Longing to travel to Thailand? A tropical country of Southeast Asia that is rich with a splendid arrangement of scenic natural landscapes as well as features that can satisfy anybody. This country has a worldwide reputation as one of the most popular travel destinations and backpacker’s paradise. It is blessed with stunning white beaches, dense jungles, great food, cheap beachfront bungalows, and some of the best luxury hotels in the world. Thailand has something for every interest and every budget. If you visit this Southeast Asian country at once, you will love to visit again and again. Here’s a list of the top 15 things to do in Thailand for some inspiration when planning your vacation.
Bangkok is a city that never gets old no matter how many times you become old. You will always discover something new and interesting to see, do, and eat here. Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and by far the largest city in the country. It is a glittering universe of tall buildings, ancient temples, and glittering nightclubs.
Bangkok began almost two centuries ago as a small trading center and a port community along the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Today, the city matches its pace with modern times, but the glory and majesty of its well-known past still prevail. Be it spectacular palaces, stunning temples, world-famous floating markets, or colorful Chinatowns, all these famous places bring an interesting story to tell. It has a perfect blend of food, culture, nightlife, shopping, and affordable prices that is comparable anywhere else in Southeast Asia.
2. Koh Phi Phi
Phi Phi is a beautiful archipelago located in the province of Krabi, not far from Phuket. The Phi Phi Islands are one of the most scenic tourist destinations in Southeast Asia with only a 45-minute speedboat trip or a 90-minute ferry ride from either Phuket or Krabi. These picture-postcard islands offer the ultimate tropical voyage. Featuring unique turquoise waters combined with classic tropical beaches, stunning rock formations, and colorful marine life, it is a perfect paradise.
In fact, Phi Phi is a group of six islands. Among those, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the two main islands. The larger and more populous Phi Phi Don attracts hundreds of visitors to stay on the fascinating coast. The small uninhabited Phi Phi Leh serves gorgeous beautiful bays and beaches, including the world-famous Maya Bay. Travelers enjoy the beach here and take part in various water recreational activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. As a result of the rush of tourists, Ko Phi Phi is becoming more or less attractive but for now, it is a very nice place to visit.
3. The Grand Palace, Bangkok
The Grand Palace is a complex building in the center of Bangkok, Thailand. This is a must-see landmark that will complete any person’s city trip. Built in 1782, the Grand Palace was home to the Thai King and the Royal Court. It also served as the seat of government in Thailand. Due to its impressive architecture and wide details, it now attracts countless tourists from all parts of the world.
The palace is a testament to Thai crafts and artifacts. The Grand Palace also serves as the center of the Thai state. While it is not the most iconic site in all of Bangkok the Grand Palace is certainly a place of beauty and symbol. Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the wall-in complex has an interesting series of pavilions, halls, watts, and other buildings adjoining the expansive lawn, picturesque gardens, and lovely courtyards. If you want to travel to Bangkok, it is worth stopping here. In other words, you should visit this place if you are in Bangkok!
4. The Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew)
Photo Credit: Tom Jutte
The Emerald Buddha Temple or Wat Phra Kaew is another significant tourist spot in Thailand. It is located in a separate complex in the courtyard of the Grand Palace. This temple is considered to be the holiest temple in Thailand. The temple is officially called Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram. It is one of the main places where people come to pray and see Thai culture and customs. The Emerald Buddha was built in India in 43 BC. It is made of green jasper instead of emerald and dressed in gold robes. The Emerald Buddha Temple is spiritually and culturally very important. Because the temple is connected with the spiritual leaders of King Thailand!
5. Wat Rong Khun – White Temple
As we all know, Thailand is one of the major centers of Buddhist culture in the Southeast Asian region. Whether you believe it or not, some of the best, largest, and most famous temples on the continent are in Thailand. One of the best temples among them is the Wat Rong Khun. This is probably better known to foreigners as the White Temple. It is a privately owned art exhibition designed like a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
It is made artistically in many ways from other Thai temples that you will see. The main building of the temple is made of simple concrete with a wooden roof. However, all exterior is covered in white plaster with glass inserts. The glass was used as a symbol of the Buddha’s wisdom, and the white color represented the holiness of the gods. Another interesting thing about the temple is the golden toilets! Moreover, there is an art exhibition (free entry) just opposite the temple. It displays works from the chief architect of the temple.
Railay is a small peninsula that is accessible by boat only because of access to the mainland at the top of the high limestone cliffs. Also known as Rai Leh, located in the province of Krabi on the coast of the Andaman Sea.
This is a popular rock-climbing destination. These cliffs allure rock climbers from all over the world but the place also become a popular tourist spot in Thailand because of its stunning beaches and secluded environment. In just a small peninsula you will find gorgeous white sand beaches, limestone peaks, viewpoints, caves, and a decorated portion of a pond that has been maintained with shapes and varied tides. Everything in a short distance!
This very scenic tropical paradise without any roads and no hassles offers lazy days, adventures, and winter evenings. Accommodation in Railay ranges from affordable bungalows popular with backpackers and riders to the luxurious jet-set resort.
7. Historic City of Ayutthaya
Image from Pixabay
Ayutthaya is an old city in Thailand that rose from the ashes like a phoenix. Founded in 1350, the city of Ayutthaya is situated on an island surrounded by three rivers that connect it to the Gulf of Thailand. Ayutthaya is a must-visit destination for travelers. As an old city, it is home to culture, spirituality, temples, museums, and primitive architecture. In the ancient period, this city was the capital of Siam. Once it was declared as the most magnificent city in the world. This was an impressive city, with three palaces, more than 400 temples, and a population of about 100,000.
In 1767 the Burmese attacked and defeated Ayutthaya and the capital was transferred to Bangkok. Fortunately, the reforms, which began in the late 1960s, restored the once-vibrant city to much of its former glory. This allows visitors to experience the eclectic layout of the architectural style found in its rock, road, and canal grid patterns. The relics are now a remarkable attraction for visitors to Thailand. Located just 50 miles north of Bangkok, it is easily reached by train or boat. Ayutthaya, the old Thai capital is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. It is one of the most impressive ruined cities in Asia and a must-see for history travelers visiting Thailand.
8. Wat Arun, Bangkok
Photo Credit: Antoine 49
Wat Arun meaning the Temple of the Dawn, locally known as Wat Chang. This is a landmark temple on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is one of the most attractive temples in Bangkok. It is different from the other temples in Bangkok, not only because of its location on the banks of the river but also because of the very different design. More than that, Wat Arun is partly made with colorfully decorated steeples and stands majestically over the water.
The temple was built during the Rattanakosin period. The beauty of this temple amazes anyone who sets foot inside it. The fine craftsmanship of Watt Arun has made the temple one of the most popular symbols of the city. Wat Arun has a spire that measures 70 meters in height and is decorated with ornaments like Chinese porcelain and stained glass pieces. Although it is known as the Temple of the Dawn, the brilliance of the temple extends, especially at night. It’s a sight to behold … especially when the sun sets or rises!
9. Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai is one of the third largest and most visited national parks in Thailand which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the oldest rainforest in Thailand, just 4 hours from Bangkok. Khao Yai National Park in northeastern Thailand is one of only a handful barely any outstanding spots in Southeast Asia where you can even now observe wild elephants. This is probably the best wildlife spot in Thailand.
During your stay, you will see wild elephants, tigers, bears, porcupines, gibbons, snakes, and parrots. One great option is a sunset trip to the wonderful bat caves where thousands of bats rise in the evening. The national park has several waterfalls and miles of hiking and bike trails. Enjoy a night safari in the park to see the Asian Tigers that you will miss during the day trip.
10. Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
Photo Credit: Mark Fischer
You must have to visit the popular Chatuchak weekend market while in Bangkok. Once popular among wholesalers, this weekend market has achieved landmark status. This market has in excess of 8,000 market stalls at the end of the week and in excess of 200,000 visitors come here to look for the merchandise on offer.
There are about 10,000 unique stalls in clothing, trendy fashion, antiques, intricate designs of wood and carvings, masks, furry dogs, fish, wild birds singing, food stalls, entertainers, and restaurants. It’s not a “tourist-only” market, locals flock all weekend and they do shopping, eating, and window-shopping here. These incredible places are one of the popular sites among tourists.
11. Chiang Mai
Image from needpix
Surrounded by the mountains of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a thriving city that is often used by both backpackers and tourists interested in exploring the region’s lovely landscapes, mountain tribes, and outdoor travel. Nevertheless, Chiang Mai itself is a large and culturally important city with a mix of historical and modern Thai architecture and traditions. A walk around the historic center presents the sight of old city walls and dozens of Buddhist temples. However, the most famous of these temples lie outside Chiang Mai on a hillside overlooking the city.
Elephant Nature Park, located about 600 kilometers north of the city, serves as a habitat for furious and rescued elephants. Tourists visiting this elephant sanctuary are able to admire this species. A day visit that gives you the opportunity to bathe and feed the elephants costs 2,500 Baht.
If you want to do more than just bathe and feed the elephants, Maesa Elephant Camp is a great place to visit. They have been shown that featured elephants do painting, soccer games, and other techniques. If you are able to pay the extra fee, you can also ride on elephants.
12. Floating Markets
Thailand’s floating markets are world-famous, with their romantic images of wooden boats filled with fruit, flowers, and vegetables floating along the narrow waterway to delight Western travelers. This is how most Thais have been buying products for hundreds of years. There are many interesting aspects about Thailand such as glorious temples, ritzy malls, respectable rents, and night markets but a unique touch is that one aspect is the wonderful floating market. The rivers and canals that once inhabited their banks were used as one of the means of transportation, but have now become a major tourist attraction due to the floating market.
These shops built on water in the Ayutthaya era are famous. They existed even during the Rattanakosin period, but many went to the ground after the construction of road and rail networks began in the country. Actually, holidays in Thailand are incomplete without the unique experience of visiting and shopping in these markets.
There are plenty of floating markets across the country. You have to go to Dammoen Saduak Floating Market because this market is the most prominent one in the region. You can also visit Amphawa Floating Market and Taling Chan Floating Market to consider. Although some like Dammoen because it gives beautiful photo opportunities, others are less famous but suitable to visit.
13. Kanchanaburi Bridge
Located in western Thailand, Kanchanaburi is best known for the bridge over the Kwai River, which is connected to Burma by the Historic Death Railway and where thousands of Asian workers and POWS died during World War II. The infamous Thailand-Burma Death Railway’s two-hour train journey from Kanchanaburi over the bridge over the Kwai River to Nam Tok is one of the most beautiful and popular train journeys in Thailand. It is history that makes the journey so special.
Several museums and war cemeteries contained all the information about the city and its bridges during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s. Today, only part of the main railroad is running. Outside of Kanchanaburi, there are several national parks, including the National Park of Erawan, which offers beautiful scenery, waterfalls, and caves.
14. Waterfalls at Erawan National Park
Erawan Falls is known as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. The Erawan National Park is most famous for its bridge over the Kwai River, surrounded by mountains and dense jungle, and the famous Erawan Falls which is a must-see when you visit Thailand. Located in Kanchanaburi Province, this most famous park features the stunning Erawan Falls, a cascade of giant waters above seven levels below 1500 meters.
The waterfalls adorn the stunning pools against a very fairytale, chalk background. Visitors can swim in the pools as well as walk over the fountain skirt. The rest of the park has a collection of caves, including a good walk and Phrathat Cave. The park is popular with locals on weekends and is probably the best time to visit it, it gives you a really interesting insight into local life.
15. Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai is a city in northern Thailand. It serves as the main commercial center of the Golden Triangle, which borders Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. It’s a busy city to give everyone something. This wonderful tourist spot is often used as a base for exploring the surrounding area. The city is quiet during the day when most of its packaged tourists come out for day trips, but at night the neon lights are on and the souvenir stalls and restaurants are effective.
Chiang Rai is blessed with incredible jungle scenery, dramatic mountains, and amazing natural scenery. It has an impressive collection of temples, art, language, cuisine, and music. Demonstrating the excitement of an outdoor place, tourists can enjoy beautiful hotels in Chiang Rai. Along with colorful culture and history, Chiang Rai displays a kaleidoscope of places of interest, sound, heritage, and tradition. This is truly a unique place. You can do mountaineering trips from Chiang Mai and Pai, and many people also find it a great place to see nature due to the lack of tourists in the vicinity of Chiang Rai.
In conclusion, there are many more popular destinations like Koh Chang, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samet, etc. All these places feature all the tour packages in Thailand. These destinations are blessed with tropical attractions and beauty that never fails to impress the hearts of the guests. Telling the truth, the heavenly environment, and the magnetic attractions of Thailand will keep you busy through the journey and provide you with a bag full of memories to cherish this tour for a lifetime.
Are you looking for more practical information about Thailand? Make sure to check these posts as well: