Planning your trip and looking for the best places to visit in Thailand? Look no further. Here you’ll find a list of the unmissable places in Thailand- from cities, jungle, beaches, and more.
This guest post was written by Cynthia & Alexander, adventure travel bloggers from Travel your Memories. They travel the world and share all the tips to inspire and help you plan your trips. Find them on Instagram | Pinterest.
Thailand is one of the best countries to visit in Asia, since it has a lot to offer to all types of travelers. In Thailand, you can visit buys cities, discover beautiful nature, get to know a unique culture and above all do adventurous activities. What makes Thailand so unique is the versatility of the country and the people themselves, plus the Thai people are always cheerful therefore Thailand is also called the land of smiles. In short, the Thai food, people, and nature make Thailand a beautiful country to travel to.
In this article, you can find the best places to visit in Thailand – jungle, beaches, bustling cities and more.
Just a note. In this list, we only recommend places that we have visited ourselves. Therefore, other places like Ayutthaya, Pai, and Chiang Rai that are also some of the top places to visit in Thailand and worth a visit are missing from this list – yet it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time!
Ayutthaya is an island where you can see more than 400 temples dating from the 14th to the 18th century. Pai is a hippy village just north of Chiang Mai where you have the feeling of being away from civilization. Chiang Rai is the second-largest city in the north of Thailand after Chiang Mai, and here you can find the most unique, incredible temples such as the White Temple.
Let’s get started with our favorite places in Thailand!
Table of Contents
Khao Sok National Park
While many travelers think of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or one of the many islands in Thailand, Khao Sok National Park according to us is the best place to visit in Thailand for first timers. Khao Sok National Park is located in the south of Thailand and is one of the most beautiful places in the world for nature lovers to visit. The flora and fauna in the park are unique because it is located deep in the jungle.
In this park, you can see, for example, gibbons, tigers, leopards, bears, and eagles. To spot these animals you’ll need to go with a local guide. An activity that we recommend is participating in a boat safari – in the early morning you go looking for these animals along the water.
In the park you’ll find a huge lake with large, impressive karst rock formations that will make you feel like you are in a scene from Jurassic Park. In fact, you might have already seen online pictures of the lake of Khao Sok National Park, because it’s one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. The wilderness of the jungle, the lake, the high rocks, and the rugged nature make this park one and only!
You can visit Khao Sok National park in different ways. You can stay outside the park and take day trips to the park, or you can stay on the lake and explore the park from there. You can also undertake various activities in the park itself.
Traveling to Khao Sok National Park and planning your days can be done in different ways. If you want to know more about Khao Sok National Park, we recommend that you read this Khao Sok National Park travel guide for detailed information.
Chiang Mai is a nice cozy city in the North of Thailand. When you travel to the south of Thailand, you’ll find beautiful beaches and rugged nature. In the north, instead, you can get acquainted with the culture and history of the country – which is what makes Chiang Mai one of the must visit places in Thailand.nHere, in fact, you will find some of the most beautiful temples in the country. Chiang Mai itself is amazing to discover, but you can also make a few day trips from Chiang Mai that are worthwhile.
There is a lot to do in Chiang Mai. First of all, discovering the historic center is a must. The city is surrounded by old city walls and inside these walls are old temples waiting to be discovered. Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang are in our opinion the best temples to visit within the city walls. Outside the historic center, you can visit the main temple of Chiang Mai, called Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This temple is built on a mountain, which makes the experience (and the views!) very unique. At this place, you can see a replica of the Emerald Buddha. It’s recommended to visit this temple just before sunset so that you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and the sky all hues of orange and pink.
In addition to visiting the temples, you can take a cooking class in the city. You can do this in the city itself or on a farm outside the city. If you want to learn everything about Thai cooking and you have the time, we recommend a day tour where you visit a farm outside the city. If you you don’t have much time, a morning tour is sufficient.
Outside of Chiang Mai, you can discover the mountainous landscape. For example, you can do trekking tours where you visit local hill tribes, or if you want a little more adrenaline, you can go mountain biking, zip-lining, or rafting on the river. Some of the tour companies we recommend are Pooh Eco-trekking (trekking), Peak Adventure Tour (adventure sports), Siam River Adventures (rafting), or Flight of the Gibbon (ziplining).
An activity that we recommend to visit an elephant rescue center and do some volunteer work. During this day you will learn everything about the Thai elephant and you will take care of the animals. Make sure, though, that the center you choose is an actual sustainable, rescue center, because unfortunately there are many parks that treat badly the animals and offer elephant riding to tourists. Elephant Nature Park is the safest choice.
If you have 3 days in Chiang Mai, this Chiang Mai itinerary will guide you through the best things to do in Chiang Mai and what to see in Chiang Mai in 3 days.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is often the start and end destination of a trip through Thailand for many travelers. In most cases, the capital is not the best place in a country to discover, but this doesn’t apply to Thailand. Bangkok is a vibrant city where you never have to get bored, and one of the top destinations in Thailand. There are in fact plenty of things to do in Bangkok – you can visit beautiful palaces and temples, explore busy markets, party at various clubs, enjoy Thai food and visit a sky bar in the evening where you have a great view over the city.
You need more or less 3 days in Bangkok to see it well. We recommend staying in Banglampoo. From this area, you can visit everything on foot or by tuk-tuk.
On your first day in the city, you can visit temples and palaces. Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand’s most important temple, and the Grand Palace are worth a visit in the morning. Grand Palace is the royal palace that is still used on official occasions. Other temples that are worth visiting are Wat Pho and Wat Arun. At Wat Pho, you can see a large reclining Buddha while at Wat Arun, you can walk along the river and enjoy a peaceful complex. You can end the day with a drink at rooftop bar Cloud 47, a great place to enjoy a cocktail with a beautiful view over the city.
Once you’ve visited the temples, there are a lot more things to do. For example, you can do a day bike tour in the morning to discover the non-touristy places of Bangkok with a local. We recommend making use of Grasshopper Adventures or ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclists. If you like to visit local markets (and find bargains!), then you can’t miss the huge Chatuchak market, while partiers can’t miss spending some time in Khao San Road, the infamous backpackers and party street. Otherwise you can explore Chinatown and Lumpini Park, the green lung of Bangkok. In Chinatown, you can find the best spots to try street food in Bangkok.
Best Islands in Thailand
Probably when you think of Thailand one of your first thoughts is the beautiful islands it has. Visiting islands in Thailand is a must. In Thailand, you can visit 300 islands. Which one to visit depends on your personal preferences. Each island has something unique and something to offer for different kinds of travelers.
▶ Ko Phi Phi is often considered the most beautiful island in Thailand to visit. Here you can find the most beautiful beaches, but there are other things to do in Phi Phi Island as well. For example, you can go on boat tours that will bring you to the best snorkeling spots and lagoons (where the water is one of the most turquoise we’ve ever seen). This is an island very popular with families and couples. Keep in mind that the prices here are higher than other islands’.
▶ Koh Samui is the largest island in Thailand and is ideal for families, couples, and backpackers alike. Because of the size of the island, it has a lot of different things to offer. While the east side of Koh Samui is very touristy, the north and the south are more remote.
The best thing you can do in Koh Samui is rent a scooter and drive around for days – I suggest spending at least 4 days in Koh Samui to see all that it offers. In the middle of the island, you’ll find a jungle with some beautiful waterfalls, while on the north and south side of Koh Samui are some remote beaches where you might not see anyone at all. Then there are some strange, unique temples you really can’t miss. Koh Samui is ideal for families if they stay on the east side, which is more developed and offers all kinds of attractions, accommodation, and entertainment options.
▶ Koh Tao is the best island in all of Thailand for diving enthusiasts. Not only here you can go on some incredible dives, it’s also one of the cheapest places in the world to get a scuba certification. But don’t worry – if you cannot or do not want to dive, you can also snorkel at Koh Tao or just relax at the beach. This an ideal island for backpackers or those looking for a laidback place to just chill out. Check out all the best things to do in Koh Tao.
▶ Phuket is the tourist island of all islands. This is because its so easy to access, plus the island offers accommodation and activities that suit just about everyone. Just like on Koh Samui, there are plenty of things to do in Phuket, for example, you can visit museums and nature parks, and work on your tan at the many incredible beaches Phuket offers. If just laying down at the beach and relaxing is not your thing, you can go rafting, kayaking, diving, and do hikes in the jungle.
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP TO THE BEST PLACES IN THAILAND
➤ Now that you have a clear picture of Thailand best places to visit, you probably need to to put them together. To help you out, I’ve written this article about planning a 10 days in Thailand itinerary. You’ll find 4 different routes, so you can pick the one that’s right for you.
➤ Curious how much budget you need for Thailand? Thailand can be visited by all kinds of travelers, no matter their budget. If you want to know more about it, you can read everything regarding Thailand trip cost.
➤ And finally, need help packing your suitcase? Check out what to pack for a trip to Thailand.