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Top Attractions in Thailand

Thailand is a country that is rich in culture and beauty. So sometimes trying to decide where you want to go and what you want to see while in Thailand can be time-consuming and difficult. Based on our own experience and the experiences of our customers, here are some of our favorite attractions across Thailand, from Bangkok all the way to the beaches of Phuket.

Highlights

  • In Bangkok, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew are stunning places and to visit them helps understand Thai history and culture.
  • Also, while in Bangkok, many travelers like to see the Jim Thompson House to learn more about Thai architecture an art.
  • If you are interested in the ruins of the capitals of ancient kingdoms, you can visit Ayutthaya Historical Park or Sukhothai Historical Park.
  • Like history and WWII? The Death Railway and Bridge over the River Kwai are great ways to see famous historical sites.
  • Our favorite attractions near Chiang Mai include the Elephant Nature Park, Doi Inthanon, and the Golden Triangle.
  • Want to hit the beach? Check out Bophut in Koh Samui and Bangtao in Phuket.

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok

The Grand Palace and the Wat Phra Kaew complex are the number one tourist attraction in Bangkok, due to its beautiful architecture, spiritual significance, and historical importance.

The Grand Palace was the home of the kings of Siam for over 150 years. Today, the building is not used as much by the Thai royal family, but the importance of the area still remains. The architecture of the Grand Palace is enchanting and it is a must-see when you are in Thailand.

Within the precincts of the Grand Palace is Wat Phra Kaew which is commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Famous throughout Asia for its spiritual importance, this temple is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists who want to see the famous Buddha statue that was carved from a single block of jade.

Jim Thompson House in Bangkok

The Jim Thompson House is a famous spot for Bangkok visitors because it excellently showcases traditional Thai architecture and home design. Built by Jim Thompson, the American CIA agent turned silk trader who mysteriously disappeared in the 1960s, the house is just as mysterious as it is beautiful.

A museum now, the house itself consists of six teak Thai-styled buildings and is full of ancient Asian objects from Thailand, China, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Walking through the house, visitors will be able to see paintings, sculptures, and other rare items, which were part of Jim Thompson's personal collection.

Ayutthaya Historical Park

Ayutthaya Historical Park is located near Bangkok and is what remains of the capital city of the ancient Ayutthaya Kingdom which existed from 1351 to 1767. During the existence of the Kingdom, many grand and historically important temples were built in Ayutthaya. Today, this area is a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its cultural and historical importance.

The Ayutthaya Historical Park covers a 715-acre area full of impressive ruins of temples and palaces. The best way to see the park is to take a tour or rent a bike in order to see as many of the famous temples as possible. 

Some of our personal favorite sites in the park include Wat Phra Si Sapphet, Wat Mongkhon Bophit, and Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit, where the largest bronze Buddha statue is located.

Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhothai used to be the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries and is located in Northern Thailand. The park includes the remains of 21 different historical sites inside the city walls. However, a lot of the most impressive and large ruins are located outside the city walls.

The park is quite a large place and it is best to explore it by bicycle or car. One of the great things about Sukhothai Park is that, although it is popular with tourists, because it covers such a large area, it is still comparatively quiet and peaceful.

Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai

The Siam-Burma Railway (also known as Death Railway) is a 415-kilometer stretch of railroad that runs between Thailand and Myanmar. This railway was built by the Japanese Army during WWII and became notorious due to it being built by the forced labor of British, Australian, Dutch, and American prisoners of war. During the construction of the railway, more than 16,000 prisoners died of various sicknesses and malnourishment.

The railway passes through a small town in Thailand called Kanchanaburi which has a war museum and is also the location of the real Bridge over the River Kwai. Although the true bridge looks much different than the one in the movie and goes by a different name, many people visit the site to see the inspiration behind the famous story.

The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai

The Elephant Nature Park is becoming well-known to travelers throughout the world and there is good reason why. Unlike other elephant parks that force breeding, use bullhooks, or allow guests to ride the elephants, the Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary for elephants who were mistreated or abused in the past. Here the elephants live peaceful happy lives and have ethical interaction with park visitors.

The focus of the park is to give travelers the incredible experience of interacting with these wonderful and gentle giants by caring for them. Visitors can choose from half-day or overnight visits, during which they can feed, bathe, and hike with the elephants.

Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai

Doi Inthanon is Thailand's highest peak, sitting at 2,565 meters (8,415 feet) above sea level and it is one of the country's hidden treasures. Due to its altitude, the mountain area and surrounding national park have much cooler weather than other places in Thailand, and so it is a great break from the sweltering heat of Chiang Mai. 

The beauty of Doi Inthanon park is undeniable, with lush green forests, beautiful rivers, and picturesque waterfalls which can all be seen on the many trails through the 482 square kilometers of the park. This park is also home to some unique and disappearing Northern Hilltribes of Thailand, who are trying to resettle the area and maintain their traditional culture.

The Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai

Located northeast of Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle is known for its views of the surrounding rolling hills and also as the place where the countries of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos all meet. Standing on the Thai side of the borders, visitors can see all three countries, the mighty Mekong River, hills dotted with small villages, and the beautiful hilltop temples in the distance.

There are plenty of ways that visitors can experience this area of Thailand, including taking a boat ride to get close to all three nations, visiting the large golden Buddha located in the nearby Wat Phra That Pu Khao, and visitors can also take a peek at the nearby House of Opium Museum.

Bophut in Koh Samui

Bophut is one of the few remaining places on Koh Samui that still has some of the island's original Chinese culture and atmosphere. The Bophut area even still has an authentic and well-preserved Fisherman's Village, located in the middle section of the beach.

While other fisherman’s villages on the island have been turned into tourist traps, Bophut has managed to maintain the original charm of their village, with streets lined by old wooden Chinese shop-houses.

Besides the draw of an authentic island experience, Bophuts 2-kilometer long white-sand beach that is fringed by palm trees is the perfect place to relax. The calm waters of the area also make for great water sports.

Bangtao in Phuket

Bangtao has something for every beachgoer, from luxury resorts and villas to more mid-range options. Bangtao beach is the second largest beach in Phuket, over 8-kilometers long. It has plenty of space for large resorts but also plenty of natural scenery. 

During the high season, the waters near Bangtao are calm and perfect for swimming as well as watersports. The waters near the northern end of the beach are often rougher and offer a good opportunity for surfers.

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