There are various kinds of travellers, each looking for something different and Thailand offers it all. From beautiful beaches, lively night markets, surreal natural beauty to archaic temples, unforgettable nightlife and luxurious resorts – Thailand is a complete holiday destination. Without a dull moment, travellers can be assured of an action-packed trip since there are numerous places to visit in Thailand.
While the best places to visit in Thailand will completely depend on the time of your visit and your interests, we can assure you that there is plenty for everyone. Irrespective of your budget, this dazzling country in Southeast Asia promises one an unforgettable vacation.
Places to Visit in Thailand: Cities
Chaotic, energetic and vibrant, the beautiful capital city of Thailand can be described in many ways but what will remain common in all descriptions is its unmatched energy. Counted among the top places to visit in Thailand, Bangkok offers travellers myriad experiences.
A modern city, it is dotted with numerous skyscrapers, bustling markets and five-star hotels which make this contemporary city one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand. Travellers who have the city on their list of places to visit in Thailand must keep aside at least two days. There is much to see and do including visiting shopping centres, historical sites and enjoying the city’s most attractive highlight – its nightlife.
Among places to see in Bangkok, we recommend Wat Pho temple which is famous for the statue of the reclining Buddha. Said to preserve the secrets of Thai medicine, it’s a must-visit for spiritual seekers and history lovers. The Grand Palace which is located a few km away from Wat Pho is another must-visit for its historical importance and grandeur.
One of the biggest reasons that Bangkok is among the best places to visit in Thailand is its bustling shopping markets. Travellers can explore high-end brands or opt for local shops for some great bargains. The most recommended shopping markets are MBK Centre, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Siam Paragon.
Considered to be one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand, Pattaya is a beach town which is situated along a crescent-shaped bay. Promising an action-packed vacation, the city is mostly known for its exciting nightlife. With numerous bars, cafes, discos and pubs, travellers can expect a great time here.
Among the most popular places to visit in Thailand, Pattaya is divided into three zones and if travellers have enough time, they can cover the entire city in two days. While the south and central Pattaya ensure that travellers have an exciting and unforgettable vacation, the northern part promises a quieter and laidback experience.
Since the town is open till the wee hours of the morning, you can explore the city without any restrictions. We do recommend having an itinerary in place since there is so much to do and chances are one might miss out on some of Pattaya’s attractions. For shopping enthusiasts, we recommend scouting the shops lining Pattaya beach as well as some of the enthralling floating markets. Of course, bargaining is a must but you can expect to take home quite a treasure at reasonable prices.
The erstwhile capital of Thailand for 417 years, Ayutthaya is one of the most enthralling places to visit in Thailand. History lovers and art enthusiasts will be in awe of the beauty and grandeur of the city. Taking one back in time, Ayutthaya ruins date back to centuries and are an example of the country’s heritage.
The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to numerous idols of Lord Buddha and the authorities have made considerable efforts to preserve them. Also known as Krung Kao, this ancient capital is situated 80km from Bangkok. If you have time in your schedule, we recommend including a day-trip to this beautiful city.
Travellers who have included the city in their list of places to see in Thailand, must include Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wat Ratchaburana and Bang Pa-in Palace in their itinerary. For those who’d like to spend a night here, there are numerous guest houses which promise warm hospitality and efficient service. If you are going to be spending only a day in Ayutthaya, we recommend visiting some of the cafes which serve everything from local delicacies to world-cuisines. Sipping coffee in a street cafe while admiring the marvels of an ancient city is an experience travellers shouldn’t miss.
Places to Visit in Thailand: Islands and Beaches
Picturesque views, spell-binding sunsets and pristine beaches – what else can one ask for? Koh Samui is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Thailand, especially for travellers who are looking forward to a beach vacation. Situated in the Chumphon Archipelago, the island has gradually become one of the must-visit places to see in Thailand.
Another reason why Koh Samui is one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand is for its natural beauty and inviting culture. Koh Samui offers all kinds of travellers a memorable vacation with its mesmerising beaches, welcoming cafes and lively night clubs. Also, another huge attraction that brings travellers to Koh Samui is the numerous luxury resorts and villas. For luxury travellers, there are unlimited options and one can choose among stunning resorts. On the other hand, if you are a budget traveller, you won’t be disappointed either since there are numerous budget hotels which don’t compromise on service and promise breathtaking views of the azure waters and crimson-painted skies.
Among the most gorgeous places to visit in Thailand, the beach is also known for its nightlife owing to umpteen lounges and clubs. We recommend heading to Chewang and Lamai to experience the thrilling nightlife of Koh Samui. For those who want to try water sports, the beaches of Koh Samui are ideal and you can try your hand at surfing. For those who are looking for a peaceful vacation, we suggest heading to the south side of the island where it’s much quieter and there are fewer visitors.
A part of Chumphon Archipelago, Koh Phangan is considered to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Thailand. It is most popular among travellers for full moon parties, picturesque sunsets and local shopping markets. Ideal for travellers who are looking for a quiet vacation, the beach offers numerous opportunities to reconnect with nature.
Koh Phangan is home to numerous beaches, lush forests and umpteen natural retreats which are a delight for travellers to explore. If fishing, trekking, diving and kite-boarding are on your mind, we recommend booking a comprehensive tour that gives you a chance to try everything.
Earlier the thriving coconut and fishing industry were the main sources of income for locals, but today this has been taken over by tourism. A part of all itineraries, this island is counted among the most famous places to visit in Thailand.
While the luxury resorts and villas in Koh Samui are some of the best in the world, the accommodation options here comes a close second. Dotted with health and wellness resorts, the vibe of this dreamy island is absolutely perfect for a relaxing vacation.
Phi Phi Islands
Made up of six islands, Phi Phi Islands are a part of all itineraries which list the best places to visit in Thailand. The most popular islands among the six are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh which are said to be the two best places to visit in Thailand if one is looking for an action-packed vacation.
Owing to their popularity, the islands see a number of visitors every year and if you have a few days in Thailand, the islands are highly recommended.
Adventure seekers and food lovers will feel at home in any of the Phi Phi islands since there are a plethora of restaurants to try. In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choice since most restaurants offer visitors a delectable array of cuisines. If on the other hand, shopping is what you look forward to on a vacation, you must head to local markets which are full of local shops selling apparel, footwear and jewellery.
Koh Lipe has gained popularity in the last few years as one of the best places to visit in Thailand. The mesmerising views, azure waters, boho vibe, numerous cafes and local culture are huge attractions for travellers and one keeps coming back for more.
The two most beautiful beaches of Koh Lipe are unarguably two of the most gorgeous places to visit in Thailand – Hat Sunrise and Hat Pattaya. These white sand beaches boast of gorgeous coral reefs which has led to the growth of numerous water activities including snorkelling and diving.
Another reason why Koh Lipe is counted among the best places to visit in Thailand is owing to its popularity among budget travellers. Offering some of the best accommodation options, Koh Lipe is far more reasonable than some of its counterparts. One can manage to spend a week here without exhausting their budget.
A part of all itineraries which include the best Thailand tourist attractions, Railay is a gorgeous beach which is one of the best places to visit in Thailand. The beach is only accessible by boat and travellers typically head out quite early to ensure they have enough time in this gorgeous beach town.
Popular among adventure enthusiasts as one of the best places to visit in Thailand, Railay is known for its many thrilling activities including rock climbing, kayaking and active diving. In fact, this beautiful island is known as one of the best destinations for rock climbing in the world. Whether you are a newbie or a professional, you can hope to try some challenging climbs with the help of experts and guides. There are many schools here which can help newbies to begin their rock climbing journey.
Made up of four beaches, Railay is also a great place if you want a break from the busy tourist cities of Thailand. Full of luxury resorts, the beach is ideal for couples and families who want to spend time together in the midst of nature.
Also known as Turtle Island, Kho Tao is an island in the Chumphon Archipelago in southern eastern Thailand and is said to be one of the best places to visit in Thailand. The island is famous for diving spots, which are among the best and most beautiful in the world. With golden sand beaches, serene bays, majestic marine life and stunning scuba diving spots, the beauty of the island is unparalleled.
The island covers an area of approximately 21 square kilometres. Apart from scuba diving, the island is famous for hawksbill and green turtles, as it serves as a breeding ground for these turtles – another reason why the island is among the most gorgeous places to visit in Thailand.
Majority of visitors who come to the island are here to complete their Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) diving course. In case you want to learn the craft of scuba diving, you will need at least 4 to 5 days on the island. However, if you plan to relax and unwind, a 2 to 3 day trip should be enough.
The marvellous beaches and beautiful small restaurants are perfect for anyone who wants to relax and take a break from the hustle-bustle of cities. From the island, one can also visit the stunning corals and encounter bull sharks and whale sharks. The eastern side of the island has a number of hills, where one can enjoy hiking or rock climbing. Few of the best places to visit on the Kho Tao island include Hin Wong Bay, Tao Tao Spirit Rocks, Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint and Wat Koh Tao.
For travellers who have Kho Tao in their list of places to visit in Thailand, we recommend visiting between July and September, which is the best time to visit. Kho Tao can be reached by Bangkok or Kho Samui via a short ferry ride.
Places to Visit in Thailand: National Parks
Khao Sok National Park
One of the most pristine and verdant locations, Khao Sok National Park is a treat for nature lovers and is counted among the best places to visit in Thailand. The park is located in southern Thailand in the Surat Thani province and is spread over an area of 739 square kilometres. The flora and fauna of the park are diverse and simply stunning. The park is part of an ancient rainforest that once was bigger than the Amazon. Khao Sok Park is surrounded by a number of majestic sandstone and limestone hills and the heavy rainfall it receives makes the park a green wonderland. The park doesn't only have a great variety of flora and fauna but is also dotted with beautiful caves and sparkling lakes.
Travellers visiting this part of Thailand should ideally keep at least 3 to 4 days to experience the park to its fullest. One can try a number of activities here including visiting elephant camps, trekking and canoeing.
At the same time, the sightseeing expeditions in the park put it on the list of most popular places to visit in Thailand. To be safe and also experience the park fully, local guides can also be hired. These guides will take you to serene waterfalls and mysterious caves spread across the park. Since the park receives heavy rainfall, the period between June to September is the best time to visit the park.
Places to Visit in Thailand: Shopping
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Thailand is quite popular among many Asian countries as a shopping destination. From electronics to apparel, Thailand is well-known among shopaholics as a shopping haven. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is famous across the world as one of the best street shopping bazaars and is counted among the best places to visit in Thailand. Located near the old city, the bazaar will satisfy all your shopping needs, be it toys, handicrafts, apparel or electronics.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar stretches over a distance of 1 kilometre and gives you a first-hand experience of the lively nightlife of Thailand. The bazaar is open throughout the year from evening till midnight. During the day, the road on which the bazaar is situated is a regular shopping and eating area, with shopping arcades and restaurants. Just as the sun sets, the place comes alive with thousands of shoppers and vendors. The bazaar also offers delectable street food for one to enjoy.
There are hundreds of stalls in the bazaar, offering a variety of products like DVDs, watches, luggage, jewellery, artwork and even furniture. One can also find products from major brands at the bazaar, though some are original, many may be replicas. It's always good to check the product thoroughly before buying. Although the prices of products here seem generally low, the vendors always keep a 30 to 40% margin. Hence, it is advisable to bargain before buying anything.