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Things to do in Thailand

Things to do in  Thailand

Welcome to Thailand

Long holding the title of Southeast Asia's most popular vacation spot, Thailand is paradise-by-numbers with its tropical islands, lush jungle, and sun-bleached sands. But it's not just the beaches that bring travelers back time and time again—Thailand's most enduring asset is its welcoming people. The capital of Bangkok, with its bustling streets, colorful night market, beautiful Buddhist temples, and the Grand Palace complex (home to the sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha), is the obvious starting point. Just outside of the city, the ancient Siamese capital of Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the Damnoen Saduak floating market offers a fascinating glimpse into traditional Thai life. In southern Thailand, beach lovers can set sail for Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, where the surrounding islands offer ample opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Over on the Andaman Sea Coast, the sandy beaches and golden temples of Phuket are the precursor to the dramatic landscapes of Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island, and the Phi Phi islands, where The Beach was filmed. Far from the beaches of the south, the sweeping highlands of northern Thailand mark out the borders with Laos and Myanmar. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are the main destinations, where adventurous travelers can try white-water rafting, observe elephants, or join a trekking tour to explore the remote hill tribe villages.

Top 15 attractions in Thailand

Grand Palace

Bangkok’s glittering Grand Palace is one of the most popular attractions in the Thai capital. Built in 1782, this sprawling 54-acre (21.8-hectare) complex served as the royal court and administrative seat of Thailand for 150 years. Today, while it continues to host royal Thai functions, the palace also impresses swathes of visitors with its intricate golden-spired architecture and cultural history.More

Phi Phi Islands (Koh Phi Phi)

From the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, the jungle-shrouded limestone cliffs of Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands rise majestically, giving way to white-sand beaches and lush green jungles further inland. Longtail boats putter between the islands, collectively known as Koh Phi Phi or Ko Phi Phi, surrounded by turquoise waters and colorful marine life.More

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)

Easily one of Bangkok’s most visually striking landmarks, the Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun) towers over the Chao Phraya River. Its colorfully decorated spires are the star features—the temple’s central prang stands 260 feet (79 meters) tall and is intricately decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain.More

Doi Inthanon National Park

Rising 8,415 feet (2,565 meters) above sea level, Mt. Doi Inthanon, situated in the center of Doi Inthanon National Park, is Thailand’s tallest mountain. While many visitors strive to see the views from its summit, the surrounding forests, waterfalls, stupas—dome-shaped Buddhist shrines—and trails are just as impressive.More

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)

One of the oldest, largest, and most revered temple complexes in Bangkok, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) is a must-see for all visitors to the Thai capital. The central attraction of the temple complex is its namesake statue—the gold leaf covered reclining Buddha—but don't let it distract you from the site's other treasures, including its 95 pagodas, carved narrative panels, and opulent main altar.More

Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat)

With its heady smorgasbord of street food, gold merchants, wooden shophouses, and ancient Chinese temples, there’s never a dull moment in Bangkok’s Chinatown, also known as Yaowarat. Exploring the bustlingsois (side streets) of the city’s oldest district is a must on any trip to the Thai capital.More

James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan)

A starring role in the 1974 James Bond movie “The Man With the Golden Gun” put the towering limestone islands of Ko Khao Phing Kan and the 66-foot-tall (20-meter) islet Ko Tapu firmly on Thailand’s tourist trail. While boats are forbidden from getting too close to the islands, opportunities for sightseeing abound in the surrounding area.More

Maya Bay (Maya Beach)

The stunning Maya Bay (Maya Beach) became a major tourist attraction after the 2000 film,The Beach, was filmed here. It’s situated within Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands, off the coasts of both Krabi and Phuket on the mainland, and is distinguished by its beautiful white-sand beach sheltered by limestone cliffs on three sides.There are in fact several beaches here, but most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main beach, where most boats drop passengers just offshore, is a 200-meter long strip of silky white sand. It’s surrounded by clear waters filled with colorful coral and an abundance of exotic fish, making it an absolute haven for snorkelers. Walking inland is also a treat, with a path that winds through lush greenery and reveals some simply spectacular scenery.It’s true that Maya Bay’s popularity has taken a certain degree of the shine from this once little-heard of slice of paradise. It’s become so well-known that its shores are filled with hoards of boats dropping visitors off and picking them up throughout the day, particularly in peak season. Visitors should arrive early in the morning to avoid the larger part of the crowds.Please note: Maya Bay (Maya Beach) is closed indefinitely due to overtourism.More

Ang Thong National Marine Park

The 42 karst islets of Ang Thong National Marine Park (Mu Koh Ang Thong) in southern Thailand comprise a picturesque seascape spanning more than 95 square miles (246 square kilometers). These limestone pinnacles harbor secluded powdery beaches, sheer cliffs, and caves, and are home to myriad birds, monkeys, dolphins, and other wildlife.More

Pak Klong Talad Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat)

In a city and country known for its colorful markets, none stands out so vividly as Pak Klong Talad Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat). Stalls feature local and imported fresh-cut flowers piled high: delicate orchids, bunches of colorful carnations, fragrant roses, lilies, forget-me-nots, and more. Vendors also sell flower arrangements and hand-strung garlands.More

Hong Islands (Mu Ko Hong)

The Hong Islands (Mu Ko Hong or Mu Koh Hong) are a group of rocky blips in the Andaman Sea, located just off the coast of Krabi in southern Thailand. A popular day trip destination from Ao Nang or Krabi, the islands are fringed with rain forests, hidden lagoons, and white-sand beaches.More

Chao Phraya River (Mae Nam Chao Phraya)

Every great city has a river, and Bangkok’s is the Chao Phraya (Mae Nam Chao Phraya). Alive with traditional long-tail boats, passenger ferries, and cargo boats, the Chao Phraya River is the lifeblood of the city. It winds past both ancient temples and modern high-rises, offering a unique, local perspective on the Thai capital.More

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Few markets couple ephemeral wares—fresh fruits, fish, foods, and colorful flower bouquets—with culture, chaos, and tradition like the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. One of the largest and last remaining floating markets in Thailand, this authentic market has entranced travelers and photographers the world over with its vivid scenes of vendors offering goods from long-tailed boats on the sleepy green Damnoen Saduak canal.More

Coral Island (Koh Larn)

With crystal clear water, plentiful coral reefs, and beautiful stretches of fine white sand, Thailand’s Coral Island (Koh Larn) is a veritable paradise. Take a day trip to this popular spot—about 4.5 miles (7 km) off the coast of Pattaya—to enjoy beaches and a variety of water sports, including scuba diving and snorkeling.More


The ruined island city-state of Ayutthaya—the once great capital of the Kingdom of Siam—is now a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lying at the confluence of three rivers north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya Historical Park protects magnificent crumbling stone temple spires, sun-worn Buddha statues, and other remnants of the three palaces, 400 temples, houses, and markets that thrived in Ayutthaya’s heyday.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Thailand

Highly recommend!!!
Louise_H, Mar. 2023
1 Day Khao Sok Jungle Safari and 2 Days Cheow Lan Lake Explorer from Krabi
We enjoyed so many activities and sights, and had a great 3 days!
The Best Day in Thailand
CarolKrekeler, Mar. 2023
Phang Nga Bay and Beyond
Harry was a fantastic guide, and in one day we were able to see parts of Thailand not possible to see any other way.
We had the best time,...
Emily_H, Mar. 2023
A Morning with the Elephants at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
I will recommend this tour to anyone visiting Phuket, and also now know to warn others about the importance of finding an ethical place to visit elephants in Thailand!
Great value for money and well organised.
Siobhan_C, Mar. 2023
Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island with Canoeing By Big Boat From Phuket
One of the favourite activities whilst visiting Thailand.
Love love love this tour!
Melisa_B, Feb. 2023
Phuket: Full-Day Phi Phi Islands, Maiton island Trip by Speed Catamaran
The tour guides knew English very well, explained everything very well, & literally left us feeling like we saw everything we wanted to see.
Ocean Sample Tour
James_W, Feb. 2023
Pattaya and Coral Island Small-Group Day Tour from Bangkok
Angie provided us local information and helped the group with activities.
Best day tour in Thailand
DebbieT, Feb. 2023
Best Seller! Doi Inthanon National Park, Waterfall & Royal Project - Chiang Mai
Leela’s English was excellent.
Nice trip to the high point of Thailand.
Lynn_M, Feb. 2023
Inthanon Day Trip from Chiang Mai with Lunch - Small Group
Nice waterfall stop and short hike.
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All about Thailand

When to visit

There’s no bad time to visit Thailand, but rain and heat can affect your vacation plans. Early winter is the country-wide sweet spot: it’s dry and hot enough—but not too hot—for city sightseeing or the beach. To experience local culture at its most memorable, consider April for the Thai New Year celebrations of Songkran, or November for Chiang Mai’s Lantern Festival (Loi Krathong).

Thai Baht (THB)
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People Also Ask

What is Thailand known for?

Thailand is known for its warm hospitality, bustling capital city of Bangkok, and paradisical landscapes, from beautiful beaches and lush landscapes to dramatic hills and mountains. It’s also known for its many gilded temples, flavorful and spicy cuisine, and partying.

What are key tourist attractions in Thailand?

Key attractions include Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Buddhist temples such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Outside the capital, there’s the Damnoen Saduak floating market, Sukhothai ruins, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai’s White Temple, and UNESCO-listed city of Ayutthaya. Finally, the beaches and islands of Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui are popular, as are national parks like Erawan, Khao Sok, and Khao Yai.

What is the most beautiful part of Thailand?

Many consider the southern part of Thailand the most beautiful. It’s home to many of the country’s most popular beaches and islands, including Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, and the limestone karst landscape of Krabi. But the northern hills and mountains of Doi Chiang Dao and Doi Inthanon National Park are also stunning.

Why is Thailand called the Land of Smiles?

The nickname “Land of Smiles” first originated as a marketing gambit to attract tourists and sell them on Thailand’s amazing hospitality. The locals can be warm and friendly, and certainly do smile a lot, though in Thailand a smile is a subtle form of interpersonal messaging that isn’t always meant to signal happiness.

What should I avoid in Thailand?

You should avoid insulting the king, royal family, or Buddha; touching monks or people’s heads; showing too much skin; and riding elephants or taking photos with captured animals. And don’t forget to take off your shoes in temples, homes, and some shops and restaurants.

How long do you need in Thailand?

Plan for two weeks in Thailand. Spend three days visiting Bangkok and nearby attractions like Ayutthaya, two to three days visiting Chiang Mai and the north, a day or two in a national park, and the rest of your time on a southern beach or island, such as Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, or Samui.


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