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Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand




Who hasn’t longed for a getaway to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life? We’ve all done some armchair travel, and for many of us, Thailand is the first place our wanderlust takes us. For the time being, fantasy trips will have to suffice. But if conditions allow for safe travel once again, we’ll be sure to visit one of Thailand’s top 10 destinations listed below.

10 Best Destinations to Visit in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia for a reason. What’s not to appreciate about its scenic landscapes, sites imbued with years of history and delicious cuisine. In no particular order, listed below are the top 10 destinations in Thailand.

1. Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city is a bustling metropolis with plenty of things to see and do. It is a juxtaposition of modern and historic sights where high-rise skyscrapers and glitzy nightclubs lie in contrast to ornate palaces and ancient temples. When it comes to spending, the city is ready to sell. There are busy marketplaces of all kinds (such as the floating variety, which is a top attraction in the city) giant malls, and streets bordered with vendors selling souvenirs as well as tasty food and drinks. However, if you don’t fancy street food, indulge in the thousands of gourmet and upscale restaurants instead. Arguably, the city is most alive at night – spectacular rooftop bars, live music and trendy nightclubs are in abundance or alternatively, raise your adrenaline by watching a Muay Thai fight.

Moving around in Bangkok is quick and easy due to the BTS sky train, MRT metro, countless buses, taxis or tuk-tuks that are located at every corner. But most importantly, you’ll be guaranteed to find accommodation to fit your needs, regardless of your budget. In summary, as the saying goes “one night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster!”.

Best features: We recommend visiting Khao San Road, a hotspot for bars, clubs, street eats and cafes. Additionally, do some sightseeing at the Grand Palace to marvel at the spectacular temples or the sacred Wat Phra Kaew to take in the Emerald Buddha.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Hotels

2. Phuket

Phuket is the largest of Thailand’s 1400-plus islands, as well as one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations outside of Bangkok. It’s best known for its tropical beaches that have white sands and blue lagoons. Patong Beach is popular amongst first-time travellers who visit for the nightlife and water sports. However, beyond this, there are plenty of other beaches to explore. Embark on a speedboat to the tranquil Freedom Island, catch a long-tail boat to James Bond Island, or finally relax and have a beach massage during sunset at Bang Tao. At these beaches, don’t forget to partake in some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world.

Aside from this, hiking, white water rafting, jungle trekking and jet skiing are some of the other activities you can enjoy. Or walk down Phuket Old Town and revel in its beautifully painted shophouses and old “neoclassical” buildings. Finally, there is plenty of entertainment after dark with lots of buzzing nightclubs, bars and pubs to party the night away in.

Best features: Two popular tourist attractions in Phuket (aside from the beaches) are arguably Wat Chalong and The Big Buddha. We also recommend visiting the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park, where you can interact with the elephants ethically by feeding and playing with them in the mud baths.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Lonely Planet

3. Chiang Mai

Located in the North of Thailand, Chiang Mai is packed with culture and history. This is evident by the 500 plus temples that scatter the region, including one of the most renowned temples in Thailand, the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Travellers come here to explore the lush landscapes and mountain scenery but it also has plenty of exhilarating outdoor activities such as rock climbing, white water rafting and jungle hiking. If you fancy, travel to Doi Inthanon to visit ethnic hill tribes, take in the waterfalls or interact with elephants at an elephant sanctuary.

Another key feature in Chiang Mai is the Northern Thai Food. This food is unlike Thai food found in the South in the sense that it has strong Burmese, Chinese and Laos influences. Some examples of the most famous dishes are Gaeng Hang Lay (Northern Thai curry) and Sai Ua (Northern Thai sausage). However, best of all is the price. Most meals cost under a dollar, thus making Chiang Mai one of the most budget-friendly and affordable cities in Thailand.

Best features: As mentioned above, the mountainside temple known as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a must-see for visitors. Other noteworthy temples to explore in Chiang Mai are Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Dreamstime / Sutprattana

4. Koh Pha-Ngan

Koh Pha-Ngan is best known for its wild parties and nightlife, with its Full-moon celebrations as its claim to fame. These parties attracted thousands pre-COVID and transformed the beaches into lively nightclubs with an atmosphere similar to a festival, great music and lots of booze. They were held each month at locations such as Sunrise Beach at Haad Rin.

Despite this, Koh Pha-Ngan is also recognized for its nature and has a lot to offer in terms of adventure travel. In fact, the island is actually a designated “ecotourism zone” and a huge percentage of its land consists of protected national parks. The island’s eastern shore has a variety of well-established trekking routes, while the Phaeng and Than Sadet waterfalls excellently exhibit the island’s natural beauty. Furthermore, the beaches are unmissable, Bottle Beach, Haad Yao and Haad Salad are all well known yet not overly busy.

Best features: Visit the Thong Sala Night Market to get a taste of the local culture; the seafood dishes stand out due to their mouth-watering flavour and freshness. If you want to experience nature, spend the night camping at Ranger’s Island in Ang Thong National Park which is only a short boat ride away.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Travel Chill

5. Khao Yai National Park destinations

Not only is Khao Yai National Park Thailand’s oldest and 3rd largest park, but it is also one of the most popular due to its population of around 300 wild elephants. Located in the San Kamphaeng Mountain Range, it spans over 2,000 square kilometres and is home to a mix of evergreen rainforests, mountains and open savannahs. Due to its diverse terrain, the park is rich in flora and fauna. It has around 2,000 species of plants and is home to gibbons, tigers, jackals and bears. As it’s only a few hours from Bangkok, it’s a great option for a day trip if you’re in the city.

Best features: For some breath-taking views, hike to the Pha Diao Dai aka the “Lonely Cliff” for an overview of the forests and mountains. Alternately, The Haew Suwat Waterfall is another notable attraction; this waterfall is famous for its debut in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Beach”.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Wiktionary

6. Koh Samui

Koh Samui is Thailand’s 3rd largest island located in the Surat Thani province in the Gulf of Thailand. It is one of the most popular Thai islands due to the fact that it has its own airport and thus is easy to access. The island features a variety of beautiful sandy beaches such as Chaweng, Lamai, Taling Ngam and Natien but is also home to mountainous forests and temples, such as the Wat Phra Yai, a Big Buddha statue that’s 12 metres high. In addition, the island is also a hotspot for luxury resorts, high-end spas and excellent golf courses. There is a great selection of places to eat, particularly at Nathon that is full of lively restaurants and bars.

Best features: Go to the centre of Koh Samui to the mountainous forests where several waterfalls can be found. One example of this is the Na Muang Waterfalls that cascades into a pool perfect for a swim. Besides this, Koh Samui’s mummy is an obscure tourist point. Located in Wat Khunaram, the body belongs to the monk, Luong Pordaeng, who died in 1894. It’s considered an “important cultural site” and is an exhibition for visitors to pay their respects.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Marriott

7. Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage site located on the Chao Phraya River valley. It is another popular destination in Thailand and is situated about 80 kilometres north of Bangkok. Here, ancient remains offer a glimpse into Siam’s golden age. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is especially photogenic, featuring tall stupas that you can climb. Other relics such as Buddist temples, monasteries and statues of Wat Mahathat, Wat Na Phra Men, and Wat Lokayasutharam are also available to visit. In total, the park has around 50 relics and temples.

Best features: The temple Wat Mahathat is known for its Buddha’s Head, which is surrounded by a tree trunk and roots. While Wat Lokayasutharam houses Ayutthaya’s largest reclining Buddha, measuring 42 meters in length and 8 meters in height.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Get Your Guide

8. Sukhothai

Similar to Ayutthaya, Sukothai is another one of Thailand’s ancient capitals. It’s a small UNESCO listed town that houses the ruins of the 13th-century Sukhothai kingdom (the 1st capital of Thailand). The park contains a total of 193 ruins that are spread out across the region. Each site has varying levels of preservation and display temples, palaces and monuments all surrounded by ancient walls. Perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Wat Mahathat with its “standing Buddha relics and lotus-shaped stupa”. Additionally, exhibited in the middle of the park is the Wat Si Chum – a pavilion where a 15 meter tall standing Buddha resides. If you want to learn more about the park’s past, head to the on-site Ramkhamhaeng National Museum that displays a small collection of antiques.

Best features: Some temples that are worth visiting are the Noen Prasat, an old palace and the Wat Si Sawai which is the oldest temple in the area. The Wat Sa Si, located in the middle of a lake is also another well-liked temple. These relics lie in contrast to lakes, moats and gardens that are scattered throughout the park, creating a beautiful disparity.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Tourism Authority of Thailand

9. Krabi

Situated in the South, Krabi is another one of Thailands most popular beach destinations. Often regarded as the most “picturesque” province it has beautiful landscapes both inland and at sea. In total, it has 150 islands off its 150-kilometre long coastline so there are many beaches to explore. In addition, it has a great selection of natural assets such as a “jungle-covered interior, towering limestone cliffs, caves, waterfalls and exotic wildlife”. With a range of accommodation from budget to deluxe, Krabi is the ultimate getaway.

Best features: The Phi Phi islands have a reputation for beautiful beaches (head to Maya Bay and Phi Phi viewpoint to find out why). However, for something more laid-back, Koh Lanta is ideal. Its long sandy beaches lined with beach bars are the perfect way to pass the time. Finally, Railay Beach (only accessible by boat) is not only renowned for its white-sand shores but its rock-climbing as well.


Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via Thai Airways

10. Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi is one of the most popular historical destinations in Thailand. The province has a fascinating history but is best known for its dark connection to WWII. For example, it’s “Death Railway”, which is an infamous site. Built in 1712, it was originally assembled with the intention to connect Thailand to Burma. However, its construction caused the deaths of 12,500 soldiers and 85,000 Asian labourers instead. This is not the only wartime relic; the Bridge Over the River Kwai located near the Myanmar border is another famous site. Finally, if you want to delve deeper they also have multiple museums dedicated to Kanchanaburi’s local history.

Kanchanaburi is not only filled with historical sites but is abundant in nature as well. In particular, Erawan National Park is definitely worth a visit. Here, explore the multi-level Erawan Falls or the Phra That Cave. Aside from these, a more secluded yet scenic spot is Huay Mae Khamin. Kanchanaburi is only about 2 hours from Bangkok and thus is accessible by train, bus or private taxi if you’re in the city.

Best features: The climate of Kanchanaburi, “cooled by the altitude, forest and rivers, is a welcome respite from the heat and congestion of the nearby capital city”. In addition, compared to some of the other destinations like Bangkok, Kanchanaburi is relatively quiet. Due to this, it’s the perfect place for a peaceful weekend getaway.

Top 10 Must Visit Destinations in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo via BucketListly Blog

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Felicia is a journalist and content writer who covers a range of topics from life style to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter working for many news and media companies, where she worked with several brands in England and Myanmar to help them increase their online presence. She is a graduate from University of Brighton, England.

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