There is a reason that Thailand makes it to everyone’s bucket lists. Distinct ecosystems, white sand beaches, clear skies, clearer waters, party culture, and more make Thailand one of the most popular destinations in the world. While on some beaches you witness spectacular sunrises, at others you lay there till dusk. Beyond the beaches lie treks through forests, ocean dives, and a plethora of authentic Thai flavours. Culture, history, nightlife—there is a tall order of things to do and places to visit in Thailand. 

Also Read: A complete guide to the best time to visit Thailand

Discover The Best Places To Visit In Thailand

1. Culture, Shopping, And Nightlife: Chiang Mai

Wat Phan Tao temple during the Loi Krathong Festival.
Wat Phan Tao temple during the Loi Krathong Festival.

City of historic centres, lush forests and gushing rivers, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to visit in Thailand. It is the city where history meets modernity. One of the most spiritual cities in Thailand, Chaing Mai has around 500 temples of different religions, with prominent ones being one of the oldest temples in Thailand, Wat Phra Singh. The city also has quirky places like Bo Sang Umbrella Village known for its handicrafts. The nightlife in Chiang Mai is buzzing with night bazaars and nightclubs. The city will be a favourite for nature enthusiasts with hiking at Doi Inthanon National Park, Elephant Conservation Park, Tiger Kingdom and the breathtaking white sand beaches of Turtle Island. On treks at the Doi Inthanon range, you can interact with the hill tribes and get acquainted with their culture. The city keeps its historical culture intact with the Lanna Folklife Museum, Chiang Dao Caves and the Wiang Kum Kum, a region that dates back to the 18th century. 

Read More: 6 reasons to visit Chiang Mai

2. Everything Under The Sun: Phuket

Nai Harn beach, Phuket, places to visit in Thailand
Nai Harn beach, Phuket, Thailand.

Beaches, nightlife and shopping are the main things that make Phuket the most visited tourist places in Thailand. Water sports, parties on the beach, and boat tours pull the crowds towards the largest island in Thailand. Some of the most famous beaches in Phuket are Freedom Beach, Kata Beach Bang Tao Beach and Banana Beach. Phang Nga Bay is very popular for boat tours for magnificent views that lie beyond the limestone rocks. You can also indulge in adventure activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, and kayaking here. As tempting as the beaches are, Old Phuket Town holds the treasures of Sino-Portuguese mansions, Chinese and colonial architecture. If you want to party, Bangla Road in Patong is the place to be. The nightclubs and bars adjacent to the beach are famous for hosting live bands and international DJs. The city also caters to the cultural travellers with the Big Buddha, a 45-metre-long statue at the Nakkerd Hills, Phuket Thai Hua Museum, and more. Splurge on food and shopping at weekend night markets like Chillva Market, Phuket Walking Street and Phuket Weekend Market. You can also go on a jungle safari at Khao Kaj Park, visit Phuket Dolphin Show and more. 

Also Read: 8 of the most stunning beaches to visit in Phuket

3. Thriving Capital City: Bangkok

Day and night markets in Bangkok
Bangkok markets

The capital city also falls in the best places to visit in Thailand list with its relaxing spas and the stunning Grand Palace. The city is bustling with tourist destinations like the Chao Phraya River, Madame Tussauds, Wat Mahathat and more. As much as the city is famous for its nightlife in areas like Khao San Road and Sukhumvit, and red-light districts, Bangkok also has an abundance of culture. Starting from temples like Wat Arun, Wat Intharawihan, Wat Pho to cultural centres like Rose Garden and Ancient City, the largest open-air museum in the world, Bangkok is a cultural paradise. Also a shopaholics’ delight, Bangkok has the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Asiatique, and floating markets. Bangkok is also a foodie’s paradise with its flair for culinary delights that range from cost-effective street food to luxurious fine dining options. 

Also read: 7 of the best places to visit in Bangkok

4. Conquer The Rocks: Railay

Railay beach, Krabi - places to visit in Thailand
Railay beach, Krabi, Thailand

Famed for its high and large limestone cliff, Railay is accessible only by boat. The cliffs make for good rock climbing spots and attract adventure enthusiasts from around the world. Among the best places to visit in Thailand, Railay offers different beaches with both affordable and luxurious resorts. Sunset is best enjoyed at beaches in Railay West while Railay East has great nightlife. Apart from rock climbing, Railay has some of the best spots for snorkelling in Krabi province. Railay is also famous for Diamond Cave that has beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. 

Also Read: Lesser visited spots to check out in Krabi

5. Historical Gold Mine: Ayutthaya

Old Temple Wat Chaiwatthanaram of Ayutthaya Province
Old Temple Wat Chaiwatthanaram of Ayutthaya Province, Thailand

Bang Pa-In Palace, Wat Lokaya Sutha, and Wat Phra Si Sanphet are some of the historic and famous sites in Ayutthaya. History buffs fall in love with the old city founded in 1335. The ancient city is home to ruins from the Siam period, temples, museums, and spectacular architecture. Declared as a UNESCO Heritage site, Ayutthaya Historical Park is spread around 715 acres and has around 400 temples. There is also a beautiful palace called the Bang Pa In Palace which was home to Thai royals. Floating markets around the city also offer local delicacies, Thai street food and Chinese nibbles. A unique shopping place is the Chao Phrom Market that sells exclusive Thai amulets and accessories. Contradicting this old city is its foreign quarters that is known for its French, Portuguese, British and Dutch architecture. 

6. Tales Of Pirates: Phi Phi Islands

Lake Islands, best places to visit in Thailand
Maya Bay beach, on the Phi Phi islands in Thailand.

The Phi Phi islands definitely make it to the list of best places to visit in Thailand. It’s known for its soft sand, coral reefs, crystal waters, diverse vegetation and wildlife. The islands are also famous for long-tailed boat tours that visit Bamboo Island, Maya Bay, Tonsai Village and Mosquito Island. The clear waters accommodate great diving and snorkelling experiences. The islands are also rich in their biodiversity with Phi Phi Le National Park. Viking Caves is one of the interesting tourist places in Thailand. These caves are covered in drawings, and as per legend, were drawn by pirates. 

7. Memories And Traces Of Wars: Kanchanaburi 

Sai Yok Yai waterfall flows directly into Khwae Noi River, Sai Yok National Park, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Sai Yok Yai waterfall, Sai Yok National Park, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

The perfect location for outdoor activities, Kanchanaburi offers trekking, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and whitewater rafting opportunities. The place is rich with natural scenery and historic locations. With national parks, Neolithic caves and war museums, Kanchanaburi is also famous for its Death Railway, a stretch of 414 kms, alongside the Burmese border. The construction of these railways was started in 1942 by the Allied Powers during the Second World War. Hellfire Pass Memorial is also one of the interesting places to visit in Thailand. In the 12 weeks of its construction, the 500-metre-long path carved between boulders claimed 700 lives of British and Australian soldiers. 

8. Beautiful Views Under The Water And On Land: Similan Islands

Similan islands, places to visit in Thailand
Similan islands, Thailand

Most famous for scuba diving and snorkelling, these islands have beautiful coral reefs and aquatic life. Similan Islands Marine National Park or the Mu Ko Similan National Park is also a popular destination for underwater activities. The park is a good location for bird-watching and you can spot Nicobar pigeons and roseate terns. The islands are closed for tourism in monsoon. The island was closed for some time due to the ecological damage caused because of tourism, but has now opened again. 

Standing Out Away From The Crowd

There are many places to visit in Thailand, because of the diversity of the kind of travel and tourism opportunities it allows. Special attractions like floating markets, authentic Thai flavours and distinctive towns like Kanchanaburi offer a different travel experience. Keep in mind to have a good time but treat the tourist places in Thailand with respect. Dive spots like the Similan islands’ fragile biodiversity is already affected due to heavy tourism. Take preventive measures like engaging with companies and resorts that abide by the government’s guidelines, and do not litter the beaches with plastic. 

Also Read: 9 of the best beaches to visit in Pattaya

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