Being renowned as one of the leading countries in the tourism industry in Asia, Thailand has always been a fascinating and remarkable experience for travellers from over the globe. In this article, we’ll guide you through some of the best places to visit in Thailand.
Thailand captures the heart of its visitors right from the moment they look out of the aeroplane window. With many Buddhist temples, splendid golden pagodas and breathtaking islands, it is truly the gem of Southeast Asia.
The rich culture and stunning scenery are what keep people coming back to Thailand over and over again. Keep scrolling, and you will see what this beautiful country has to offer.
The stunning temple complex within the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Photo by Alejandro Cartagena 🇲🇽🏳🌈 on Unsplash
It is undeniable that Bangkok - the capital city of Thailand - is one of the most attractive places to visit in Thailand. The city is not only filled with several universities but also numerous popular tourist destinations that might take you several days to explore. However, no matter where you like to visit, you can’t just miss out on the Grand Palace.
Rama I originally built the Grand Palace as a remark of the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty. More architectural structures were built from a single palace through different generations of empires, contributing to the complex of the Grand Palace Monuments.
However, please do notice that it used to be the official residence of the emperors of Thailand and is still used for ceremonieional events. Thus, there are st and should check out before visiting the Grand Palace not to turn your visit into a terrible memory.
Visitors can reach the complex by many means of transport; however, we found that taking a boat trip from River City Bangkok is best. Not only is it the most affordable transportation, but it also allows you to visit the floating local market, Amulet, and a brief view of the palace.
Bangkok is famous for a lot of things, but in this article, we want to introduce you to a more cultural place - the Bangkok National Museum. The museum is divided into different sections, ranging from the significance of the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Empire to the kingdoms of Lamphun or Lopburi.
The dusk on the national park Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai. Photo by Bharath Mohan on Unsplash
Chiang Mai is another top-notch Thailand tourist attraction after Bangkok. Being one of the most important cities in Thailand, the destination is famous for its breathtaking landscape, numerous temples, and delicious cuisine.
The Doi Inthanon national park is where you can find the highest mountain in Thailand. Coming to “the roof of Thailand”, you will be treated to spectacular views of sunrise and sunset, stunning waterfalls, and remote villages. Standing on the peak of Doi Inthanon Mountain and capturing the alluring sea of clouds is unforgettable.
Chiang Mai is also famous for its elephant sanctuaries, where you can see the beautiful elephants up close and touch and feed them. If ethical treatment is your concern, some shelters are approved by World Animal Protection.
Lest we forget Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (or Doi Suthep in short) - a Buddha temple in the western region of Chiang Mai. Its origin is holy, as it is said to be where a bone of the Buddha’s shoulder resides.
The crystal-clear water at Ko Phi Phi Beach, Phuket. Photo by Mike Swigunski on Unsplash
Phuket is a province in the north of Thailand. This is where you can find Phuket island - the gem near the Andaman Sea, together with multiple smaller islands. Blessed with white sand beaches, splendid landscapes and unique architecture, Phuket is one of Thailand’s tourist places that draw travellers from around the world.
So, where to visit when travelling to Phuket? There are numerous beaches to spend time on, but the most outstanding must be Ko Phi Phi beach.
Renowned as one of the cleanest beaches all over the globe, Ko Phi Phi offers its visitors a crystal-clear sea surrounded by gigantic rock cliffs. Coming to this famed destination, you can just simply sunbathe or swim. If you are into extreme sports, try cliff climbing or scuba diving.
Even though Phuket is known mainly for its beaches, there are other great places waiting for your exploration. A popular attraction is Phuket Old Town. This town will amaze you with ancient coffee shops, temples, and pagodas in Chinese and French architectural styles.
Thailand is undoubtedly a nation of religion, with temples everywhere you go. Phuket, too, has a renowned temple named Wat Chong. The locals believe the temple to be not only a place of worship but also a religious place that can heal illness.
Heaven-like pathway of Koh Samui from afar. Photo by Nehal Patel on Unsplash
Islands and beaches are the best destinations to escape the hustle and bustle of crowded cities. If you want to visit somewhere other than Phuket, consider Koh Samui, the largest island in the Chumphon archipelago. Despite its scenic landscape and peaceful atmosphere, it is one of the most underrated Thailand tourist spots.
Depending on your purpose, Koh Samui offers a wide range of distinguished beaches: if you are a party person, head to Chaweng beach, where dozens of bars, clubs and resorts are located.
Lamai beach, despite similar features, gives you a more relaxed and laid-back feeling. If you are looking for an even more peaceful place where you can just sit down and quietly adore the beauty of the sea and the people, feel free to go to Mae Nam or Bophut beach on the north of Koh Samui.
An up-close look at the breathtaking Sai Nuan Beach - one of the most popular beaches in Koh Tao. Photo by Max Böttinger on Unsplash
From Koh Samui, travelling to Koh Tao Island won’t take long. Koh Tao is the go-to diving destination for Thai and international divers.
The place is filled with numerous types of marine creatures (mainly turtles, as the name “Tao” in the Thai language literally means ”turtle”). There are also stunning corals and different beautiful beaches.
Koh Tao is potentially one of Thailand’s tourist spots that travellers would want to visit on a hot summer vacation. Visitors have a variety of beaches to choose from: Sai Nuan, Koh Nang Yuan, Laem Thian, or Mae Haad.
These beaches share a similarity: they offer great diving activities and night parties. Therefore, it’s up to your personal taste to decide your destination.
What makes Koh Tao slightly different from other islands is not its gorgeous up-close beaches but the attempt to preserve turtles' habitat. As this creature's central homeland, Koh Tao is making efforts to bring back the diversity of sea turtles and other rare animals via eco-friendly marine centres and such.
Beach lovers, if you want to explore more seashore and coastlines, we recommend taking a flight to the best tourist destinations in Greece. Plus, it’s also a nation with an intriguing history worth exploring.
Lush sceneries like Phu Phang Ma in Phitsanulok will take your breath away. Photo by Yuttana Joe - stock.adobe.com
If you're looking for an open-air getaway, the province of Phitsanulok has tourist-friendly natural geographies and a city that invites you to eat and stay for days when you visit Thailand. However, rather than being a destination of its own, it's more popular as a base for seeing the historical sites in nearby areas.
From Phitsanulok city, it's easy to reach historical sights such as Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai, and Kamphaeng Phet. As a result, it sees a good deal more package tourists than individual travellers.
The lively and welcoming city is home to several noteworthy landmarks and museums. If you have to choose one, we suggest Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, which houses one of Thailand's most renowned Buddha statues.
You can also make your way to the surrounding national parks, namely Thung Salaeng Luang and Phu Hin Rong Kla (which used to be the strategic headquarters of Thai communists).
Krabi doesn’t have the immediate allure of other big cities. Nonetheless, anyone who has visited can rarely forget what makes Krabi one of the most famous Thailand tourist attractions - its iconic karst cliffs, dreamy beaches, hundreds of lush islands, and hidden mountainous temples.
A boat “harbour” in Krabi Town leading to a fantastic view of the sea. Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels
When exploring Thailand’s tourist attractions, lovers of extreme sports such as rock climbing and kayaking will feel at home in Krabi. Thanks to the breathtaking backdrops, the active experiences here are elevated to the next level. Climbers can look over the white coastline, and sea explorers can admire the scattered rock cliffs.
Krabi Town sits neatly among uniquely spectacular limestone cave structures that protrude from the mangroves. Many feel astounded by the sheer number of guesthouses and tourist companies crammed into the centre of this little town.
It’s all a part of a main coastal route that continues to develop around a bustling tourism sector. There are plenty of dining and gift-shopping options along the small streets.
Mae Hong Son
A town lying on the terraced field at Mae Hong Son. Photo by tawatchai1990 - stock.adobe.com
Unlike the busy Bangkok or the romantic Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son establishes its appearance as one of Thailand’s beautiful places to visit with its ancient and historic area.
At Mae Hong Son, everything seems to be at peace. Visitors who are tired of the explorations into the hustle of the cities might pass by Mae Hong Son and have a little break.
You can visit the Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu temple - a religious symbol of Mae Hong Son. The temple is at a height of 1,300 metres, and you must climb 300 steps of stairs to reach it. Such a long way will pay you off with the breathtaking scenery of the temple and its surroundings.
Are you interested in Mae Hong Son's culture? You can also visit Mae Hong Son Museum, where pictures, photos, and objects related to traditional customs and culture are kept. Take a chance to look around the museum to understand more about the history, the cultural beauty of Mae Hong Son and the people here.
Another thing you should experience in this mountainous province is the Sutongpe Bridge. It is an endless bamboo bridge across the paddle fields. The attraction will satisfy any traveller who loves walking while admiring the quaint, tranquil nature. If you are travelling between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son, you may want to stop by Mae Sariang town.
The overwhelmingly gorgeous White Temple in Chiang Rai. Photo by MARCIN CZERNIAWSKI on Unsplash
Chiang Rai, 800 km (497 miles) away from Bangkok, is Thailand's new utopia of tourism. It is first known as the meeting point of the Golden Triangle - Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. Chiang Rai has become one of Thailand’s famous places for exploring new aspects and areas of this country.
There are several attractive destinations that you should check out when visiting Chiang Rai. First is the Wat Rong Khun (also known as the White Temple). This gigantic architecture is not a traditional Thai structure but a new construction designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Thai visual artist.
Therefore, instead of the signature golden colour like many other temples, the White Temple is layered with a completely white coat with an exciting mix of traditions and modern. You can find images of famous pop culture icons such as Micheal Jackson or Iron Man in this place.
Another popular attraction waiting for your arrival is the one-of-a-kind Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Temple of the Dancing Tiger). Visitors will be overwhelmed by the blue colour appearing on almost every detail of the place. The striking colour, the complex carving, and the enormous Buddha statue draw thousands of people to the attraction daily.
If you want to see more Buddhist temples, we can’t recommend enough the best places to visit in Japan. You will be captivated by the famous temples of different styles in the island nation.
Ayutthaya Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws people to discover its story. Photo by surasak - stock.adobe.com
Ayutthaya (or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) has been renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Despite being heavily damaged in the 18th century, the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya are still one of the best places to visit in Thailand, regarding its temples and religious areas.
Ayutthaya used to be the capital city of Thailand for over 400 years (from the 14th-18th century). However, it is now a quiet and peaceful destination that won’t take you so long to see all of its attractions!
The most charming destination of Ayutthaya should be Wat Phra Mahathat - a temple where you can find the stone head of a Buddha Statue embraced by the roots of an old fig tree. Thousands of visitors are coming here just to witness this bizarre image. We can assure you that this will also be a surprisingly exciting experience for you.
Another destination that we recommend you visit during your time at Ayutthaya is Wat Ratchaburana. Even though it's small, there are plenty of things for you to see here.
There is the temple itself - which resembles the shape of Mount Meru in India or the secret tunnel inside the tower, which leads to the underground treasures. However, nowadays, the tunnel is only a tourist spot as real treasures have been lost during wartime.
The unspoiled nature of Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi is proof of how overwhelming Mother Nature can be. Photo by wanna - stock.adobe.com
Located 100 km (62 miles) away from the capital city of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi Province is one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand. The charms of this province are its natural landscapes, giving its visitors a chance to escape from the hustling cities and enjoy nature to the fullest.
One popular attraction of Kanchanaburi is the Kwai River. Apart from the historic buildings lying on the banks of the rivers, this place is famous for the bridge across River Kwai.
It was the background of an Oscar movie adapted from Pierre Boulle’s novel - The Bridge Over the River Kwai. After the movie's fame, the bridge eventually became a renowned tourist spot.
It would be a miss to mention Kanchanaburi without Erawan National Park. This park contains a 7-tiered Erawan Falls with splendid views, allowing tourists to take wonderful photos and simultaneously experience nature's beauty.
While adoring the waterfalls, visitors may encounter habitats such as monkeys, deer, or even elephants. But don’t worry! They’re all friendly and cute animals that only give you stares or ask for some treats.
The pristine landscape of Sam Roi Yot National Park in Hua Hin is unmissable. Photo by Peter John Maridable on Unsplash
Hua Hin is a coastal city located about 200 km (124 miles) from Bangkok. Its pleasant atmosphere and the hospitable civilians make Hua Hin Thailand's tourist spot of peace and silence.
Coming to this destination, you can visit the Sam Roi Yot National Park, which is blessed by mother nature to have a vast pristine landscape.
This is the home to many rare birds, so visitors who are a fan of these creatures can hop on a boat trip around the park to admire the birds and the natural views here.
If your cup of tea is wine, visiting Monsoon Valley Vineyard in Hua Hin will be a decent experience! It has the advantage of weather and soil to plant high-quality grapes.
Coming to the vineyard, you can walk around the fields, taste the fresh grapefruits or challenge yourself by riding elephants around the farms. You can also purchase a bottle of wine made of grapes grown in Monsoon Valley as a souvenir for your family and friends.
Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok is undoubtedly the definition of a hidden gem. Photo by chanchai - stock.adobe.com
Khao Sok National Park is a must-see destination for travellers who want to be embraced by mother nature when they visit Thailand. It is one of the most ancient tropical rainforests, with biodiversity in multiple hidden waterfalls. The place is home to more than 3,000 different bird species.
Visitors coming to Khao Sok National Park are always excited by the experience of spending the night here. You can choose from various options: the tree houses facing the old jungle, a luxurious accommodation inside the forest with a wonderful view of nature, or the small bungalow lying on Cheow Lan Lake.
Containing a massive landscape, Khao Sok is the perfect choice for you to challenge your legs. After days of sunbathing and swimming at the beaches, trekking around the national park may be exhausting. However, you won’t regret it as you can admire the caves as you pass by while trying to look for the residents here - the birds.
Khao Sok National Park also offers its tourists another unique experience: admiring the Rafflesia flower. This is a must-do activity in the park as this is one of the few places where you can find this rare fauna in Thailand.
The flower is gigantic with a maximum diameter of 80 cm (~30 inches). It lasts only for four days after blooming. Since the flower grows naturally in this park, there will be an announcement to show you where to see a Rafflesia once its flower or bud is found.
Come to Khao Lak and you will be treated to unspoiled and beautiful beaches. Photo by Vincent - stock.adobe.com
Located in the South of Phuket Island, Khao Lak is a small seaside town in Phang Nga Province. It is another Thailand tourist spot for travellers who want to discover new coastal areas besides Phuket.
Not only does Khao Lak offer wonderful beaches, but it also provides you with easy access to Similan or Surin - popular snorkelling and diving spots.
However, if you just want to lay back and enjoy the beautiful nature in Khao Lak, here are some destinations for you to decide on.
You can go to Nang Thong Beach in the afternoon, where dusk seemingly coats the sand on the beach. Taking a stroll while seeing the sparkling dust under your feet makes for a beautiful beach walk.
Another destination in Khao Lak you might be interested in is Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. Here, you can simply wander along the walking paths alongside the coastline and see the beaches without joining in the crowd at Nang Thong Beach.
Pattaya’s streets never cease to be crowded, lively, and full of excitement. Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash
The city of Pattaya is filled with sunshine, spectacular beaches and quiet forests. It has a 15-km-long coastline with a crystal-clear sea. Thousands of visitors come to “Hawaii of the East” for sunbathing and water sports.
Pattaya truly deserves to be listed as one of the best places to go in Thailand due to its flexibility between day and night.
When the night falls, it will transform into the most lustful city in Thailand. Live music, overnight parties, and a lively atmosphere may swirl you into crazily joyful experiences.
Therefore, whether you are into outdoor activities during the daytime or are fond of the flashy nightlife, Pattaya will satisfy you.
Nong Khai is a small town in Isaan, right next to the Mekong River. From here, you can cross the first bridge connecting Thai - Laos to visit Vientiane.
Nong Khai is a rather small peaceful town; however, it offers you plenty of interesting things to see and do. Thanks to the cultural diversity, the town is Thailand’s tourist spot that has recently become attractive to many visitors.
One of the most popular attractions in Nong Khai is the Sala Kaew Ku Garden, where you can see multiple sculptures inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. Walking in the garden, you will be amazed at how detailed each sculpture is.
Being the joint of different cultures, Nong Khai is also famous for its Tha Sadej Market. The selling products are imported from Indochina and East Europe, giving you a wide range of choices for souvenirs.
Phrae has many important religious sites such as Wat Phra That Cho Hae. Image from tourismthailand.org
To most visitors, Phrae is either a stop-over from South to Northern Thailand or anything but a place to visit in Thailand. However, this hidden gem will surprise you once you land your feet here.
Coming to Phrae, it is a must to pay a visit to Tham Chakapat (The Emperor’s Cave). After 700 steps from the bottom of the mountain to the top, you’ll find the worship place inside a cave, an enormous Buddha Statue, and breathtaking scenery.
Moreover, visiting the Gateway to the Lanna Kingdom, you can also admire the beauty of Wat Phrathat Suthon Mongkhon Khiri - a newly built temple resembling Lanna and Burmese architectural style. You will surely enjoy yourself here as many people haven’t discovered the palace.
Just a 2-hour drive from Bangkok is the peaceful and quiet Phetchaburi. Photo by Teerayuth - stock.adobe.com
Different from other destinations in Thailand, such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai, the city of Phetchaburi is more well-known to locals than foreigners due to its religious richness.
Therefore, if you have a chance to visit Thailand, try coming to this city to get yourself amazed by the Buddhist temples and architecture here.
Some fantastic places you should visit at Phetchaburi include Tham Khao Yoi Temple Cave - a structure built right at the foot of Khao Yoi Mountain.
Here, you can admire different statues of the Buddha, ranging from the great lying Buddha to the smaller ones. All of them are displayed in glass boxes to prevent potential harm from visitors or rocks inside the cave.
Another place you would want to visit in Phetchaburi is Wat Mahathat Worawihan. Located in the city's centre, it is one of the most impressive royal family temples. As the architecture contains different designs from distinguished times, you’ll find it super fascinating to see the pagodas in the white theme here.
Wat Asokaram, one of the most magnificent white temples you can find in Samut Prakan. Photo by Rutpratheep Nilpechr on Unsplash
Samut Prakan is another gem that we want to recommend to you in this article. Because it is near the bustling city of Bangkok, people seem to overlook this province when they visit Thailand.
It is the perfect place for anyone who adores unique architecture. Many constructions in the Ancient City will shock you (in a good way). The old ruins of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, and the replica of the Pavilion of Enlightened, to name just a few. To sightsee all the significance here, you can hire a bike and start your journey!
Another thing you may enjoy is admiring the Erawan Museum. It can be easily recognised as there is a huge 3-head elephant statue on top of the construction.
Once you get inside, you will surely be fascinated. The features are displayed on three floors, representing the Hindu world. The first floor is the underworld, the second floor is the Earth - the most popular destination for visitors, and the top floor represents heaven.
A residence with unique architecture in the Sanam Chan Palace complex in the small town of Nakhon Pathom. Photo by Ananda on Wikimedia Commons
Nakhon Pathom used to be one of the most glorious cities during the Dvaravati civilisation. Due to the endless drought, it was abandoned until King Rama IV renovated and reconstructed the city.
Housing multiple prosperous temples and being near the capital city of Bangkok, it’s easy to see why the city is one of the best places to visit in Thailand.
One of the must-see constructions here is the Dragon Temple of Wat Sam Phran. You can marvel at the huge dragon sculpture wrapping around and laying its head on the top of the temple.
If you want to know more about Thai film history and evolution, feel free to pass by the Thai Film Museum. Inside the museum, you’ll find the equipment and tools to make Thai movies, old posters and an exhibition dedicated to the legendary actor Mitr Chaibancha.
Cabinzero has walked you through 20 cities, towns and islands to visit in Thailand. We hope this can be a helpful guide to help you have a good time in the land of smiles. Have a good journey!
If you want to discover another charming destination in Asia, consider putting these marvellous attractions in Taiwan on your list. Compared to the bustling tourism scene of Thailand, it is less touristy and offers a more off-the-beaten-track experience.