Top 5 Best Places To Visit in Thailand
Known for its fabulous food, ancient temples, beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and much more, one could spend years exploring all that is Thailand. If you are thinking about making Thailand your next travel destination but don’t know what places to visit, you have come to the right spot.
Below is a list of the five best places to visit in Thailand that will help you pick the ideal location in the land of smiles.
List of Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Thailand
1.Bangkok, Central Thailand
Bangkok is home to some of the most stunning architectures in Thailand like the extravagant temples at the Grand Palace and the gigantic Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.
It is also a place where your journey in Thailand will likely start which makes it a great place for you to start getting the hang of Thailand's unique culture.
Spending your first day in Thailand, exploring the old city area, visiting the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, while enjoying a nice selection of cheap and delicious street food at Bangkok's Chinatown and sipping a drink at one of the many rooftop bars is a great way get a glimpse of what traveling in Thailand is all about.
With so many things to do and see in Bangkok, you can expect to spend 2 - 5 days exploring this wonderful city, trying all the food, and learning to negotiate, which is a skill you will likely need throughout your journey in Thailand.
And since Bangkok is the heart of Thailand and by experiencing the city on your first day in Thailand, you are essentially looking through the life of over 10 million Thais, and there is no better way to learn about a place than to do that.
Tips to travel in Bangkok
1.Get a good map
Bangkok can be confusing. The shifting street names, the winding river, the expressways to who-knows-where, the lack of clearly distinguishable neighbourhoods. Sometimes it all seems like urban planning is severely lacking here.
The solution? Arm yourself with a decent map with street names in English and Thai. If Bangkok is a mean-spirited labyrinth, consider this your faithful compass. Google Maps can be a big help, but you’d often need to further manually translate addresses that still appear in Thai script.
Bangkok is notorious for its smoke-belching tuk-tuks, hair-raising motorbikes, and thrilling canal boats. But when it comes to getting around the city, the Skytrain and MRT are easily your most agreeable options.
The Skytrain soars above traffic, while the underground MRT whizzes, mole-like, beneath it. Both offer cool air-conditioning and are, in our opinion, the best inventions since the wheel, especially during hot Bangkok days. Get yourself a day or week pass and hop aboard.
2.Bangkok taxi tips
When taking a taxi in Bangkok, follow these tips and your journey needn’t be temper-fraying: avoid rush hour, insist your driver switch his meter on. If he refuses, get out and find another – they’re usually plentiful.
Finally, make sure you leave nothing behind. There’s nothing worse than watching your gaily-coloured taxi whiz off into Bangkok’s haze, carrying with it your valuables.Read more
3.Carry a photocopy of your passport
Whether it's an impromptu demand from a local policeman or a request from security at one of the city’s swanky nightspots, carrying ID is a must in Thailand. The fact that you’re 25 but look like you’re pushing 40 doesn’t really matter – proving who you are is a day-to-day formality, something the Thais are finicky about.
Instead of carrying your passport around with you, and with it the constant fear of losing it, it's a good idea to bring a photocopy of it instead.
4.Carry a hotel card with Thai directions
Carrying a hotel card whenever you're out and about in Bangkok is a simple task. But this ingenious device, little more than a piece of paper with your hotel’s address written on it in Thai, will save endless how-do-we-get-home headaches.
Show it to your chosen driver and watch how his shrugs of utter incomprehension instantly change to reassuring nods. Brilliant.
|Maeklong Railway Market
About 90 minutes outside of Bangkok, Maeklong Railway Market is one of the best places to visit in Thailand for both the crazy umbrella happenings and its unique insight into local market life. When the market is in full swing, stalls filled with flowers, fish, vegetables, meats and spices line the narrow market as locals weave their way through picking up supplies.
A railway track lines the narrow path between the stalls and six times daily the Banlaem/Maeklong train passes through the market. As the train approaches a warning siren sounds to indicate its imminent arrival and this is followed by an instant rush by the stallholders to raise their awnings and make some room for the passing train!
The market instantly transforms to an open-air market and comes to a standstill. The train passes through almost in slow motion, its undercarriage nearly touching the goods which still remain on the edges of the track and its horn constantly honking at the overly eager tourists who persist in standing in its path.
As soon as it passes, the umbrellas are pulled down and it is back to business as usual until the next departure! It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you should definitely have on your Thailand itinerary.
2.Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
As conked out backpackers gently slumber in their beds, the sun gently begins to rise from the mountains and the monks mindfully make their way through the streets of Chiang Mai. There’s something magical in the waters here. We’re talking much more than the moat surrounding the crumbling old city walls. With around 300 temples in this one city dating back as far as 1296, one cannot help but feel a higher energy pulsating through this bustling ancient northern Thai beauty.
|Photo World Travel Guide
Everyone’s purpose for visiting Chiang Mai is different…and generously granted. Adventurers come here for riveting motorbike rides that they can take from here, twisting and turning through the lush green mountains along the Mae Hong Son Loop. Others come here to eat until their heart’s content. Chiang Mai is renowned for amazing vegetarian and vegan restaurants. If one wishes to dine in a different restaurant every day for the length of their stay; Chiang Mai lets you do just that. Hikers make their way up to the highest point of the city on Doi Suthep – A magical temple within itself, but also the perfect spot for a bird’s eye view.
If you’re looking for a powerful experience while in Chiang Mai, then you shouldn’t leave without getting a Sak Yant Tattoo. For this you’ll want to skip the typical tattoo shop and make sure yours is done by a monk or an ajarn so you get the full meaning and blessing. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll never forget.
3.Hua Hin, Northern Thailand
Located about two hours south of Bangkok but still on the coastline is the perfect place in Thailand, Hua Hin. Hua Hin is one of the oldest beach cities in all of Thailand. Not only is this family-friendly town beautiful, but it’s also quite secluded. It’s the perfect place to go snorkeling and fishing without the crowds.
Hua Hin also has many different kind of beaches. Quiet white sand beaches, beaches lined with restaurants, and even a pine tree-lined beach, so no matter your preference there is a beach for you. Aside from the beaches, you can also find several temples in Hua Hin as well as Kaeng Krachan, the largest national park in Thailand.
But don’t leave this beautiful city without enjoying the nightlife and food. Like any other city in Thailand, Hua Hin has an awesome night market and nightlife street. The city is also home to a trendy Oceanside Beach Club that takes you on a culinary journey and serves amazing cocktails.
|Photo Road Affair
Last but not least is Monsoon Valley Vineyard. These vineyards are just outside of the city and are set in a scenic mountain valley. You can go bike riding, and enjoy delicious Thai wine and the beautiful picturesque Salsa Wine Bar & Bistro while there.
|Most people who come to this sleepy town come here for the beach. While other beach towns in Thailand are all about the nightlife, Hua Hin is a much quieter destination where you can truly lie down on the beach for hours of peaceful sun-worshipping.
Hua Hin's beach stretches for four kilometers—and while it might not be the largest or the whitest in Thailand, it makes up for it by being great for swimming, offering lots of family-friendly things to do (kitesurfing and banana boat rides included), and always having deckchairs and umbrellas available for rent. Beach vendors selling refreshments and local souvenirs and crafts are often around (without being pushy) in case you need to stock up on goods without walking too far.
|For Art's Sake
Thailand's first 4D Art Museum is a must-see for all ages. A quirky collection of fun murals painted by Thai artists, art installations, and sculptures, these are truly living images. Place yourself in the right spot, take a photo, and voila—you're automatically part of a 3D image where piano stairs come to life, you can jump into the mouth of a shark, and monsters almost get you in the Horror Zone. The 4D element is provided through music and sound effects that make each museum zone even more unique.
Address: 22/141 Phetkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
4.Krabi, Southern Thailand
Krabi is home to many stunning beaches and adventure activities where you can experience the calmness of sandy beaches and the adrenaline-pumping activities around stunning limestone cliffs and dense mangroves all in one trip.
|Photo World Travel Guide
Ao Nang Beach and Railey Beach are some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and the places offer plenty of things to do from relaxing by the beach, swimming in the ocean to more adventurous activities like kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing.
Kayaking is a great way to explore Krabi beaches and limestone mountains.
If your perception of Thailand is to relax by the beach, drinking coconut water straight from the coconut, and enjoying a laid-back beach lifestyle at your own leisure, this is the place to be.
What is the best time to visit Krabi?
There are two main seasons – the dry and the rainy season in Krabi.
Bearing this in mind, the best time to visit Krabi is from November to March, which is the high season across Thailand and much of Southeast Asia.
During these months you can enjoy nearly perfect conditions of calm, crystal-clear seas and cloudless blue skies.
The sun is strong and temperatures high, but the humidity is less during this time too.
Honestly, I wouldn’t book a trip to Krabi at any other time, especially not in the monsoon months of May to November!
To learn more about the climate in Thailand and other top tips for visiting this country, see this advice guide to travel in Thailand I wrote.
How to Get to Krabi
There are several ways to reach Krabi, both by land and by air from other destinations within Thailand.
Check out Bookaway, a great travel site that allows you to compare all the different methods of getting to Krabi from around Thailand and beyond…
First up, Krabi airport is very well connected with flights arriving here from across the country, but primarily from Bangkok. As always, I use Skyscanner to find the best flight prices around.
From the airport it is then a drive of about 14km to the centre of Krabi Town. Use Grab to find the cheapest taxi ride you can.
Situated on Highway 4, Krabi also is also well connected by road from Bangkok with regular buses running from the southern bus terminal in the capital.
It takes about 12hrs to reach Krabi by road from Bangkok and the main bus station here is then set 5km north of Krabi Town. You can easily get a minivan into the centre from the station.
When it comes to buying your buses to Krabi, the best idea is to check schedules, prices and book tickets online a few days in advance via the website 12Go.
5.Koh Samui, island off the east coast of Thailand
|Photo Ever Asia
The most famous of all the islands in Thailand is Koh Samui, a beautiful island that is famed for its stunning palm tree edged beaches and crystal clear waters. Due to its broad appeal the island is visited by all types of travelers from the budget backpacker to the mega wealthy Hollywood celebrities.
There really is something for everyone on this paradise island in Thailand and you will be hard pushed to fit everything in if you are only visiting for a couple of days.
The best known and most famous of all the landmarks on this island is the Big Buddha temple. Sitting just off the corner of Koh Samui on a little tiny island is a 12 meter tall statue of Buddha in a seated position. The local name for the temple is Wat Phra Yai and it is connected to the main island by a causeway. Made of gold and sitting in the Mara position it shows a time when Buddha was rejecting all temptations that were forced upon him. When you fly into Koh Samui the statue is usually the first thing that you will spot due to its prominent location. There are a few food and amulet stalls at the temple which are also worth looking at either when you arrive or depart.
Top Activities You Should Try in Koh Samui
1.Set in Jungle surroundings are two beautiful waterfalls that are certainly worth a visit, the waterfalls are known as Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2, the first waterfall flows into a small pool that you can swim in, the second waterfall is about thirty minutes further uphill and is also just as stunning. The park featuring the waterfall is completely free of charge and there are lots of beautiful spots along the way as well as small food stalls and souvenir huts to make purchases from. With many tourists choosing to go to the various beaches this makes for a nice change and an idyllic spot for a swim
2.Meet The Ladyboys at Chaweng Beach
When you are in the area near Chaweng Beach there are many different ladyboys shows on offer, they are all close to each other and vying for your hard earned money so competition is fierce and you will often find they are trying to drag you into their show. The shows usually consist of popular songs being lip synced whilst the performers wear beautiful costumers and make up, the ladyboys are all at various stages of their journey but in most cases it is very hard to tell that they are men. The shows are light hearted so sit back and enjoy.
3.Oktoberfest Thai Style
Maybe not what you would expect to find on an island but Koh Samui’s latest cultural import began in 2004 and stuck pretty strictly to Teutonic traditional features, i.e. lots of bratwursts, lederhosen, oompa loompa music and liter after liter of beer. Organized by the local Rotary Club, it is a fantastic event to attend all the profits from Oktoberfest are donated and used for buying much needed equipment for local schools and other good causes.
4.The Backpackers Life At Maenam Beach
Koh Samui is an expensive island compared to many other places in Thailand, if you are looking for a cheaper location on the island to stay and also hang out on the beach, this would be the ideal choice. The beach itself is about 7km long and there are not as many beach vendors as you will find on the most popular beaches. The beach has palm trees at the top and in many places is still undeveloped giving it that natural untouched feel. The night life is a lot quieter and cheaper in these parts with many bars shutting fairly early but the prices are low and the locals friendly.
5.See Something Different At Fisherman’s Village
Away from the busyness of Lamai and Chaweng is a gorgeous little fishing village called Bophut. The village is growing in popularity but it is still quiet enough that you can enjoy the tranquil beach or a coffee in one of the nearby restaurants. When you are in the village you will see there are various original wooden homes, these were built in the 19th century by a group of Chinese immigrants that set up home here. The village is worth exploring and even has its own walking street full of eating places, food stalls and cafés.
6.Fly Through The Sky
Fly through the lush jungle on a zipline at fifty miles an hour and you are sure to take in a lot of the Koh Samui Scenery with the Sky Fox cable ride.
Another highlight of the tour is a swim at Samui’s largest waterfall.
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