25 Amazing Things to Do in Thailand
Thailand is certainly one of the most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia. Especially travelers who visit the so called “Land of Smiles” for the first time are overwhelmed by the incredible variety of fantastic attractions and all the amazing things to do in Thailand. The paradise island world around Krabi, the lively metropolis of Bangkok, magnificent temples, breathtaking beaches, colorful markets and beautiful national parks are just a few of the highlights to explore. One trip alone is often not enough to experience all the beautiful places in Thailand. Therefore, many come again and again.
In order for you not to lose track, we have compiled an ultimate travel list of the best things to do in Thailand. Additionally, there are a lot of wonderful pictures, but of course also information and insider tips that will help you plan an unforgettable Thailand itinerary.
One of the most famous attractions in Thailand is the beautiful Wat Arun in Bangkok, also known as the Temple of Dawn. This extremely impressive temple complex is located directly by the Chao Phraya River and the journey by ferry is a great experience that you should definitely have had on any trip to Bangkok. Of particular interest is the outstanding architecture of the white temple, the tallest tower, which rises about 70 meters into the air and, thus, shapes the landscape of Bangkok at the river.
Royal Palace & Wat Phra Kaeo
As astonishing as the Wat Arun are the other two great highlights of every city tour through Bangkok, the Royal Palace (Grand Palace) and the temple complex Wat Phra Kaeo. In addition to the Grand Palace, the palace grounds consist of more than 100 impressive buildings, including the magnificent temple complex of Wat Phra Kaeo, better known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. During a tour you can marvel at the countless shiny golden towers, the elaborately decorated figures, magnificent mosaics and the many beautiful Buddha statues.
Ayutthaya (City of Temples)
The temple city of Ayutthaya is also highly recommended and certainly one of the most interesting places to see in Thailand. In its heyday, 3 royal palaces, over 375 temples and 29 forts shaped the cityscape and, in fact, you can still find a huge number of ancient temples and spectacular historical attractions inside the Ayutthaya Historical Park. Probably the most famous attraction here is the stone Buddha head, which has grown in a tree and has become a popular photo motif on Thai postcards.
Railay Beach & Phra Nang Beach (Krabi)
Another top attraction in Thailand is the magnificent Railay Beach and the neighboring Phra Nang Beach in Krabi. These dream beaches are located on a peninsula, which is cut off from the mainland with spectacular limestone cliffs and deep jungles. Here you can swim in the water of the most famous beaches in Thailand, which can often be found in various travel magazines. This place has long ceased to be an insider tip, but nevertheless, the entire beach scenery is simply stunning and a visit to Railay is therefore a must on every trip to Krabi!
Rooftop Bars in Bangkok
One of the ultimate best things to do in Thailand is definitely a visit to one of the many cool sky bars in Bangkok. From the dizzying heights of the skyscrapers you will enjoy a fantastic view of Thailand’s vibrant capital with a delicious cocktail or dinner. The most famous rooftop bar is probably that of the Lebua State Tower, where scenes from the film Hangover were filmed.
But also the Char Rooftop Bar, Octave Rooftop Bar, the Banyan Tree Bangkok, the Red Sky Centara and not to forget the gigantic King Power Mahanakhon Tower, the tallest building in the city with 314 meters, aren’t less spectacular and worth a visit!
Khao Sok National Park
Another popular place to visit in Thailand is the breathtakingly beautiful Khao Sok National Park in the south of the country. Unique are the huge limestone cliffs, the deep jungle with tropical waterfalls and the picturesque Chiao-Lan Lake, a reservoir in the middle of the jungle. A variety of exciting tours and excursions are offered during a visit. From jungle hikes, cave tours, elephant bathing and boat trips on the lake, everything can be experienced here, and so the Khao Sok National Park guarantees a lot of unforgettable travel moments.
Tip: Beautiful, and a real holiday highlight is an overnight stay in one of the so-called floating bungalows, an accommodation located directly in the most beautiful Lake Chiao-Lan.
Koh Phi Phi & Maya Bay
Some of the most impressive places that the Thai island world has to offer can definitely be found on Koh Phi Phi. Here, dream beaches of the highest class await you, of course including powdered sugar-fine sand and turquoise blue sea colors. This island group consists of 2 islands, Koh Phi Phi Leh and Koh Phi Phi Don, but only the latter is a tourist magnet. The most famous beach of the country, the popular Maya Bay, where the famous film “The Beach” was shot, is, on the other hand, located on Koh Phi Phi Leh. This place can only be reached by boat tour.
Another highlight in the Thai capital is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho. It is one of the most important temple complexes in Bangkok and all the country, which makes a visit one of the best things to do in Thailand. On a tour through the huge area you will discover a lot of beautiful sights: brightly decorated chedis, golden Buddha statues, a massage school, beautiful murals, guardian statues and many different temple buildings.
The ultimate centerpiece of the Wat Pho Temple is the approximately 46 meter long reclining Buddha, which attracts thousands of visitors every day, making the temple one of the TOP attractions in Bangkok.
Sukhothai Historical Park
Fascinating and another highlight among the most beautiful sights of Thailand is the romantic Historical Park in Sukhothai, often known as the cradle of Thailand. This impressive historical park, which is also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, enchants with ancient ruins, fascinating temple complexes and huge ancient Buddha statues. Sukhothai is an insider tip for culture enthusiasts. During a tour, you can follow the traces of the Thai and the Khmer up close and immerse yourself in the history of the country.
For many, one of the most exciting activities you can do in Thailand is a visit to an elephant sanctuary. These were mostly built by associations that are committed to protect former working elephants. During a visit, one often has the opportunity to bathe with the pachyderms, feed them and interact with them. Please make sure that elephant rides and dubious elephant shows are avoided. Most of the recommended Elephant Sanctuaries are located in the north of Thailand, but some great projects, such as the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary have also been set up in the south of the country.
The beautiful Similan Islands are a national park consisting of 9 islets, which are located around 60 kilometers off the coast of Khao Lak. The waters around the Similan Islands are considered to be one of the best places in Thailand for snorkeling and diving. Visitors are amazed by the almost kitschy turquoise blue sea, and also the fine white sandy beaches with the mighty granite rock formations are a real highlight of this island world. As part of the Mu Ko Similan National Park, these islands are under environmental protection and can therefore only be reached via a day trip.
Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Island)
Another exceptionally beautiful attraction is the famous James Bond island of Khao Phing Kan with its spectacular rock needle. This magical place is located in the south of Thailand, specifically in Phang Nga Bay and can be explored on a day trip from Krabi, Phuket and Khao Lak. But not only this rock formation is worth seeing, the nature in this region is more than spectacular. The Phang Nga Bay has been part of the Marine National Park since 1981 and offers beautiful mangrove forests along the coastline, which can also be explored very well by kayak.
Kanchanaburi, the city in western Thailand, is best known for the Death Railway, which was built by prisoners of war during the Second World War. This railway line still runs from Bangkok to the west of the country and crosses the famous bridge on the Kwai. You can spend several days here in Kanchanaburi, because the surrounding area also has other interesting sights, such as the Erawan Waterfall in the Erawan National Park, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.
Lopburi (Monkey town)
Another fantastic spot on our list of the best places to visit in Thailand is the town of Lopburi in the north of Bangkok. This place is famous for its monkeys, which live around the monkey temple, the Prang Sam Yod temple. It is estimated that there are more than 1000 monkeys at home here in the city. But Lopburi has even more interesting things to offer! A stroll through the old town reveals ancient Khmer-style temple ruins, Buddhist temples with shiny Buddha statues and a very authentic weekly market.
The fantastically beautiful island of Koh Phangan is definitely one of the most amazing highlights in Thailand. It’s best known for the legendary Full Moon Party, which attracts time travelers from all over the world every month at full moon. But not only this event makes the island so popular, especially the almost untouched nature and the beaches in Koh Phangan are absolutely spectacular. Hardly anywhere in Thailand is the density of dream beaches greater. You will also find other great attractions here, such as beautiful waterfalls, pretty temples and brilliant viewpoints.
Doi Suthep National Park
One of the most beautiful things to do in the north of Thailand is a visit to the picturesque Doi Suthep National Park. This magnificent nature reserve is located in the mountains just behind the city of Chiang Mai, and a lot of attractions await you on an excursion. The main place to see in the national park is the famous golden temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. At least as interesting are the many beautiful waterfalls, the beautiful landscape, the royal palace complex Bhubing Palace and not to forget the quaint Hmong Village, embedded in a picturesque mountain backdrop.
Koh Tao Island is the smallest in the Gulf of Thailand and one of the country’s ultimate diving meccas. Backpackers in particular, but also individual travelers love to spend their holidays here. On this islet, snorkeling enthusiasts and divers can expect a real paradise! There are numerous fantastic diving and snorkeling spots around Koh Tao. On some beaches there is even a small reef just a few meters away.
Old Town & Temples of Chiang Mai
Another popular attraction in Thailand is the old town of Chiang Mai with its many magnificent temple complexes. Here in the city center, there are Buddhist sites to be discovered every few meters. Some of these holy places offer meditation courses, in others you can chat with monks about questions of life in the so called “Monk Chat”. The most beautiful temples of Chiang Mai are definitely the Wat Chedi Luang, with its pyramid-like architecture, the Wat Phra Singh with the golden pagoda and the Wat Sri Suphan – a temple that is completely kept in silver.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Another highlight near Chiang Mai is the Doi Inthanon National Park. This national park is particularly famous for its mountain of the same name, the Doi Inthanon, which, with 2,565 meters, is the highest mountain in Thailand. On a national park tour you will explore many lovely places, such as a magnificent landscape with rice fields, gigantic waterfalls and dense jungle, and not to forget an imposing temple complex. These two royal pagodas are the symbols of Doi Inthanon and a real eye-catcher.
Tip: An unforgettable experience and a real insider tip is to stay in a bungalow in the green rice fields of the region.
Koh Lanta is located in the south of Thailand, more precisely on the west coast of the Andaman Sea. For years, this island has been one of the insider tips among backpackers and Thailand experts and even today, this Andaman pearl is a real highlight for travelers in Thailand. As part of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, this island stands for picturesque nature, miles of dream beaches, paradisiacal bays, deep jungles and incredibly beautiful sunsets. In addition, Koh Lanta offers an incredibly relaxed hippie flair, countless cozy beach bars, an interesting old town and many unforgettable activities.
White Temple in Chiang Rai
The White Temple in Chiang Rai, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is definitely one of the most famous things to see in Thailand. This magnificent temple shines uniquely beautiful completely in white and captivates with its unusual architecture. The visit inside the temple complex is also really interesting: murals show demons, flames, the burning twin towers, Michael Jackson, Batman and Freddy Krueger. Harry Potter and Superman have also been immortalized in this temple.
Another beautiful place and especially popular for tours through Thailand is the Golden Triangle in the Chiang Rai region. This is where the countries of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet. You should definitely take a trip to Chiang Saen to the “Golden Triangle Viewpoint”. From this attraction you can enjoy a wonderful view over the landscape, the Golden Triangle and the Mekong River.
This area is home to a variety of ethnic groups, the localities which are referred to as hilltribe villages. In the past, opium was grown here, which is illustrated in the Opium Museum today. Also the beautiful Choui Fong Tea Plantation should not be missed on a trip to the Golden Triangle.
Koh Lipe, the tiny island paradise in the south, is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. The beaches and the intact underwater world are really unique here. The surrounding coral reefs make Koh Lipe a popular spot for divers! You can also find some of the best snorkeling spots in the country here. But also backpackers and individual travelers love this breathtaking island.
Particularly impressive are the fantastic beaches with their white powdery-fine sand and the turquoise blue sea colors that characterize the image of Koh Lipe. An island pearl that you definitely have to see on any trip to Thailand!
Visiting a floating market is a must on every trip to Thailand. More than 50 of these floating markets have settled in and around Bangkok. Even if you don’t necessarily want to shop, it’s worth taking a close look at the hustle and bustle of these extraordinary markets and tasting Thai food right here.
The most famous floating market is probably the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which is located outside of Bangkok. A real insider tip is the still very authentic Taling Chan Floating Market, which is located right in the center of Bangkok.
The island of Koh Samui is particularly popular in Thailand. Famous as a holiday island, there are countless attractions to discover in addition to the wonderful beaches in Kof Samui. Highlights include the huge Big Buddha Temple, Wat Plai Laem and the roaring Na Muang waterfall. There are also countless other attractions and exciting activities on the island. The good selection of brilliant accommodations and hotels make a holiday on Koh Samui just perfect.
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