Thailand is one of the most visited nations on the planet, seeing more than 35 million travelers yearly. Thailand is a fabulous, diverse country that is famous for many things. From white sandy beaches and terrific hotels to historic temples and mouthwatering food, there's simply too much on offer for visitors in this tropical paradise.
If you're still not sold on the idea of visiting the country, and if you find yourself wondering what it is that truly distinguishes Thailand from other tropical getaways around the globe, here are 18 reasons why the Kingdom is such a popular spot among travelers.
1. Stunning Beaches and Famous Diving Spots
Thailand's most impressive natural feature has got to be its islands and beaches. With over 2,400 km (1,500 miles) of coastline and almost 1,000 islands, you will find an island or beach to love, whether you want to party till dawn, learn to dive, or escape from the world on a secluded, romantic break.
There are so many islands on both the west and east coasts of Thailand. On the west coast of Thailand, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Phi Phi are famous for their well-developed facilities and plentiful activities; Koh Lipe and Koh Lanta have incredibly clear water with stunning coral reefs to snorkel over.
On the east coast of Thailand, islands like Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan, and Ko Tao have stunning remote beaches where you can escape the crowds.
2. Buddhism, Monks, and Temples
Thailand is famous for being one of the most devoted Buddhist countries. Around 94% of Thailand's population are Buddhists. There are over 40,000 Buddhist temples and sanctuaries in Thailand, and about 300,000 monks.
No matter which part of the country you find yourself in, there are always temples, shrines, and pagodas for you to visit. The most famous Buddhist sanctuaries in Thailand are Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, the White Temple in Chiang Rai, and Wat Ratburana in Ayutthaya.
Elephant riding in Thailand was all the rage. In recent years, however, a number of elephant sanctuaries have been set up, in which elephants are free to roam around without being tortured or kept in chains. Instead of riding the elephants, visitors can feed them or bathe them in the river. Chiang Mai is one of the best places to have a close encounter with elephants. See the Best 3 Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries in Chiang Mai.
WOW! I’ve traveled Asia some & I must say Sharon & Asia Highlights made this trip so much more enjoyable and easyMore
Stephen Hollis, Aug 2023
Alisa has has been great to work with
Alisa with Asia Highlights has has been great to work with. Very friendly and responsive.More
Ana Rausch, Aug 2023
Using Sharon right now to book our…
Using Sharon right now to book our upcoming trip to Thailand. She has booked everything that we asked for. Has answered all of my inquiries, which has been many! Looking forward to having a great girls trip in ThailandMore
Tracy, Aug 2023
Thailand, Singapore, Bali
In Thailand, Tanny and Nori(Suparp), were both incredible! They were both fun, funny, and full of knowledge and made sure we got the full experience. They went the extra mile and always made sure we had cold bottled water and towels to cleanse our hands. In Singapore, Nicole was an absolute gem. She was so kind and knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction to make our day as enjoyable as possible. She helped us choose a top notch local lunch and coffee spot in China Town and taught us so much about the country! In Bali, Emon was an absolute joy. He was very knowledgeable and kind and absolutely made sure we were feeling comfortable and was willing to be flexible with us. He was fun to converse with and made our time traveling between destinations so enjoyable! I cannot recommend Asia Highlights enough! Accommodations, travel arrangements and guided tours were all a breeze.More
Cassi Thunker, Jul 2023
Very supportive ! I have received eticket for Sky Lattern Festival very fastMore
Chi?n Nguy?n Ng?c, Jul 2023
My experience in Chang Mai with Asia Highlights
I greatly enjoyed my experience with Asia Highlights for a trip I booked to Thailand.All of my interests were catered too. My guide in Chang Mai Gemma was excellent.I truly felt the soul of Thailand culture and Buddhism.More
Richard, Jul 2023
A pleasure to plan with
Well, this has been a painless and pleasurable process to find such a wonderful company. I had specific dates and places to be and Sharon worked with me diligently to refine the schedule and costs to suit my travel needs and budget. She informed me of a special tour on the dates I am to be in Thailand and I added that to my previous plans.More
Chris Williams, Jul 2023
Large multi-generational holiday in Thailand
The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
CL, Jul 2023
I never used a travel agent in my life
I never used a travel agent in my life, but Sharon for Asia Highlights did a phenomenal job helping planning and coordination a family vacation. The best part of working with Sharon was that she maintained an open line of communication and provided answers to my question well within 12-24 hours. Additionally, Sharon was flexible and customized our vacation to my families needs. Overall great experience.More
Antione Barry, Jul 2023
Great company to plan a trip to Southeast Asia!
Sharon Haung has been wonderful to work with! Very patient and accommodating. Responds immediately given time change and is prepared, prompt, and professional.More
Debi Hinerfeld, Jul 2023
We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
SIMO el ghobar, Jun 2023
Wonderful Guides and Experience
Our large group arrived in Bangkok with Tanni as our guide. She was wonderful! An absolute joy to spend time with. She is knowledgeable, kind, and extremely funny. I don’t know what we would have done without her! After Bangkok, we traveled to Chang Mai, where Indy was our tour guide. She was a delight! She is kind, knowledgeable, and so patient. Our trip to Thailand was an adventure of a lifetime and these two women helped make it memorable. I would definitely use Asia Highlights for any future travel in Asia.More
Jessica Bennett, Jun 2023
Guide - Chai
We travelled from Vietnam to Bangkok and were blessed to have a guide named Chai. He was a superb guide and it is a pity we couldn't bottle him and take him home. He was very knowledgeable and an absolute gentleman. He could not have done enough to facilitate us and imparted so much knowledge about the Temples, Buddism and the History of Thailand in general. Not only did he give us a great overview of the past and current ways of living in Thailand but I also feel I came away a much better person having interacting with him. I will carry many of his teachings with me for the rest of my life and know that having met him was a very special blessing in my life.More
Customer, Jun 2023
Our guide Tanni was kind
Our guide Tanni was kind, knowledgeable, funny and beyond accommodating for our group. We felt like we'd made a friend and it enhanced our trip in the most positive way. Everything was coordinated perfectly which is not easy to do in a large traveling group. Excellent experience!More
Marissa Manson, Jun 2023
We are only on day 5 of our 15 day trip…
Our first stop so far was in Hanoi where our guide Trong was just so awesome! He shared about his culture and family life which showing us sites through a city tour. He was so funny making lots of jokes and always made sure we were having fun while learning about everything! He checked on us frequently even when we were no longer with him since we then went on a cruise in Halong Bay! Halong Bay and the cruise on Paradise Elegance went way above anything I expected. The scenery was breathtaking, the ship was so beautiful and clean with such fresh, good food! And I can’t sing enough praise for the staff who took care of us- especially Anna and Belle! They went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed every aspect from eating meals with Anna to every other detail with Belle! I highly recommend Asian Highlights to help plan these extraordinary trips! This already has been a trip of a lifetime and we still have so much more to see all thanks to Cathy!!More
Diane Creitz, Jun 2023
Tanni for the win!
14 of my closest friends and family descended upon Bangkok ready to see the town. Asia highlights and Tanni took us on a tour that changed our lives. We experienced so much everyday. Tanni was amazing! She did all the thinking for us, so we all could just be present and enjoy the moment. I can’t recommend this company, and especially Tanni enough.More
Megan McGlynn, Jun 2023
This isn't my first trip with Asia…
This isn't my first trip with Asia Highlights. They are great at helping me plan, working my requests into the itinerary, and booking it all. We travel with friends and just got back from a trip to Thailand and Vietnam. Albee did a great job with all the details and we had a wonderful time. We will use them for our next adventure!More
Katie Potesta, Jun 2023
Although we have not been our trip yet I wanted to still write a review based on customer service and the ease of booking. Alisa has been extremely prompt and responsive with planning our trip to Thailand. She has had great recommendations and guidance to add to our custom itinerary. Highly recommend using Asia highlights! -AlexMore
Alex, May 2023
I have never hear of this company…
I have never hear of this company before , and after reading all these reviews ,I decided to give it a try . The professionalism and communicative skill received by one of the agent , Sharon of Asia Highlights , convince me that She was the right travel agent for my trip in Asia . Very quickly she communicated with me and got all the detail of my desire vacation . Sharon made me a great itinerary with great experiences that I am dreaming to experience and I am looking forward to it . Thanks Sharon for been so great and crafting me a dream vacation with great suggestions.More
orge alvarez, May 2023
Coco Yang worked tirelessly to…
From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
Debbie Woods, May 2023
4. Thai Cuisine and Street Food
Thai gastronomy is highly praised worldwide. The combination of flavors, temperatures, textures, and cooking methods makes Thai food one of the most appreciated in the world. Some specialties you cannot miss are tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup), pad Thai (Thai fried noodles), and som tam (spicy papaya salad). Learn more about must-try dishes in Thailand.
Thailand also excels at street food. You'll find plenty of basic stalls where you can grab ready-to-eat meals, snacks, fruits, and drinks in Bangkok and across the country. See The Best Thai Street Food You Should Try.
5. Cheap Travel Costs
Thailand is a cheap country to live in and travel around. For a lot of things, Thailand is very cheap. A meal can be had for 1 USD in some roadside restaurants, a cheap room in a guesthouse for 10 USD or less, a domestic flight for as little as US$20 in some cases... For better quality, the price goes up, but it remains a very good value compared to Western countries.
A large number of international arrivals are backpacking budget travelers who get by on less than US$900 for a month in Thailand. See How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand and How Much.
6. The Rich History and Culture
The history of Thailand is long and complex. The earliest Thai relics date back to the Paleolithic period, some 20,000 years ago. During its long history, the country has been influenced by Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia (elements of Khmer architecture are visible in many of the earliest temples), India, and China.
Cities like Bangkok, Sukhothai, and Chiang Mai are home to many ancient ruins. Its history is also found in Thailand's many art forms, like traditional Thai dancing or Thai puppetry performances.
7. Fantastic Festivals
Thai people love festivals. There are many colorful festivals taking place around Thailand throughout the year. Many of them are derived from things like religion or the lunar calendar.
One of the most important Thai festivals is the Light Festival (Loy Krathong) held in November every year alongside the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival, which is famous for thousands of lanterns flying into the night sky.
Held in April, another culturally significant Thai festival is Songkran, during which a three-day nationwide water fight takes place. It is also known as Thai New Year and serves as a symbol of renewal in Buddhism. It is a great feeling to join in the world's biggest water fight!
8. Thai Massage
When talking about the best massage in the world, one cannot miss talking about Thailand! Thai massage is a yogic acupressure technique, which is applied all over the body, from head to toe. It is a deep, muscle-stretching massage. See The Differences: Thai Massage vs Swedish massage.
There are several types of Thai massage, including traditional Thai massage (known as yoga massage), oil massage, foot massage, and pinda (herbal, relaxing movement) massage.
They are cheap and incredibly relaxing. You can get a one-hour Thai massage for 200 THB (about 6 USD). If you are planning a trip to Thailand, you must not miss out on this fun.
Thailand is a paradise for shopaholics. Shopping in Thailand is ideal for both the big spenders and the penny pinchers.
From the premium shopping malls, night or weekend markets, to street stalls, you can buy anything from monied designer goods, silks, and antiques to bargain clothing, snacks, and souvenirs.
The most popular cities for shopping are Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, and Krabi. See Top Things to Buy in Thailand.
10. Markets (on train tracks, on water!...)
The markets in Thailand are like no others in the world. Thailand hosts a range of markets from floating markets and nighttime street markets, to markets on train tracks. Even if you do not love shopping, you should visit one of Thailand's local markets.
For the classic example, you should go to visit Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, which is the largest weekend market in Thailand, also in Asia. At the Maeklong Railway Market, you will see how vendors sell vegetables, food, and fruit on the train tracks. Or you could experience a long-tail boat ride down the canals to view Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. See more on The Top 10 Floating Markets in Bangkok.
11. Friendly Locals
If you have heard of Thailand, then you have no doubt heard of the famous Thai smile and Thai wai (the hands together mini bow). This is a big part of their culture. Thais are, in general, some of the politest and most well-mannered people you will ever meet, and this is why so many people love visiting Thailand.
One of their mottoes is mai pen rai, which means 'never mind'. Thai people's carefree attitude is one that many Westerners envy. Unlike many Westerners who tend to worry and live stressful lives, Thais tend to take stress and emotions with a pinch of salt. Even when Thais are losing in sports events, you rarely see them lose their temper and, instead, they just smile their frustration away.
Don't hesitate to ask for help when you travel around Thailand, Thais are kind and helpful, from recommending restaurants to helping with directions.
Ladyboys (kathoey in Thai) are surprisingly common in Thailand. In this open country of Thailand, ladyboys live like other Thai people. They work as hairdressers, filmmakers, sex workers, waitresses, models, and other jobs that you would usually find women doing.
In some of Thailand's main tourist areas like Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and Chiang Mai, it is possible to attend a ladyboy cabaret show or visit a ladyboy bar.
13. Parties and Nightlife
Thailand is one of the most popular party destinations in Southeast Asia. Thailand's party scene is varied, from eclectic beach bars and craft breweries to sophisticated rooftop bars. Some of the biggest party destinations in the country are the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, Khao Sarn Road in Bangkok, and bars in Pattaya.
14. Rich Wildlife
Apart from elephants, Thailand is home to more than 10% of the world's animals, as natural forests cover approximately 25% of Thailand's total land area. There are more than 285 mammal species, including elephants, tigers, leopards, Malaysian sun bears, deer, and otters, as well as a variety of primate species including gibbons, dusky leaf monkeys, and macaques. The country currently has 147 national parks.
Khao Sok National Park is perfect for birdwatchers, and for spotting some rare apes like the white-handed gibbon. Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand, located just 200 kilometers from Bangkok, is home to tigers, wild boars, elephants, porcupines, and gibbons. See National Park Guide in Thailand.
15. Muay Thai (Thai boxing)
As Thailand's national sport, Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing, is the most popular sport in the country and is one of the top internationally-known fighting sports. There is no shortage of Thai boxing gyms or stadiums in Thailand. People travel from all over the globe to learn this martial art.
There are famous arenas and shows in every city in Thailand, like Patong Boxing Stadium in Phuket, Muay Thai Live in Bangkok, and Max Muay Thai in Pattaya.
16. Well-Developed Tourism Facilities
Thailand is famous for having more tourists (per capita) than anywhere else in the world! People go due to Thailand's natural and cultural beauty, and also for its well-developed tourism facilities and convenient travel.
No matter whether you travel alone or with kids, you want to relax or look for some adventurous experiences, travel in dry season or wet season, and travel cheaply or luxuriously, Thailand has something for you.
17. Crazy Traffic
Thailand is one of the 10 countries with the worst traffic in the world. Upon arrival in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, you will realize that the traffic is crazy.
When a road is designed with 2 lanes, Thais often convert it into 4 disorganized lanes, where Tuk Tuks and motorcycles pass closely in the tiny spaces that are left. It is a challenge to get around the city during peak rush hours.
18. Quiet Rural Getaways
Thailand is not just famous for its tropical beaches. The country is also famed for its amazing rural locations that cater extremely well for tourists despite seemingly being in the middle of nowhere. Whether you are looking for somewhere quiet to stay or a rural adventure, you can easily find accommodation and tours.
One of the magical sides to Thailand away from beach life is the country's many farming villages, hill tribes, caves, mountains, national parks and nature reserves, forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife. Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mai Hai Song, and Pai in the north are some of the most popular tourist destinations for rural adventures.
Visit Thailand with Asia Highlights
Thailand is a beautiful tropical getaway all year round, and you're bound to have a good time whenever you visit. Asia Highlights takes everything, including the weather, into consideration when designing the best possible itinerary for guests.
Get a wonderful Thailand vacation by sending us a message. Or check out our sample itineraries for inspiration:
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.