Places to Visit in Thailand: A Travel Handbook

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Thailand is a top travel destination for many tourists because it has it all - the frenetic appeal of Bangkok, the vast tropical forests, some of the most famous street food anywhere in the world, and endless palm trees covering beaches. Whatever your reason for travelling here - an adventurous vacation or a trip for relaxation - you can find plenty of sites in Thailand.

Thailand has affordable flights and well-connected trains that can take you from one destination to the next easily. Check out the following list of the top Thailand tourist attractions if you are looking for the best places to visit in Thailand for your upcoming tropical holiday.

Top Places to Visit in Thailand

Let’s start with a quick look at some of the best places to visit in Thailand -

Best Places to Visit in Summer

Best Places to Visit in Winter

Best Places to Visit with Family

Chiang Mai

Pai

Phuket

Kanchanaburi Province

Chiang Rai

Kanchanaburi Province

Bangkok

Phuket

Pai

Koh Samui

Ayutthaya

Ayuthaya

1. Chiang Mai

The former power centre of the Lana empire, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to visit in Thailand in June. The city has developed into a blend of contemporary and Lanna culture and has become a popular tourist destination for both locals and foreigners alike. The province is worth exploring for its majestic temples, hustling streets lined with handmade products, scenic beauty, and delicacies worth savouring. 

Some of the most popular destinations in the city are -

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep - This temple is the heart and soul of the city - it’s often said you have not visited Chiang Mai until you visit Phra That Doi Suthep. The temple is famous for its seven-headed serpent statues that are situated on the lines of stairs that take you to the main chambers of the temple where the enchanting golden pagoda is situated. 
  • Doi Ang Khang - You can visit this hill at any time between November and January. Explore this natural beauty for places like Bonsai Garden, Kiew Lom Viewpoint, Mu Ban Khum, Mu Ban No Lae, and more.
  • Lanna Folklife Museum - Lanna Folklife Museum provides a staging of the Lanna village life through a series of life-size dioramas. These dioramas offer insights into the minutest details ranging from lai krahm pottery tracing and a magical Lanna dance called fon lep that features long metal fingernails to the detailed significance of different components of Lanna-inspired Monasteries.
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park - Doi Southep (height -  1,676 m) and Doi Pui (height - 1,685 m) are among the two most renowned religious peaks in northern Thailand. Nestled between the slopes of these two mountains is Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, which houses more than 300 species of aves and over 2,000 species of ferns. You can visit the park for camping, mountain biking, hiking, and more.

2. Kanchanaburi

Endowed with natural rainforests, gigantic limestone caves, and humongous waterfalls, Kanchanaburi is essentially a resort town situated at the conjunction of Rivers (Khwae) Kwai and Yai in western Thailand. Often called a miniature of Thailand, this town is home to some of the most stylish resorts, trekking trails, pagodas, enchanting reservoirs, historical destinations, and more. 

Here are some destinations and natural attractions to explore when considering the best places to visit in Thailand -

  • Bridge on the River Kwai - One of the best places to visit in Thailand, this bridge is of historical significance as it was built by the prisoners of war during World War II. The components were made in Java and the bridge was assembled in Kanchanaburi. In the 20th century, this bridge linked Myanmar (then Burma) and Thailand.
  • Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls - Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls is just the place for you if you are looking to escape bustling city life. Located in the centre of Khuean Srinagarindra National Park, this is a 7-tier waterfall that is fed by the mountain river streams - the water descends 1.8 km and merges into Rivers Kwai and Yai. Visit the place if you want to unwind and relax in the realms of nature. 
  • Erawan National Park and Waterfall - Named after the three-handed mystic elephant Erawan, this national park is home to one of the highest waterfalls in Thailand that resembles the elephant. The waterfall has 7 layers and appears to be enchanting as it descends into a serene pool where you can swim and enjoy some quiet time. 
  • Elephantsworld, Kanchanaburi - This is an NPO (non-profit organisation) that offers refuge to sick, old, and maltreated elephants. Unlike most entertainment centres where you end up riding the elephants, at Elephant World, you empathise with the largest land mammal as you feed them, prepare their lunch, and even bathe them. 

3. Bangkok

Bangkok has everything that you would want a capital city to have. One of the best places to visit in Thailand, Bangkok has centuries-old temples, historic sites, and high-end malls at the same time.

Among the best places to visit in Thailand for couples, several places in Bangkok are worth exploring -

  • Grand Palace - This should be the top historical tourist destination you visit while in Bangkok. The royal complex lives up to the hype, with magnificent buildings that would stun even the most affluent contemporary monarchs. The stately palace, which was constructed in 1782 and continues to be utilised for significant occasions and hosting heads of state, served as the imperial palace for several generations.
  • Wat Pho - If your feet are ready for additional walking, adding a visit to Wat Pho, which is situated just south of the Grand Palace area, to your palace tour is a great idea. It has a long history of being revered as a site of healing and was formerly renowned for its medication as well as its status as the first university in Thailand - both established by King Rama III. At the nearby conventional medical school, you can receive a Thai massage or a foot massage.
  • Chatuchak Market - This enormous semi-outdoor market, also the largest weekend market on the planet, is one of the best places to check out in Bangkok. From accessories and religious idols to pet products, delectable street food, and paper lanterns, you can find it all in this market. More than 15,000 vendors in Chatuchak Market sell almost any item you can imagine. Even better, any memento that you would want is apparently available here for considerably less money than it would cost elsewhere in Bangkok.
  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - You can plan a trip to Damnoen Saduak, a well-known floating market in Ratchaburi, for a highly fascinating market experience.  Bangkok used to be known as the "Venice of the East" due to the prevalence of floating markets. Remember that floating marketplaces are now largely tourist-driven businesses, so do not anticipate an elegant morning of boat shopping; you, however, will be able to purchase fresh and delectable delicacies and engage in genuine local interaction.

4. Koh Samui

This is one of the largest islands located in the Gulf of Thailand and is one of the best places to visit in Thailand. You can explore the island for activities like swimming, snorkelling, diving, and more.

Here are some fun places you should visit on Koh Samui island -

  • Koh Samui Beaches - Some of the best beaches in Koh Samui are Chaweng Beach, Chaweng Noi, Laem Set Beach, Maenam Beach, and Lamai Beach. 
  • Koh Phangan - The second-largest island, Koh Phangan, is rockier than Koh Samui, with enormous granite cliffs and mountains towering behind the beaches which are covered in vegetation. The south and west coasts are where the majority of development is concentrated. Unlike the several long, flat lengths of beach on Koh Samui, the coastline on Koh Phangan seems to split into secluded coves that are bordered by granite outcroppings and backed by verdant hills.
  • Ang Thong National Marine Park - When exploring this marine park, take breaks to go snorkelling, kayaking, or climbing to views so you can take in the breathtaking vista of this beautiful island chain. As there are not many lodgings in the park, you will need to schedule your time carefully if you want to spend the night on the main islands. Keep your camera close at hand and choose a location above deck if you don’t want to skip the incredible photography opportunities.
  • Koh Tao - Koh Tao is primarily known for diving. In the crystal-clear seas that are native to a number of Southeast Asia's top diving locations, colourful coral reefs are abundant. The island is a well-liked and reasonably priced location to earn a PADI scuba diving certification. Sea life spotted here includes colossal schools of fish, colourful sea anemones, stingrays, and, perhaps, even whale sharks.

5. Pai

Pai is a small town located in the north of Thailand. You can visit this place for yoga, Thai massages, unwinding in nature, and exploring some vegetarian cuisine. If you enjoy exploring, visiting novel and fascinating locations, and would like to discover what genuine, pristine Thailand is like, you should certainly check out Pai, which is so much more than a hill district. 

Discussed below are some of the best places to visit in Pai -

  • Waterfalls - There are numerous waterfalls around Pai, with Pam Bok and Mo Paeng being the two most well-known. If you visit Pam Bok, you would have to ascend a hill via a strenuous, woodland walk from a small parking area. The waterfall may appear plain at first, but after stepping into the chilly water and navigating some slick rocks, you will arrive at a stunning cascade and a pond where you can take a dip.
  • Stone Forest - Although the Stone Forest is not the most visually appealing site in Pai, the surrounding scenery makes it a pleasant spot to visit. The evenings are lovely here, and you can simply take a seat on one of the stones and gaze at the mountains around you.
  • Santichon Village - There is only one street in the Chinese village, which winds its way around a few tiny buildings and shops. One temple and one Chinese building are present. It is a popular destination for Asian tourists who come to shoot pictures.
  • Yun Lai Viewpoint - After the settlement, a few kilometres away, lies the Yun Lai Viewpoint. From here, you can see the entire region, and newlyweds can take lovely photos with a giant, red heart in an Asian-inspired manner.

6. Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, hidden away in the Northern Thai mountains, is a fascinating place to visit and a fantastic place to spend a vacation. This serene yet thrilling location is a must-visit whether you are travelling with friends, family, or solo, because of the distinctive architecture that reshapes Chiang Rai tourism and the stunning vistas that further enhance the majestic beauty of this town. Chiang Rai is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Thailand with so much to offer.

Here are the best places to visit in Chiang Rai -

  • Wat Rong Khun - Wat Rong Khun is the most impressive and recognisable of all the buildings that Chiang Rai claims as its own, and it is a gem in the city's crown. It is commonly referred to as The White Temple due to its delicately chiselled, white structure that shimmers like the moon. The compound was opened to visitors in 1997 after the temple's construction was finished.
  • Doi Mae Salong - Prepare for a peaceful retreat at Doi Mae Salong to locate one of Chiang Rai's most attractive tourist destinations. This mountain summit is renowned for its tranquil surroundings, which make it possible to complement your visit with a variety of fascinating activities like visiting a tea plantation, indulging in delectable local cuisine, taking photographs, and so on.
  • Wat Huai Pla Kung - Wat Huai Pla Kung, a prominent 9-tiered temple with the biggest Guan Yin Bodhisattva in Thailand, is a must-see tourist destination in Chiang Mai. This structure displays an intriguing architectural style that combines various elements of Chinese and Thai design.
  • The Golden Triangle - The Golden Triangle, one of Thailand's most popular and successful tourist destinations, is located in the Chiang Rai Province on its northern shore. This breathtaking sightseeing spot is surrounded by hills and thick jungles whilst Ruak River meanders joyfully across the environment.

7. Ayutthaya

One of the best places to visit in Thailand is Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most spectacular wrecked cities in Asia and a must-visit for aficionados travelling to Thailand. The historic centre of Ayutthaya may be found at the Ayutthaya Historical Park, despite the fact that a contemporary city has risen up around the ruins.

Here are some places that are worth a visit -

  • Wat Chaiwatthanaram - This is one of the most popular destinations of the Ayutthaya Historical Park. The complex comprises an 8-chedi-style temple or merus, four smaller temples, and a central prang or spire situated atop a rectangular base. The structures shimmer in the waning light towards sunset, which makes it a great place to visit in the evenings.
  • Wat Mahathat - As per the legend, King Ramesuan constructed Wat Mahathat in 1384. The head of a stone Buddha peering out from amid the tree roots at the base is its most recognisable element, making it one of the most well-known spots to explore in Ayutthaya.
  • Chao Sam Phraya National Museum - It consists of a variety of sculptures and pieces from many eras in Thailand's early history like numerous magnificent golden Buddha idols, gold jewellery and utensils, and elaborate teak friezes. The major attractions here include a large bust of the Buddha in the U-Thong form, a seated Buddha, gold objects from the Ayutthaya era, and more.
  • Bang Pa-in Palace - Visit the Bang Pa-in Palace if you want to experience some modern regality. This royal house, also referred to as the Summer Palace, is one of the region's best-preserved estates. In addition to classical Chinese and Thai architecture, the structures also include the 2-storey Victorian mansion known as Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian.

8. Phuket

Phuket, the main island here, is among the best places to visit in Thailand. Its key attractions include clear waters, white sand beaches, warm Thai delicacies, and adrenaline-rush-inducing activities like diving and snorkelling. Travellers visit Phuket from across the world in pursuit of adventure and leisure, making the island one of the most well-liked vacation spots in Thailand.

The following are the best places to visit in Phuket -

  • Karon Beach - Drawing lots of couples and children, it's a lovely place to swim whenever the weather is clear. A few four-star resorts have immediate beach access, although restaurants and hotels are dispersed all along the busy road opposite the beach.
  • Phuket Town - This town offers an intriguing counterpoint to the more conventional Thai forms found elsewhere, as it displays the impact of Chinese immigration and Portuguese aesthetics. Do not miss taking a walk through the streets in the Old Phuket Town and get a glimpse of the well-maintained small shops, Sino-Portuguese-style homes, shrines, and other temples.
  • Phuket Big Buddha - It is a calm place to unwind after a long day - you can hear the chiming of little bells and see prayer flags flapping in the breeze. To reach the monument, you must ascend a narrow flight of stairs from the hilltop, where you can take a cab or tuk-tuk.
  • Karon Viewpoint - This viewpoint offers one of the island's most popular landscapes for photos. The viewpoint is accessible by taking the side road that runs in the direction of Kata Noi Beach southwesterly toward the island's southernmost point.

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