Thailand is dear to every kind of traveler, from hedonists to historians; Buddhists to shopaholics; nature lovers to adrenaline junkies. There are bustling cities on one hand and blue lagoons on the other; the captivating Tiger Temple on one edge of the city and the chirpy Safari World on the other.
Thailand qualifies to be the perfect holiday spot of South East Asia for all the right reasons. In fact, one vacation wouldn’t suffice to your Thailand exploration; you’ll need several trips. And for that, we have created a whole list of the must-see places in Thailand. Whatever ‘type’ of a traveler you are, Thailand has something for everyone.
So here goes your Thailand travel list!
Top 14 places to explore in Thailand
Explore the versatility of Bangkok
This rather chaotic metropolis is absolutely mandatory to visit. There is so much of culture to explore and such an amazing nightlife to indulge in; Bangkok doesn’t cease to entertain you all along. Prepare yourself for a culture-shock in this infamously advanced capital city.
The captivating Grand Palace demands a definite visit. Then there is Wat Po showcasing a reclining Buddha. The Khao San road and Patpong Night Market are on every bachelor’s list, thanks to its wide display of ‘shows’. Make sure you don’t miss out on authentic Thai cuisine.
Navigation is a breeze in Bangkok. It’s crazy cheap and a haven for solo backpackers. Ideally the Bachelor’s party capital of Asia, you will find a group of friends having the times of their life in every nook and corner. Visit Sirocco if you are a Hangover II fan!
Bask in the Phuket Sun
Hosting some of the most idyllic beaches of Asia, Phuket is a perfect blend of party and peace. James Bond made it worldwide popular, for all the right reasons.
Phuket is one of the very few atolls in the world that offer you island hopping on a Jet Ski! The water sports here are abundant and intense. You can haggle with the water sports operators on the beach but maintain a safe distance from them too.
Visit the arguably famous Bangla Street to acclimatize yourself to the real Thailand. The crystal waters of Karon Beach offer you a spectacular view of the sunset. Grab a rental scooter and explore the interiors of Phuket. Besides the hustling Patong beach, there are many other hidden treasures here.
Party on a Full Moon night on the Eastern coast
Koh means Island in Thai language. Full Moon parties of Koh Phangan have gained attention from across the globe. You will find countless honeymooners and backpackers basking in the sun on a white sand beach; some indulging in skinny dipping in the clear turquoise waters.
Gorgeous palm trees frilling the beaches of Koh Samui are a great escape for leisure vacationers. Then there are the less known, rugged atolls of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan, just a boat ride away. Koh Tao, the diving mecca of South east, offers you a world-class diving experience besides immense serenity and peace.
Invoke your spirituality in Chiang Mai
If you wish to capture the cultural glimpse of Thailand, then Chiang Mai is inexorable. Chiang Mai means New city, an ambiguous name for a city that celebrated its 700th anniversary two decades ago!
Perched high in the northern mountains of Thailand, this ‘Rose of the North’ is haven for trekkers and mountain bikers alike. Almost every other shop offers you organized trekking excursions. The more informed backpackers and adventure seekers head on to Pai, a rather quaint, small town located near the Myanmar borders. The rustic hill tribes are a rare and exquisite sight here.
Bountiful temples, crafts shops, authentic Thai restaurants, Cooking schools and a wide array of Thai Massage parlors- there is all in one city.
Shop at the Floating Market of Ratchaburi
Popular mostly for its Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Ratchaburi pulls in thousands of tourists every season. The canals of this town welcome countless vendors wearing straw hats, trying to make a buck out of their displayed wares while paddling the boats. Tourists who wish to have a closer look, rent these boats for a few hundred Bahts and explore the canals while shopping fruits, veggies, souvenirs and cooked noodles.
Try Scuba Diving at Hin Daeng
The Andaman Sea of Thailand offers you Hin Daeng, the perfect getaway for adrenaline junkies and watersport lovers. Hin Daeng is unarguably one of the best diving spots of Asia. The abounding marine life offers you shoals of fish, manta rays, bat fish, Barracuda and even Whale Shark to a lucky few! Plus you get to swim amidst the underwater pinnacles, red soft coral and flowing carpets of Anemone.
Get a click near the James Bond Rock
The surrounding atolls of the Krabi province are an idyllic tropical paradise for travel bugs. Pristine beaches with powder white sands, clear turquoise waters, sunken caverns and towering limestone cliffs- it’s nothing less than a Hollywood movie. And why not! The epic James Bond movie was shot in this utopian setting! Take a Boat/Ferry ride to the nearby James Bond Island in the Phang Nga Bay.
Located nearby is another heavenly island of Railay. Parallel to the bustling James Bond Island, this one is entirely cut off from daily grind. And with such dense vegetation around, it qualifies to be a favorite among mountain climbers and nature lovers.
Taste adventure at Khao Yai National Park
Your Thailand vacation is incomplete without a rendezvous with the wild Elephants of North east. Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO world heritage sight, offers you just the same, along with some picturesque landscapes and waterfalls.
The national park is sprawled on a vast island in a very natural setting full of mountains, primeval forests and water bodies. During the night time, when Khao Yai is pitch black, you can sneak a peek at Asian Tigers which are hardly found in the daytime.
This tourist spot is jammed on long weekends and in the month of December. So be prepared for long traffic queues if you plan your vacation around then.
Go back in time at Kanchanaburi
With a dark history in the pages of Thailand, Kanchanaburi is a place where World War II prisoners built the Death Railway. Even today, historians cross over the bridge to get a glimpse of the abandoned rail tracks and a Museum showcasing the history of the Thai-Burma Railway. But that’s not all with this place!
Kanchanaburi offers you a charming landscape to make your travel photo collection. Set amidst many well known waterfalls, the place offers National Parks, serene rivers, gigantic reservoirs and virgin forests.
It’s only a couple of hours away from Bangkok and easily accessible via road or rail. Activities offered here are infinite- rafting, canoeing, fishing! Plenteous mountain bikers and jungle trekkers flood to Kanchanaburi. There’s Golf for the sporty ones while the hard core nature lovers could spend hours with Bird-watching.
Indulge in the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs
Located in the Northern part of the country near Chiang Mai is San Kamphaeng, a 40 acre property showcasing economically priced hot springs in a very peaceful setting. These mineral rich hot springs are popular worldwide for their medicinal properties and healing. These waters are extremely high in Sulfur and reach over 100 degrees Celsius. People from Bangkok come to this place to de-stress themselves of all the city-chaos.
Explore the Temple Sanctuary of Phanom Rung
Perched on an extinct volcano in the North East of Thailand is this Hindu shrine, popular for its impeccable architecture. Built around 10th century as a dedication to Lord Shiva, Phanom Rung is located near the village of Nang Rong. The idea of architecture is to create Mount Kailash, home of Shiva. Built with Sandstone and Laterite, the structure is such that the sun shines through its 15 sanctuary doorways four times every year.
Traverse the Tribal Thailand at Mae Hong Son
Capital of the extreme northwestern province of Thailand is this small town of Mae Hong Son. Lying very close to the Burmese border gives it a very different vibe from the rest of Thailand. The local hill tribe communities in and around the city offer you an entirely quaint experience. The popular Karen long neck tribe attracts thousands of sociologists and historians to the place. Its gorgeous natural vistas are no less an attraction for nature and peace lovers.
Scout the UNESCO sites of Ayutthaya
Situated on the Chao Phraya River Valley of Thailand is the city of Ayutthaya, set on an island circumscribed by three rivers that connect it to the gulf of Siam. Built in 1350, it was once the most magnificent city on the planet, offering three architectural palaces, 400 temples and a sprawling population. Just 50 miles away from Bangkok, it is easily accessible by all modes of transport.
You must be amazed at how much this one little country has to offer. Make sure you live the Thai culture and not just visit the country. Safe travels!