Thailand is one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia, and is referred to as the “gateway to the Orient” as it’s a starting point for many peoples further adventures in South East Asia. We’ve got the list of the best places to visit in Thailand.
The allure of Thailand to the millions of travelers that visit each year is both the exotic nature of the destination and the diversity of activities that one can experience. Thailand’s attractions encompass historic structures, temples, beautiful beaches, mountains, national parks, and much more. It is a foodie heaven as well as a party paradise.
Plus, at least by Western standards, it is cheap. You can eat and sleep better than you would for double the price back in your home country. You can reach most of the destinations within the country by bus, train, or a quick and inexpensive plane flight.
Thailand is an easy country to visit, even if you don’t speak a word of Thai. The main tourist areas have signs in both English and Thai making it quite easy to get around. Add to that, most of the people working in these area speak at least some English, which helps make traveling to such and exotic destination much easier. Now, onto the list of the best travel destinations in Thailand.
Kanchanaburi is located a few hours outside Bangkok and is best known as the home of the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai as immortalized in the Hollywood movie. In addition to being able to visit the Death Railway, there are several other World War II sites to see nearby, including Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, and the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre.
When you’ve had enough time visiting the War Memorials you will find the area around Kanchanaburi has beautiful scenery, waterfalls, lakes, and caves to keep you enchanted. One of the most amazing waterfalls in Thailand, Erawan Falls is not too far away in the Erawan National Park.
9. Hua Hin
Hua Hin is a quiet and laid back seaside resort town on the Gulf of Thailand. Roughly a three hour drive from Bangkok, the beach town of Hua Hin is a popular destination for local Thais as well as foreign tourists.
Part of the charm of Hua Hin beach is its powdery white sand and blue green water. Even though the city is a bit sleepy compared to its other counterparts in the country, there is still plenty to see and do. Several markets, local temples, the old world feeling train station, and nearby Sam Roi Yot national park should keep you occupied during your stay.
8. Khao Yai National Park
Jungle covered mountains, waterfalls, and abundant plant and wildlife highlight a trip to Khao Yai National Park. The second largest National Park in Thailand and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the park provides a completely different view of Thailand after you’ve seen the temples and beaches.
Seeing the two types of gibbon are a main attraction at the park, however if you are lucky, you may run into one of the wild elephants that live on the park grounds.
7. Chiang Rai
The largest northern city in Thailand, it is in a great location from which to explore the Golden Triangle area of Thailand. The city boasts dozens of temples and museums that can quickly fill up your day of sightseeing. The most famous attraction is probably the White Temple, it is a modern temple that has some unbelievable architecture and designs.
The Sukhothai Historical Park contains the ancient ruins of the capitol of the Kindom of Siam from the 13th century. As an UNESCO World Heritage site, the ancient city is well preserved and undergoing restoration.
Visitors can easily explore the palaces, temples, and buildings of Old Sukhothai on foot or by rented bike. It is a great place to take in the history of Thailand and is well suited for any history buff.
The Loy Krathong festival is held here every November and it is one of the best places in Thailand to take in the event. Traditional Thai performances are held among the ruins before thousands of lanterns are lit and sent into the air, followed by an amazing fireworks show.
Krabi has become one of Thailand’s most popular beach destinations. The beautiful beaches set amidst jagged limestone mountains make this a beautiful backdrop for a vacation setting. The wonderful beach at Railay is a popular spot for tourists due to the lovely white sand beaches and laid back atmosphere.
Krabi also makes for a good jumping off point to explore some of the islands that Thailand has to offer such as Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta.
Ayutthaya, which was the second Thai capital after Sukhothai, was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Visitors can walk around the ruins of this ancient capital and take in what remains of the old temples, buildings, and Buddha statues.
Located just to the north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya makes for a popular day trip. Though there are enough museums, temples, and other attractions outside of the historic city to make for a few days stay.
One of the largest and most popular islands in Thailand, Phuket is the major tourist spot in the Andaman Sea. Beautiful white sand beaches and blue waters make this a perfect place to kick back and relax. The main tourist beach of Patong is worth a look, but is very crowded and the place to party on the island. For a more chill vibe, one needs to try out some of the other beaches, Karon, Kamala, and Surin.
Phuket is a fantastic spot for day trips to James Bond Island, sea kayaking, or visiting the Sea-Gypsy village. You can also depart from here to visit some of the other best islands in Thailand like Koh Phi Phi. One of the things that makes Phuket so popular is the endless list of activities available.
2. Chiang Mai
Located in the mountains of Thailand, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to visit in Thailand. The city is known to have a laid back, friendly vibe, where things go slow and that is the way people like it. There are temples and religious sites to see in and around the city. Wat Doi Suthep, located on a hill north of Chiang Mai, is the city’s most famous temple.
The natural beauty of the surrounding mountains is one of the big draws of Chiang Mai. Hiking, trekking, and enjoying nature are a large part of life there. The city has three national parks within close proximity.
Visiting a local hill tribe while in Chiang Mai has become a well-known part of the cultural tourism in this area.
If you are fortunate enough to visit Chiang Mai for the Yi Peng festival, it is one of the most amazing celebrations in the country. Provided you don’t mind the crowds.
A mixture of new and old, Bangkok is a thriving, exciting cosmopolitan city. You can spend your days visiting the historic palaces and temples, while at night have drinks at a swanky rooftop bar at a luxury hotel. The Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha, and Golden Mount are just a few of the must see places to visit in Bangkok.
Bangkok has some of the best dining and drinking options of South East Asia. You’ll find restaurants representing cuisines from all over the world. From small hole in the wall Thai restaurants to 5 star steak houses, Bangkok has something for everyone.
If you like to party till the wee hours of the morning, Bangkok has you covered. From backpacker central on Khao San to music pumping discos, you can really cut loose in this city.
Bangkok’s mix of culture, historic sites, food, and nightlife make it the first required stop before checking out the other best places to visit in Thailand.