’s roots can be found here.
At Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit, both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike flock to see one of the most revered images of the seated Buddha. Phra Buddha Triratana Nayok, the largest gilded Buddha in Thailand, can be located in Wat Phanan Choeng. It is one of the most revered seated Buddhas in Thailand and stands at about 20 feet tall.
10. Koh Tao
Tao, an isolated island just off the coast of Thailand, has just recently been developed as a tourist attraction. It measures 21 square kilometres (13 square miles). No wonder the island’s bare-amenity cottages are giving way to luxury resorts as word of the island’s natural features spreads: white sand beaches, lush green woods, and towering granite rock formations.
Koh Tao is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest spots for underwater exploration. Koh Tao is a popular destination for scuba divers looking to learn the sport or improve their skills, thanks to the island’s abundance of shallow coves, gentle currents, and stunning coral reefs.
Many scuba diving facilities may be found all across the island, including at Mae Hat, the island’s main town. Butterfly fish, batfish, whale sharks, and even bull sharks can all be found among the coral reefs of Koh Tao.
Some people think the island got its name from its turtle-like shape, as “tao” is the Thai word for turtle. Despite the increasing number of tourists visiting Koh Tao each year, the island is home to multiple nesting sites for endangered hawksbill and green turtles. Koh Tao’s dive centres have collaborated in recent years to protect the island’s turtle nesting beaches.
Rock climbing, sailing, mountain biking, and game fishing are among common pastimes on the island. There are a number of Thai culinary and yoga schools in Mae Hat. Sairee Village is the epicentre of island nightlife, with numerous eateries, pubs, and discos.