Thailand is one of the prettiest countries in South-Asia, which is why it has thousands of tourists coming here from all around the world. One can find everything here, from pretty white sand beaches to dense forests, backpacking dorms to high-class luxury resorts, and of course rich and fragrant food to treat your taste buds. Thailand has more than 200 islands, so planning a trip and covering all the major attractions can be a little overwhelming. This blog will help you cover the best places to visit in Thailand along with the best time to plan your vacation
Best Time to Visit Thailand
The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February when the climate is cool and dry. From April to June is when the rain starts to set in and temperatures hover between late 20s to early 30s. But this is a good time to travel if you’re a budget traveler, as the hotel prices and travel fares see a drop. The period from July to October has very high rainfall and humidity, so it’s better to avoid planning your vacation during this time as many islands shut down.
The east coast has good weather almost throughout the year. January and February have the lowest rains, while November sees heavy rainfall. The best time for a vacation on the west coast of Thailand is from November to March. The monsoon kicks in the west coast from May to Mid-October.
Best Places to Visit in Thailand
#1 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
As Thailand’s largest and most popular island, it comes as no surprise that there is so much to do in Phuket! Tourists can go bungee jumping, rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, beach bumming, deep-sea diving, or partying, the list of things to do in Phuket is just endless. If you’re looking for a place to party hard, things can’t get better than at Patong or Bangla Road. Tourists looking to just relax at the beach can spend their time witnessing unforgettable sunsets amidst clean blue waters and relish the best seafood at the beach shacks. If you’re a traveler who likes experiencing authentic activities the destination has to offer, then you can spend time practicing yoga at the Little Yoga Room or pick up a few Muay Thai (Thai martial art) lessons or even learn some Thai-style cooking secrets.
If learning about the history of this amazing place interests you, try taking some time out to get a glimpse of the stage shows or museums that do a good job at narrating the tales of the past. For families travelling with children, there are many natural reserves and exciting adventure parks like the Phuket Bird Park, Phuket Aquarium, Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park, and the Khao Sok National Park are amazing places to explore. With something to offer for everyone, Phuket should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Thailand.
#2 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Bangkok is known for its nightlife and the Royal City Avenue stands out as the prime party venue of Bangkok city. The area is filled with lounges and high-class pubs and is one of the busiest street sides of the Thai Capital. Some of the very popular clubs like Slim and Route 66 are packed with honeymooners, couples, and female travelers and have parties going on till morning. While here don’t forget to get your senses tantalized by the local Thai whiskey. For tourists looking for a less crowded experience can head over to LED and Cosmic Cafe for some craft beer and dance music.
Bangkok has several floating markets which tourists can visit on their own or can take local tours, make sure to check out the popular markets like Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa. Chatuchak Weekend Market also known locally as JJ Market is the largest market in Thailand, some even say it may be the largest weekend market in the world. It has over 8,000 stalls which attract more than 200,000 visitors on weekends. The Grand Palace which is the official residence of the kings of Siam is another famous attraction in Bangkok. Witness the wildlife of Bangkok with innumerable species of flora and fauna at the Khao Laem national park, which is a paradise for nature lovers and regarded as one of the best places to visit in Thailand for wildlife enthusiasts. Apart from wildlife, another major crowd puller at the park is that tourists get to stay in a houseboat which is an amazing experience in itself.
#3 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
The most happening destination and one of the best places to visit in Thailand, Pattaya is popularly known as Thailand’s party hub and is also famous as the city that offers myriad nightlife and water sports options. The streets here are filled with beach shacks, roadside eateries, fancy bars, bright neon lights, and cabaret shows, which makes it ideal for bachelorette and bachelor parties, or even making new friends and partying all night! Though popular for its nightlife, there are things you can do in Pattaya without stepping into the adult-orientated areas. First off there is a beach, it may not be the prettiest in Thailand but is good enough for a few days of some sand, sea, and sun.
Some of the other popular attractions here are The Huge Sanctuary of Truth which has been carved entirely from wood, Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, Silverlake Vineyard for sampling locally produced wines, Pattaya Floating Market, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Dongtan (the most popular gay-friendly beach destination), FROST Magical Ice of Siam and Flight of the Gibbon
#4 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya popularly known as Ayutthaya is a small city in Thailand with many archaeological sites like palaces, monasteries, temples, etc. Ayutthaya is ideal for a day trip from Bangkok, with over a hundred wats, prangs, chedis, and over a thousand Buddha statues spread around the park it is definitely among the best places to visit in Thailand for history buffs. A particularly stunning sight that should not be missed is the temple that hosts the 12 meters long reclining Buddha. The rows of saffron-clad Buddha statues and tall stupas make the Wat Yai Chai Mongkorn temple in Ayutthaya particularly photogenic.
Exploring Ayutthaya gives you the feel of an open-air museum as every of this city can be dated back to centuries! During 1700 Ayutthaya had made a place for itself as one of the world’s largest cities with over 1 million inhabitants. After being destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767, renovations began in the late 1960s and have managed to restore the once-vibrant city to much of its former glory. Other interesting spots to explore are the floating market and the Old Dutch and Portuguese areas which are perfect to be explored by renting a bicycle or scooter.
#5 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Once a cradle of the Thai kingdom, Sukothai which can be roughly translating to mean “Dawn of Happiness”, boasts of glorious ruins spread across the city. Impressive chedis and pagodas, Buddha images in all sizes and poses, crumbling walls, soaring columns, extensive foundations, and the remains of halls are some things that you can expect to find here. The park has around 200 sets of ruins which include the Royal Palace and 26 temples.
A lot has been invested in preserving and restoring Sukothai which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most significant historical places to visit in Thailand. Some interesting sites to add to your list are the Wat Mahatat, Wat Sra Si, Wat Traphang Ngoen, Wat Si Chum, and Wat Sorasak, out of which Wat Mahathat is the most impressive. In addition to these fascinating wats, interested visitors can learn more about the Sukhothai culture at the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum.
Khao Yai National Park
#6 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Khao Yai National Park is the third-largest national park in Thailand and is among the best places to visit in Thailand for a well crafted and guided wildlife tours. The trip introduces tourists with wild elephants, gibbons, Malayan sun bears, snakes, tigers, and parrots. Elephants are respected and loved a lot in Thailand, this can be seen by the various statues and paintings around the country including temples and royal palaces. For the ultimate experience, the park provides a chance for tourists to see elephants in their natural environment. A popular attraction here is the sunset visit to the ghostlike bat caves, millions of bats fly into the dusk as the sun goes down.
Other popular spots are the 150-meter-tall Haew Narok and the Haew Suwat waterfall, where scenes of the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio were shot. Another spot that will definitely amaze the tourists at Khao Yai National Park are the dinosaur footprints which can be found on an isolated slab of red sandstone by the banks of the Sai Yai River. The park also offers hiking trails, campsites, observation towers, and lodges pulling huge crowds throughout the year.
#7 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Koh Samui is a very popular island in Thailand which appeals to everyone from solo adventurers and backpackers to honeymooners and families. Koh Samui is surrounded by two beautiful beaches, Mae Nam and Chaweng Lamai. If you’d like to spend some quality fishing time, then head to the old fishing village at Bophut. The island also has plenty of places to shop, eat, drink, and sleep.
What sets Koh Samui apart from the other tourist attractions in Thailand are the unusual spots like the neighboring rock formations that look like female and male genitalia, and the temple which has the mummified body of a monk! The island also boasts of excellent golf courses and high-class spas too. Mae Nam is an amazing beach destination in Koh Samui which attracts many families and honeymooners who like to spend some time away from the bustling traffic and loud music. The beach is about 5 kilometers long and is filled with palm trees which provide an ideal spot for lovelorn couples looking for a hideout.
#8 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
If you’re looking for places to visit in Thailand which are away from the hustle & bustle of the city and are perfect for couples, then Pai is the place to go! The village is filled with lush green fields and has gorgeous waterfalls, therapeutic natural springs, traditional temples and much more waiting to be explored. Though you can see plenty of families traveling in the area, Pai has also made a reputation for itself among hippies and backpackers.
Although Thailand’s reputation as a country of beautiful landscapes is largely due to the world-renowned southern beaches, people generally neglect the northern part which has equally breathtaking landscapes. The mountainous jungle terrain that marks the western region near the Burmese border of Northern Thailand is both beautiful and rugged. Pai has pleasant weather and is best explored either by motorbikes or on feet. While at Pai, don’t miss out on the small walking street market which comes alive every night and offers a variety of lip-smacking Western and local cuisines
#9 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Located alongside the Burmese border in the west of Thailand, Kanchanaburi popularly known as “the bridge over the River Kwai” has a wide range of wartime and natural attractions. The Japanese forces wanted to build a bridge linking Thailand and Burma, for this they used the prisoners of war for forced labor. Over 12,000 prisoners ended up losing their life as the bridge was damaged and bombed several times, hence it got popularly known as the “Death Railway”.
The natural landscape of Kanchanaburi is filled with amazing natural wonders like lakes, waterfalls, mountainous views, and caves. To remember those who lost their lives during the construction and appreciate the stunning views, tourists can take a ride on the infamous Death Railway. Kanchanaburi has many other tourist attractions nearby like the Sai Yok Noi Falls, the Huay Mae Khamin falls, the Sai Yok Yai Falls, and the Erawan Waterfalls in the Erawan National Park.
#10 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Koh Tao is Thailand’s smallest island. Its name comes from the copious sea turtles that inhabit its shores. Considered as one of the best places to visit in Thailand for scuba diving enthusiasts, Koh Tao has got diverse diving sites off its shores which are popular among the adrenaline junkies all over the globe. Tourist who are serious about learning to dive rather than do it just for fun can take up diving courses with the help of really good instructors at a fairly reasonable price.
Koh Tao is a part of the Chumphon Archipelago group of islands which are located in southeastern Thailand. With exciting nightlife and relaxing atmosphere on one side and it a vibrant and proud local culture on the other, makes the visit to Koh Tao an amazing experience. The best time to visit Koh Tao to make the most of your vacation is between December to September.
#11 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
If your goal behind planning a trip to Thailand is cheap and delicious food, then Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Street is among the best places to visit in Thailand. Some of the popular treats sold by vendors here are the popular pad Thai, chicken satay, fried bananas, fresh fruit shakes, samosas, and sweet roti to name a few, for less than $2 apiece. No matter what time of the year, the market is crowded every week without fail, so prepare yourself and try to enjoy being part of the chaos.
The market is also a popular shopping destination for arts, handicrafts, clothing, and imported products. The most popular “wat” (any place of worship except a mosque) Chiang Mai is at the top of Doi Suthep, which is a favorite destination among Buddhist travelers and followers all over the globe. Doi Suthep is a marvel of complicated religious carvings, visitors here can witnessing worship rituals, see monks praying, and also get a chance gaze over the beautiful Chiang Mai city.
#12 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Koh Pha Ngan is the fifth-largest island in Thailand and has a good mix of white-sand beaches, rolling hills, and lush jungles. Popular for its hedonistic nightlife and wild parties generally around the time of the full moon, the island is also a nature lover’s dream. If you’re looking for a party during the full moon then head to Haad Rin, once a wooden disco with 20 – 30, the bar now pulls a crowd of about 20,000-30,000 every single month!
If you happen to miss the Full Moon party make sure to check out Black Moon, Half Moon, or the Shiva Moon party guests. But if you’re looking for an escape into nature’s lap, then head out and discover the pristine waterfalls and calm beaches that Koh Pha Ngan has to offer. This is not all, Koh Pha Ngan has amazing night markets to fill up on tasty Thai food and yoga centers to help uncover Koh Phangan’s spiritual heart. With so much happening here, it is definitely among the top places to visit in Thailand.
#13 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Another very popular beach destination, Railay located in the Krabi province is the absolute best spot for rock climbing, kayaking, and active diving in Thailand. This is also the perfect destination if you’re looking for places to visit in Thailand for a laid-back rest in the middle of your holiday. Railay delivers on promises of turquoise-blue water, white sand and the feeling of absolute bliss. With karst peaks Railay draws adventurers both novice and experienced, ready to climb the towering limestone cliffs.
The beach is also well-known for its kayaking, ocean rafting, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Tourists who are not so much into adventure sports can try their hand at learning some local cuisines by joining cooking classes or indulge in a rejuvenating massage session. While at Railay, don’t forget to check out the Diamond Cave also known as Tham Phra Nang Nai, which can be reached via a beautiful trail where visitors can do some exploring between stretches of sunbathing.
#14 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
The Similan Islands located in the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea just off the coast of Phang Nga province is another top destination in places to visit in Thailand for snorkeling and diving. Similian Islands are a group of nine gorgeous islands that have unique geological importance as they were formed by hot magma. The waters here have an abundance of underwater features and fascinating marine life. While many tourists opt for day tours, to make the most of this experience, passionate divers often opt for spending several days on a live-aboard vessel.
Hot spots like Elephant Head Rock and East of Eden are very popular among experienced divers. The island has dense forests, picturesque white-sand beaches, interesting rock formations, and fishing spots. If you’re planning a trip to The Similan Islands, try to avoid making plans between mid-May and mid-October as the islands are generally closed to visitors.
Phi Phi Islands
#15 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Phi Phi islands are located in the Krabi Province and consist of a group of six islands. The two popular islands here are Ko Phi Phi Don which is the only island that has permanent inhabitants and the Ko Phi Phi Leh which is smaller in size but has gained popularity after the shoot of the 2000 movie “The Beach”. Most of the travelers visiting these islands participate in a variety of water recreation activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving while the others go here to relax and enjoy the beaches.
These islands also feature beautiful shorelines, striking cliffs, and thick forests which make it one of the must-see places to visit in Thailand. Koh Phi Phi Islands hosts one of the most extravagant New Year parties in the country with thousands of tourists coming here from around the world to have a time of their life. The island was severely hit by the Tsunamis in 2004, but since then restaurants, markets, and guesthouses have been rebuilt and made open to the public.
Mae Hong Son
#16 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Most of the travelers who are fond of adventure must have heard about Mae Hong Son. Regarded as the best places to visit in Thailand for thrill-seekers, Mae Hong Son is ideal for those who love to race and ride bikes! Most bikers would have tried stunts on plain straight roads, but this province raises the standards with its 1,864 curves. The curves and loops in Northern Thailand are very dangerous and risky, which is why people who do not have that strong heart are advised not to come here.
People from the Shan ethnic group are a majority here as Mae Hong Son and Myanmar share a border. Once a popular hippie hangout, Mae Hong Son has become popular among tourists for some interesting highlights which include the waterfalls, Pai canyon, hiking, hot springs, and tubing along the river.
#17 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Nakhon Ratchasima is a large province which is located in Northeast Thailand. Popular for the UNESCO-listed Khao Yai National Park, the province also has abundant wildlife, hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, tranquil campsites, and stunning views making it one of Thailand’s most sought-after natural areas. Other spots in the province like Wang Nam Khiao attract crowds who appreciate great air quality and spectacular scenery.
Nakhon Ratchasima is also home to one of Thailand’s most beautiful temple, Wat Ban Rai in Khun Thot District. The temple is built in the shape of an elephant and sits on its own small artificial island. Nakhon Ratchasima is filled with incredible hiking spots, tranquil waterfalls, natural beauty, and is also home to 112 mammal species and over 320 bird species.
#18 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Koh Chang is a fairly large island off the coast of Trat, offering everything that is expected from a good island like sandy beaches, soaring mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush jungles, and many other activities to enjoy nature. Koh Chang also has some of the best beaches like White Sand Beach, Hat Khlong Phrao, Kai Bae Beach, and Lonely Beach. Tourists can also take boat rides to the neighboring islands of Koh Mak and koh Kut, massage parlors here are pretty famous for the traditional Thai massage which is an amazing way to detox after a day of activity. As an island, there is a wide selection of fresh and delicious seafood to satisfy your palates. There is variety in accommodations as well, ranging from backpacker dorms to high-class luxury resorts.