Beaches Or Mountains: What Should Be On Your Thailand Bucket List?

Photo of Thailand by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Thailand is on the travel bucket list of most Indian travellers, especially youngsters, like India’s Goa! Well, visiting this tropical country has got a lot easier for Indians as there is no visa required to travel there!

Think of Thailand and you’ll probably visualise spicy food, outdoor markets and world class beaches. While Thailand is definitely best known for its islands, it’s also home to a range of equally impressive mountain destinations!

The depths of waters, or the might of mountains? The sound of waves, or the peace and quiet of mountains? A lovely laid-back beach vacation, or a serene and tranquil mountain retreat? Let's find out what should be on your Thailand bucket list!

Thailand- The Tropical Beach Paradise

Famous worldwide as the archetypal tropical beach paradise, Thailand’s islands and beach destinations range from popular and highly developed to almost completely undiscovered by mass tourism!

1. Phuket:

Phuket; (c): flickr

Photo of Phuket, Thailand by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Thailand’s biggest island with its own international airport, Phuket’s sheer size and variety of activities makes it a fun destination! There are still plenty of quiet locations around the island for visitors willing to travel off the beaten path.

> Patong, Karon and Kata — three large beaches that run north to south along the bottom half of Phuket’s western coastline — are the island’s tourist hotspots. Further north, Kamala and Surin offer a quieter atmosphere and are home to several of Phuket’s ultra-luxury resorts.

> Recommended for: Families, couples, high-end travel.

> Stay for: 3-4 nights, depending on your trip duration.

> Nearby: Krabi and Koh Phi Phi are a short ferry trip from Phuket

> Places to stay: Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa, Sugar Palm Grand Hillside Hotel, Kata Beach Homestay and Backpacker.

2. Koh Phi Phi:

Koh Phi Phi; (c): flickr

Photo of Ko Phi Phi Don, Ao Nang by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

A small group of islands with natural beauty and being a crowded party hotspot, Koh Phi Phi attracts tens of thousands of backpackers during the high season!

> Offering several beautiful beaches, Phi Phi Don’s (the largest island in the archipelago) northern beaches, offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Ton Sai!

> Recommended for: Backpackers, solo travellers.

> Stay for: 2-3 nights

> Nearby: Phuket and Krabi

> Places to stay: Zeavola Hotel, Phi Phi Maiyada Resort, Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island

3. Koh Phangan:

Full moon party, Koh Phangan; (c): pinterest

Photo of Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Pha-ngan District by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Famous, for its Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan has long been a favourite on the Thailand backpacker itinerary!

> A large island located at a short distance from Koh Samui and best known as a party destination, Koh Phangan also has a selection of great beaches and quiet resorts!

> Recommended for: Solo travellers, backpackers.

> Stay for: 3-4 nights

> Nearby: Koh Samui and Koh Tao

> Places to stay: Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villa Resort & Spa, Moonstone Studio, Thai Dee Garden Resort

4. Koh Tao:

Koh Tao; (c): flickr

Photo of Ko Tao, Surat Thani by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

One of the world’s most popular dive training destinations, Koh Tao is home to a massive range of dive schools offering inexpensive Open Water diving courses. A relaxed atmosphere and fun nightlife makes Tao a great isolated, in-the-know alternative to the larger Phangan and Samui!

> Recommended for: Solo travellers and backpackers.

> Visit for: 3-4 nights

> Nearby: Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

> Places to stay: Jamahkiri Spa & Resort, Thalassa Hotel, Chaantalay Hotel

5. Koh Chang:

Koh Chang; (c): pinterest

Photo of Koh Chang, Trat by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

One of the largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Chang is a relaxing destination close to the Cambodian border.

As it’s fairly isolated from the rest of Thailand’s beach destinations, Koh Chang is best visited for a long stay with best beaches that are relatively undisturbed and peaceful!

> Recommended for: Couples, families and backpackers.

> Stay for: 4 nights or longer

> Places to stay: The Emerald Cove Koh Chang Hotel, Koh Chang Paradise Resort, Pajamas Koh Chang Hostel

Thailand- The Rugged and Mountainous North

From beautiful temples to stunning mountain views, the north of Thailand is a great destination that’s extremely different from the rest of the country.

1. Chiang Mai:

Chiang Mai; (c): flickr

Photo of Chiang Mai, Thailand by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

One of Thailand's largest cities and centre of life in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a place where you an have an authentic cultural experience!

a convenient travel hub that offers easy access to nearby mountain towns such as Pai, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai!

> Attractions like Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and numerous outdoor activities in the mountains that surround the city make Chiang Mai a fun place to spend a few nights. The city’s quiet lifestyle also makes it a great place to relax after several days on any of the busier islands!

> Recommended for: Solo travellers, families and couples.

> Stay for: 2-3 nights, or just stop over on the way to the mountains

> Nearby: Pai, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai

> Places to stay: Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Spa, Golden Bell Hotel, Sleep Guesthouse

2. Pai:

Pai; (c): shutterstock

Photo of Pai, Pai District by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

A picturesque small town surrounded by lush scenery and beautiful mountains, Pai has grown into a major tourism destination after it was featured in a popular Thai romantic comedy!

> Surrounded by rice fields, rugged mountains and impossibly beautiful views, life in Pai is quiet and relaxing, although there are plenty of activities to fill your schedule. Hot springs, elephant trekking, hiking trips, adventure rafting and other fun outdoor activities make Pai a great destination for anyone that loves adventure!

> Recommended for: Backpackers, solo travellers, couples.

> Stay for: 3-4 nights.

> Nearby: Mae Hong Son

> Places to stay: Reverie Siam Resort, Kirina Retro House, Pairadise Guesthouse

3. Chiang Rai:

Chiang Rai; (c): shutterstock

Photo of Chiang Rai, Thailand by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Famous for its excellent mountain trekking, Chiang Rai is also home to a range of impressive temples and historical attractions! Home to almost 200,000 people, it is Thailand’s northernmost city surrounded by dense forests and mountains.

> From elephant trekking to visiting remote Hill Tribe villages, there’s more than enough to do in Chiang Rai to fill a four or five-day itinerary.

> Recommended for: Couples, solo travellers and families.

> Stay for: 3-4 nights

> Places to stay: Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, Le Patta Chiang Rai Hotel, Happynest Hostel

4. Mae Hong Son:

Mae Hong Son; (c): flickr

Photo of Mae Hong Son, Thailand by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

One of Thailand’s most remote tourist destinations, Mae Hong Son is a small town located deep in the mountains of northern Thailand! Mae Hong Son’s beautiful lake and temples make it a fun town to explore on foot! The town is surrounded by mountains and dense forest, with a great selection of waterfalls and viewpoints within trekking distance.

> The best way to enjoy what Mae Hong Son has to offer is independently — rent a motorbike and travel to Tham Pla National Park or up to Wat Doi Kong Mu for great views over the town!

> Recommended for: Backpackers, solo travellers, couples.

> Stay for: 2-3 nights

> Places to stay: Imperial Mae Hong Son Resort, Fern Resort, Boondee House

Thailand has always been a fun destination! Blessed with serene nature escapes and relaxing beaches, to rejuvenating villas, luxurious resorts and budget-friendly hotels, it is suitable for all kind of travelers. So, when planning for your next vacation filled with vibrancy and serenity, think Thailand!

If you’ve ever been, I’d love to hear what you chose between the beaches and mountains of Thailand! Comment below.

For more travel stories and information follow @travelstoriesbytan.

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