Home Thailand Travel GuideHow to Avoid Tourist Crowds in Thailand

How to Avoid Tourist Crowds in Thailand

Visiting a country and its tourist attractions is always a good experience. However, this experience can be greatly enhanced by avoiding big crowds. Who doesn’t want to have a white-sand beach all for oneself, or to wander around temples without being surrounded by masses of tourists?

Most tourists head to Thailand between November and February (the country’s high season);so avoiding crowds at that time will be difficult. The best way to do it is to avoid the busiest hours of the day, usually in the middle of the morning (10:30am - 12:00pm). Head to your destination as early as possible, especially when visiting temples and other popular spots.

When visiting the islands, avoid the most popular spots in Phuket, filled with backpackers and loud music, but head to small paradises like Freedom Beach. The same is true for Koh Samui; Mae Nam and especially TalingNgamare the most quiet places on the island.

Here is a quick guide about how to avoid tourist crowds when visiting Thailand.

Quick Facts

  • 9:30 - 10:30am and 12:00 -14:00pm are usually the busiest times.
  • 8 - 9am and 5 - 6:30pm are usually the most quiet times.
  • High Season in Thailand goes from November to February.
  • Low Season goes from March/April to October.
  • There are many temples that are a must-see for every tourist. Try to choose some overlooked ones, and you will easily avoid dozens of tourists.
  • Early in the morning is the best time to visit the historical parks of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya.
  • Choose the more quiet beaches in Phuket and avoid tourist trap beaches like Patong.

The Most Crowded Places

The Land of Smiles has much to offer. From stunning islands to fascinating ruins, you will find everything. And all these places are popular, and thus full of tourists most of the time.

In some widely considered “must-see” places, avoiding the crowds will be hard. The beaches inPhuket and Koh Samui, the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Doi Suthepin Chiang Mai, the Historical Parks inAyutthaya and Sukhothai are all beautiful places that no one wants to miss.

With a little bit of preparation and knowledge, you can easily visit the most popular places without having to deal with too many people. Here are our suggestions about how to try to avoid crowds in some popular places.

Choose the Right Time

Choosing the right time is maybe the best tip we can give you. When we talk about time, we talk about two factors: time of year and time of day.

High season in Thailand goes from November to February, and it is of course the busiest time. Many tourists choose to travel during these months because of the nice weather (almost no rainfall, good temperatures). Low season, on the other side, goes from March to October. The low season is hot, with heavy rains, and sometimes this can be a problem when travelling in the country.

The time of day is another big factor. For example, when visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok,the main attraction of the city, choosing the right time will help avoid big crowds. Most tourists head there right after breakfast (9-10:30am) or at lunch time (12-14:30pm). These times see the peak visiting times, while early in the morning or late in the afternoon are pretty quiet.

A rule of thumb valid for most attractions is to visit them one or two hours before closing time. Most people will already have finished their tour, and they will be heading home, and you can enjoy the site without the usual crowds and, if it is outdoors, at a nice temperature and the comfortable light of the setting sun.

Enjoy the Historical Park of Ayutthaya Early in the Morning

The historical park of Ayutthaya is (rightfully) on the bucket list of many tourists visiting Thailand.

As with many other sites, the most crowded period is during high season, and the most crowded time of day is from 10am - 12pm.

If you want to enjoy the park in a quiet way, the best thing to do is to get there early in the morning. The park opens at 7:30 am. Having and early breakfast and getting there before they even open is the best way to avoid crowds. What’s more, temperatures early in the day will be cooler, and the blue light of the morning is perfect for your pictures.

Beside the must-see temples, there are a few that are often ignored by big groups of tourists. For example, Wat Thammikarat and its lion sculptures; Wat Lokayasutharam, hosting a huge reclining Buddha; or Wat Maheyong, with Buddha statues and ruins of elephant sculptures. They are not part of the most important complex in the park, but surely worth a visit.

Step Away from the Crowds in Chiang Mai

The once capital of the Lan Na Kingdom hosts more than 300 Buddhist temples and is a popular touristic destination. The city is nice, not too big, perfect to explore at a slow pace, maybe by bike. Visiting it can be a fascinating experience, but the crowds can take something away from it.

Riding a bike is the best way to explore the city. You can stop whenever you want and choose your own pace. Some tours in Chiang Mai will take you out of the city-center to explore the small back roads (soi in Thai) away from the noisy streets. Here you will find temples, markets, food vendors, and farmland, all immersed in a peace you wouldn’t think possible in such a touristic city.

Wat Srisuphan – The Silver Temple

Among the many temples, there is one that is often overlooked by tourists. The Silver Temple, south of Chiang Mai’s Old Town, is entirely made of silver, and its structure offers many examples of the complex work of the artisans.

The Silver Temple also offers a wonderful opportunity to have a chat with the monks. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, at 5pm, visitors can sit down to chat with the monks and learn more about Buddhism.

Wat Umong

Another temple that can give you a break from the masses is Wat Umong, a quiet temple complex on Suthep Mountain. The stupa is surrounded by giant trees and some parts of it are covered with moss.

The name of the temple comes from a series of tunnels (umong in Thai) that were built underneath it. You can explore them on a slow walk, discovering altars and shrines. On the small lake near the temple, you can feed the ducks. It is an overlooked place to find peace of mind.

A Quieter Side of Phuket

Phuket is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the whole country, still, it is possible at least to avoid the biggest crowds if you take the following into consideration:

First of all, try to avoid high season. The best time to enjoy these beaches without too many people is from May to October. Temperatures will be pretty high, and there will be some chance of rain. However, it will be bright and sunny most of the time, and beaches will have fewer tourists than during high season.

Avoid tourist trap beaches likePatong, packed with tourists, watersport activities, and loud music throughout the day. Instead, head to Freedom Beach. You can access it on foot (or by a 10 minute boatride), and the small journey is totally worth it. It is a beautiful bay with white sand beaches set against the gorgeous background of a green forest. Other similar places are Banana Beach and Layan Beach.

Pristine Beaches in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is another popular island, and it is easy to find a lot of people on the most visited beaches. However, it is also easy to find more quiet beaches and enjoy their silence and beauty.

The most famous beaches of the island are Lamai and Chaweng, and both are incredibly crowded in high season.

On the other side, Mae Nam, in the north of the island, is far away from the crowds and the roads. Here you can relax under the shade of a palm tree, or swim in the clear sea. The beach is popular among the most relaxed tourists, and there are cafes, bars, and restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal.

TalingNgam is quiet as well. It is a small fishing village where you can enjoy still waters and a pristine beach, and explore the pure lakes surrounded by stunning jungle. This part of the island hasn’t experienced the same kind of development as other areas, and it is perfect to enjoy a peaceful time.

The Asia Highlights Experience

The planning phase of your trip is crucial. If you choose the right itinerary, you will be able to get the best out of your trip, visiting all those wonderful places you have been dreaming about, while avoiding all the annoying problems. Booking with Asia Highlights means relying on knowledgeable staff that will craft the perfect trip for you and your loved ones.

Check out the following links and learn more about our tours:

13-Day Essence of Thailand Tour: Far More beyond Temples

14-Day Myanmar and Thailand Essence Tour: Travel in Smiles

15-Day Myanmar, Thailand and Bali Honeymoon: Creating Memories Together