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As the land of smiles, temples, beaches, and spices, Thailand has become an increasingly attractive destination for all types of travelers. More and more locations are opening up to tourism and more and more information is available on the internet.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide where you want to go within Thailand when each blogger says something different. But don't worry; we have you covered! With multiple years of experience creating Thailand tours for our customers, we understand which destinations help our travelers to see the essence of Thailand and come away with a meaningful and beautiful experience.
Below are our suggestions for the must-see destinations in Thailand.
Bangkok is probably the first city you will visit when arriving in Thailand. It is famous for its interesting mixture of modernity and ancient roots, with huge mega-malls sitting next to 200-year-old temples and villages. This city emulates what it means to be Thai in the modern age.
Bangkok is also the capital of Thai street food and markets and it is an incredible place to explore. Here are some of our suggestions for what to do in Bangkok.
The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Pagoda is the number one tourist attraction in Bangkok, due to its beautiful architecture, spiritual significance, and historical importance.
Home to the Thai King for 150 years, the Grand Palace has had a constant stream of visitors in awe of its beauty and intricate detail. The oldest buildings in the complex are built in the classic Siamese style. The area includes many types of buildings such as throne halls, royal residences, temples, and government offices; each is unique but beautifully made.
In previous decades, the canals of Bangkok were teaming with people in boats, selling and buying goods. Currently, floating markets are not as important to modern Thai people, but they are still a cherished and beautiful tradition that can be witnessed in Bangkok's canals.
There are many floating markets in Bangkok, but we typically suggest heading to Damnoen Saduak for a fantastic day trip and incredible photo opportunities, as the canals are full of brightly colored boats, from where sellers with bamboo hats hawk their fruit.
Thailand's oldest and most visited national park, Khao Yai, is definitely worth the time, as it includes the largest remaining monsoon forests in Asia and some of the only herds of wild Asian elephants left on earth.
Besides elephants, visitors can also catch a glimpse of other rare creatures such as macaques, tigers, bears, leopards, pythons and many more. There is even a Siamese crocodile in the park which likes to relax in the same pool within the park.
The Amulet Market is an interesting relic of a time when people were more superstitious. Still today, Bangkok's men who have dangerous jobs go to this market to buy an amulet that they believe will protect them from danger.
This market is often filled with visitors and local buyers alike, all of which sift through the large piles of amulets until they find the special medallion that will bless them with protection, health or wealth.
Chiang Rai is a small but delightful city that is often skipped or overlooked in favor of Chiang Mai. However, Chiang Rai has plenty of advantages and reasons to visit, including its relaxed atmosphere, the collection of impressive temples, great cuisine, and its historical importance as the ancient capital of the Mengrai Dynasty.
The golden triangle is the area in Northern Thailand where the countries of Laos, Burma and Thailand meet, separated by the Mekong River. Historically, the area was famous for its opium trade, but today the people there make most of their money from tourism.
While visiting the Golden Triangle, travelers will not only be able to look across three separate countries, but also take in the beautiful hilly landscape that is spotted with rice terraces.
Wat Rong Khun sits just outside of Chiang Rai and is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. Having white, intricately carved facades and white walls that are decorated with reflective glass, this temple is simply breathtaking.
Wat Rong Khun was designed by Kositpipat who combined profound religious influence with his philosophical interpretations. Because of this, the White Temple is unlike any other temple in Thailand and is often enjoyed even by people who have seen thousands of temples, due to its uniqueness and inspiring message.
Chiang Mai is a modern city with an ancient, historic center. Surrounded by beautiful green mountains that are full of some of Thailand's smaller hill tribes, Chiang Mai is one of the most popular cities to visit. It is also a great place for ethical elephant sanctuaries, for those who would like to visit or volunteer.
Wat Chai Mongkol was built over 600 years ago, making it one of the oldest community monasteries in Chiang Mai. The temple is located along a river in a scenic area and holds many religious artifacts that are of Burmese, Lao and Chinese origin.
With its beautiful Burmese-Mon architecture, this temple is a great place to stop and relax.
Located near the famous Warorot Market, Ton Lam Yai Flower Market is a fragrant and colorful market, full of flower stalls selling freshly-cut flowers. The florists artistically arrange their flowers into elaborate bouquets for homes and festivals. They also sell simple bouquets and single flowers. The whole area of the market smells of jasmine.
The market is open 24/7 but the best time to visit is in the evening or early morning, because you can beat the heat and also witness the flower deliveries; farmers from outside the city drive in trucks full of freshly-cut blooms.
Phuket is famous for being one of the world's most beautiful beaches. With white sands, swapping palm trees and beautiful clear waters, it is easy to see why the area is so popular. There are hundreds of hotels to choose from and many options for beaches, including anything from quiet and serene to party atmosphere.
Even though there are many places to stay in Phuket, the one place we suggest is Kata Beach. Kata Beach has it all, including beautiful scenery, clean waters, soft seabed, and good snorkeling and surfing opportunities.
Furthermore, the atmosphere of Kata is laid-back and relaxed. There are plenty of options for delicious food and refreshing drinks near the beach and it never gets too crowded, unlike some other beaches in the area.
Phang Nga Bay is located north of Phuket, near Phang Nga Province, but is easily reachable from Phuket by boat. Most visitors take a cruise or even take a kayak to go exploring this incredible area of Thailand.
Phang Nga Bay is one of the most popular day trips in Phuket due to its incredibly picturesque landscape. The bay has beautiful blue waters that are speckled with towering limestone islands.
While exploring, you can take some time to stop at some of the popular island beaches and even check out Koh Tapu, which was made famous by the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”.
Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s largest and most visited islands and has continued to be very popular with travelers, due to its lively yet relaxed atmosphere and the variety of beaches to suit any traveler.
Koh Samui offers plenty to do, including incredible resorts, watersports, nightlife, and even diving near some spectacular coral reefs.
Maenam Beach is one of our favorites on Koh Samui because it offers visitors plenty of things to do, but it is never too crowded and has that relaxed and sleepy atmosphere that many beach vacationers love.
Maenam Beach is located on the north coast of the island, and therefore has calm and perfect waters for swimming. The view is beautiful too, with hills of mainland Thailand in the distance. If you get board of the beach, you can visit the Wat Na Phra Lan Buddhist temple or walk through the nearby Fisherman’s Village.
Need help making the perfect itinerary for your trip, so that you can see all of the must-see destinations Thailand has to offer? At Asia Highlights our experts are very experienced at planning tailor-made itineraries to give each of our customers the experience that is perfect for their wants and needs. To get started, send us an email.