Thailand is a collage of animated scenes that comprise bustling modern cities crowded with motorbikes and tuk-tuks. Buddhist temples tended by orange-robed monks.
Hill tribes selling handicrafts. Lush landscapes dotted with traditional farming villages. Ancient ruins and stunning coastlines peppered with gorgeous beaches and blue lagoons.
Those looking to spend a few weeks exploring tropical islands should head to the picture perfect Thai Islands. If the exciting energy of a capital city is more your style.
Bangkok will more than provide an unforgettable experience. For getting to grips with nature and understanding more about the various ethnicities within Thailand.
The city of Chiang Mai serves as the perfect jumping off point to the mountainous landscapes of the north. Plan your trip to Southeast Asia most popular travel destination with our list of the best places to visit in Thailand.
1. Ko Phi Phi
Situated off the southeastern coast of Phuket in the Krabi Province is the idyllic Phi Phi Island archipelago. The largest island is Ko Phi Phi Don.
A popular vacation destination famed for its sun-soaked beaches, beautiful limestone cliffs and laid-back atmosphere. Tonsai Bay and Long Beach attract the most tourists.
While secluded beaches like Phak Nam Bay offer a tranquil escape away from the crowds. It’s also possible to hike up to Phi Phi Viewpoint. Which boasts dramatic 360-degree views over the entire island.
In the middle of the island is the bustling village of Tonsai. Considered the heart of Ko Phi Phi. this charming town is teeming with mouthwatering restaurants and lively beach bars.
2. Chiang Mai
Surrounded by the mountains of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is a flourishing city often used as a base among tourists wishing to explore the lush landscapes.
Hill tribes and outdoor adventures of the region. Nevertheless, Chiang Mai itself is a large and culturally important city where historical and modern Thai architecture and traditions coexist.
A walk around the historic center bestows views of old city walls and dozens of beautiful ancient temples. However, the most famous of these temples.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, lies outside Chiang Mai on a mountainside overlooking the city. Modern-day Chiang Mai offers handicraft markets.
An abundance of massage and spa parlors. botanical gardens and an elephant nature park where visitors can bathe and feed elephants.
Those seeking to experience the beauty. wildlife and adventure of the mountainous region will find a large variety of organized tour companies operating out of Chiang Mai that feature trekking. Mountain biking, ziplining, river rafting and visits to local hill tribes.
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Railay (or Rai Leh) is a small peninsula in south Thailand that is only accessible by boat due to the high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access.
These cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world. But the area is also a popular attraction in Thailand due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere.
Almost every patch of buildable land fronting in the eastern and western part of the peninsula has been taken over by bungalow resorts. And development is creeping up into the forest behind.
But at least there are no high-rise buildings. And much of the construction is hidden among trees or set amid prettily landscaped gardens.
Thailand’s capital city and by far the largest city in the country, Bangkok. Is a buzzing cosmopolis of high rise buildings, magnificent palaces, ancient temples, glittering nightclubs.
Bustling markets and streets lined with vendors hawking souvenirs and tantalizing foods. While the city is sometimes described as a concrete jungle jam-packed with noisy traffic and air pollution.
Bangkok is not without its natural beauty that is seen in its remaining canals, green spaces and flowering tropical plants.
Located in Central Thailand, Bangkok is a sprawling city offering something for everyone. The famous tourist street, Khao San Road.
Is a good place to begin with its interesting sites and cheap shopping and nightlife. The city is well known for its myriad of temples such as the sacred Wat Phra Kaew, which contains the Emerald Buddha.
Zoos, water parks and amusement parks all present family fun. Shopping in Bangkok is sensational with numerous shopping malls and markets. Including the not-to-be-missed floating markets.
5. Koh Tao
The tiny 21 square km (13 square mile) island of Tao remained largely uninhabited until the late 1900s and has only recently been developed as a travel destination.
With its white sandy beaches. Lush green forests and majestic granite rock formations. It’s no wonder that its bare-amenity bungalows are making room for luxury resorts as more visitors become aware of the island’s natural attractions.
Koh Tao is best known as premier scuba diving and snorkeling location. With many shallow bays, easy currents and gorgeous coral reefs.
Many visitors come to Koh Tao to learn how to scuba dive or to upgrade their scuba diving certification. There are multiple diving schools in Mae Hat.
The island’s main town, as well as in many other places around the island. Koh Tao’s coral reefs are home to a broad variety of marine life. Including butterfly fish, batfish, whale sharks and bull sharks.
Located in western Thailand and admired for its beautiful scenery and accessibility to national parks and waterfalls. Kanchanaburi is best known for its iron bridge that is linked.
With the historic Death Railway to Burma in which thousands of Asian laborers and POWS died during its construction under Japanese occupation during WWII.
While Kanchanaburi is a thriving city, the main attractions are associated with WWII. Chiefly the iron railroad bridge that was portrayed in the Academy Award winning 1957 film, “Bridge over the River Kwai.”
Several museums and war cemeteries all present information about the city and its bridge during the 1940s Japan occupation. The city is also home to many spas and temples of which the Tiger Temple is the most popular.
Outside of Kanchanaburi are various national parks, including Erawan and Srinakarind National Parks. All offering beautiful scenery, waterfalls, caves and visits to tribal villages.
Founded in 1350, the city of Ayuthaya (also spelled Ayutthaya) is located in the Chao Phraya River valley in Central Thailand.
It sits on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting it to the Gulf of Siam. King U Thong proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom.
Once declared the most magnificent city on earth. The ruins of Ayuthaya are now a major attraction for those visiting Thailand.
As the capital of the Thai Kingdom, Ayuthaya was an impressive site. with three palaces and more than 400 temples. From the 14th to the 18th centuries.
The city flourished. By the year 1700, the population reached nearly 1,000,000. Ayuthaya became a center for trade as well as a connecting point between the West and the East.
In 1767, the Burmese attacked and conquered Ayuthaya. The majority of the once magnificent reliquary towers, monasteries.
Temples and palaces were destroyed during this invasion. However, some structures still stand and tourists are welcome to visit these.
8. Ko Chang
Thailand’s second largest island. Ko Chang is located off of the country’s southeastern coast near the Cambodian border.
The island has everything that travelers want from a tropical vacation. From long stretches of sandy beaches to unspoiled rainforests.
There are plenty of activities to pursue on the island too, including scuba diving, kayaking and jungle trekking. When it comes to lazing on the beach in luxury.
White Sand Beach is one of the most popular places to visit on the island. Located on the island’s northwestern corner, it’s the longest beach on Ko Chang.
The central section of the soft sandy beach is lined with resorts and hotels. Hat Tha Nam on Ko Chang’s southwest coast attracts travelers looking for fun on a budget.
From rustic bungalows to tree houses. Visitors can find accommodations here on the cheap and spend the money that they’ve saved on the bars and restaurants popping up along the shoreline.
Known for its gorgeous beaches, excellent diving and an abundance of luxurious spas. Phuket is Thailand’s leading tourist destination.
Located in Southern Thailand. Phuket is the country’s largest island, connected to the mainland by two bridges. Of Phuket’s many attractions.
The beaches are the main draw with their white sands, blue lagoons and water sports. With resorts, hotels, shops, restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
Patong Beach is the most popular beach. Phang Nga Bay is a memorable place to visit with it’s beautiful caves, aquatic grottoes and limestone islands.
Phuket is also a place for ultimate relaxation and pampering with its numerous options that range from massage tents on the beach to world class spas in breathtaking settings.
Fun and adventure is to be found everywhere from aquariums and seashell museums to national parks featuring whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, scuba diving. Jungle trekking and more.
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10. Khao Sok National Park
Surrounded by towering limestone mountains and lush tropical forests. Khao Sok National Park contains some of the most spectacular landscapes in Thailand.
It dates back 160 million years, making Khao Sok National Park considerably older than the Amazon rainforest. At the heart of the park is Cheow Lan.
A sparkling turquoise lake dotted with floating raft houses and colorful long-tail boats. Most notably, the national park is also home to the largest virgin rainforest in Southern Thailand.
Visitors exploring the forest will come across cascading waterfalls. Hidden caves, and groves of wild fruit trees. Other activities available include ziplining and kayaking and tubing on the Sok River.
Besides the picturesque scenery, many people visit Khao Sok for diverse wildlife. It’s believed that over five percent of the species on the planet live within the park.
It’s common to see small creatures like Malaysian tapirs. Wild boars, and pig-tailed macaques, although sightings of larger animals like Asian elephants and tigers are rarer.