Thailand is one of the tourism gems in Southeast Asia. No surprise as you can find anything in the “Land of Smiles,” from stellar beaches, beautiful mountains, wildlife-abundant national parks, great food to vibrant cities – the country won’t disappoint. Each of its diverse destinations and attractions provides a unique and enjoyable travel experience. The catch is that it has 1430 islands, and it may be hard to choose where to begin. To get you some inspiration, here’s a rundown of the top destinations in Thailand you should never miss for a wonderful trip.
Bangkok is an energetic city, with the usual chaos, hustle brought by development. Yet, unlike any other capital, the city exudes a distinct feel of identity molded by the millions of friendly individuals that lurk its streets. From the lively markets, amazing local eats, stellar towering skyscrapers, to various scenic and sacred temples, Bangkok serves as the ideal starting destination for all types of people who want a sneak peek of what bigger things lie ahead in the country.
Often labeled as Thailand’s northern capital, Chiang Mai provides a beautiful mix of culture, nature, and cuisine. First, Chiang Mai is never short of gorgeous temples, such as Wat Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, making it an ideal location if you’re a culture vulture. If you want picturesque views instead, don’t fret as you can quickly get to the country’s highest point in Doi Inthanon National Park, witness the Mae Ya Waterfall, bathe an elephant, and snap excellent shots of different birds. Sum up your day with some of Thai’s most delicious food by visiting the night markets and bazaars that offer the best local eats.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya is one of the country’s ancient cities that draws its charm mainly from its redolent ruins that allows visitors to travel back through time during the golden age of Siam. Alluring statues, monasteries, and temples await you in the park, with each of them serving as physical anecdotes of Thailand’s impressive history. Lying just a one-hour drive away from the vibrant Bangkok, Ayutthaya provides that much-needed respite from the city jam and acts as a haven for those who appreciate culture and tradition.
A travel bucket list to Thailand won’t be complete without mentioning Phuket, the country’s largest island and one of its world-renowned tourist destinations. First-time travelers’ usual destination is Patong Beach, famous for its hip nightlife scene and water sports activities. Then, get a boat and visit other amazing beaches, such as Karon Beach, Kathu Beach, Freedom Beach, and the popular Kata Beach to complete your nature trip. In terms of entertainment, Phuket has its fair share of exciting Muay Thai bouts, world-class shows, bars, clubs, and global cuisine restaurants – all making Phuket an all-around vacation hotspot.
Just a few hours from Phuket lies another quintessential Thailand getaway – Krabi Province. Whichever type of traveler you are, you would surely relish its beautiful limestone cliffs, hidden caves, and lush jungles. Its beaches are also a sight to behold. Your first stop should be Ao Nang, the main beach. Then, head to Railay Beach, Koh Kai Island, and Koh Poda Island to relax and enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery.
Located on Thailand’s east coast, Koh Samui entices all types of tourists, from solo adventures, backpackers, honeymooners to small families. Pretty beaches surround the island, such as Mae Nam, Chaweng, and Lamai. Plus, tons of souvenir shops, restaurants, resorts, high-end spas, and golf courses are available, making it a convenient choice for many travelers. Once you’re on the island, don’t miss out on the rock formations and the temple that houses a mummified monk to complete your trip.
Dubbed as the “City of Sin,” Pattaya’s magic may not suit everyone. Yet, the city’s diversity is what makes it a worthy place to visit after all. Get ready to get an exhilarating evening of fun through the lively music and flashing lights from the go-go bars, cabarets, and street shows. If you want to relax, there’s a decent beach, ideal for a good swim or stroll after waking up from the entertaining night. If it isn’t enough, off the coast lies Koh Larn island, which would give you a different sense of tranquility.
Renowned as Thailand’s diving mecca, Koh Tao is a tiny island that boasts a fascinating array of marine life. If you want to get a SCUBA diving license, it’s one of the cheapest places to do so, plus you get to enjoy its breathtaking underwater scenery. However, its “overwater” attractions are amazing too. Climb the different hilltop viewpoints and savor the views of the sea and the nearby islands.
An oasis for nature lovers, Kanchanaburi is known for its lush forest, impressive rivers, and series of waterfalls. One of its most famous tourist spots is the Erawan Falls, which has seven cascading levels, slow-moving cerulean waters, and swimming holes. Another great site to see is Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, a remarkable war memorial that is perfect for history buffs interested in World War II history.
Khao Yai National Park
With its many distinctions, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t visit Khao Yai National Park. It is the oldest, third-largest, yet most-visited among Thailand’s national parks. Not to mention that it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Asia’s most extensive unspoiled monsoon forests. Here, you can enjoy 30 miles of hiking trails that would lead you to the magnificent Haew Suwat waterfall. Just be sure to get guides if you’re planning to visit the area, as they are required in the majority of the trails for your safety.
Sukhothai Old City
Suppose you want to take a break from the beach and get an atmosphere of antiquity, head on to Sukhothai Old City. It is another UNESCO World Heritage site, which features glorious ruins of 13th to 14th-century palaces, temples, and pagodas. Relics, such as Buddha images, stupas, sculptures in all poses and sizes can also be found in the area, seemingly like standing witnesses of the city’s grand past.
Indeed, Thailand is home to many of Southeast Asia’s jewels. The options are also limitless, which allows it to cater to every type of traveler. Should you wish to visit this beautiful country, see to it to assess which destination suits your bucket list the best. One thing’s for sure, whichever place you choose, your trip to this majestic Asian nation will surely be memorable.